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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Underbelly is the first book in the Turf Wars series written by S.P.M. Barrett. Merissa Forts enters the heart of the Underbelly, escorted by armed men. As she descends further and further underground, she has her sights on just one man. The leader of this particular Underbelly is none other than her own father, Alastair Forts, and he is eager to give his daughter the grand tour in the hopes that she will join him. Merissa is in awe at the Underbelly’s own source of food, shelter and power, as well as the genetically modified animals which lived underground. Images of her mother throughout the fortress are a stark reminder of the reason she had come there – to kill her mother’s assassin, her father. Merissa’s resolve weakens, however, when she is introduced to her young cousins and siblings who seem fascinated by her. Merissa also learns that not everything is as she had believed, when her father professes to tell the truth about what had happened the night that Merissa’s mother died. After discovering that her father is an empath and has the power to control people’s feelings and emotions, Merissa needs to sort truth from fiction before her time runs out.
Underbelly is a tale of intrigue and mystery that took me to a whole new world and a different reality. Each page brought new and unexpected revelations, calling into question who and what could be trusted in a seedy underworld where the power of bluff is an everyday occurrence. While some polishing is needed, Underbelly presents a intricate plot born of sheer brilliance and a great imagination. I salute S.P.M. Barrett’s ability to present such unbelievable and shocking characters in a realistic fashion. The vehemence that Merissa feels towards a father she barely knows is understandable, but this animosity transforms more into a father-daughter relationship filled with an unguarded trust as the story continues. The main characters of the story are well written and easy to identify with. I enjoyed this action-packed adventure and recommend Underbelly to those enjoy crime novels wrapped in a majorly explosive dose of sci-fi and revenge.