With Her Fists – Henry Roi

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*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

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Blurb:   Clarice “Shocker” Ares retired from a sensational pro-boxing career to focus on her family and growing mechanic business. 

In an instant, everything she has worked for is shattered, when the police find a shipment of drugs in their shop, and wrongfully send Clarice and her husband to prison. Incarcerated and desperate after court appeals are denied, Clarice must become the Shocker once more, challenging rival convicts in a deadly prison fight ring to finance her escape. 

Battling alongside her, armed with his brilliant electronics wizardry, Clarice’s husband Ace manipulates the court system to arrange a daring prison break. When their abilities are put to the ultimate test, will they be able to exact their revenge – and regain freedom?

With Her Fists is a brutal crime thriller, featuring a corrupt, unjust system and a family that comes out fighting and refuses to go down.

Clarice Ares is a devoted wife and mother, a skilled mechanic, a dedicated and creative tattoo artist, and – under the name ‘Shocker’ – a prize-winning fighter.  So, she was never going to go quietly when framed as a drug dealer and thrown into prison.  Separated from her husband and son, Clarice has to call on all of her strength – physical and mental – to survive her ordeal and get her own rough justice for her treatment.

Fight fans will find this story packed with action and adrenaline, as the author clearly knows his stuff when it comes to boxing and really brings the bouts to life.  Similarly, fans of prison fiction (Bad Girls, Prison Break) will enjoy the dark, gritty depiction of the prison scenes and the clever ways which Clarice and Ace play the game and survive the system.

I found the main characters quite difficult to connect and empathise with, however.  Other than the aggressive ‘Shocker’ persona, Clarice seems a little flat and detached, rarely thinking much about her parents or son unless directly faced with their existence.  It was hard for me to imagine a loving mother being able to switch off her maternal, protective emotions, even under the circumstances which Clarice finds herself in.  And while the thrill of intimately experiencing her professional fights is undeniable, her apparent joy in and thirst for violence outside the ring is a little unsettling – although, I suppose, very understandable in the context.

This explosion of action, testosterone, rage and adrenaline will be perfect for many thriller fans looking for prison life and prison escapes, and Roi also explores some interesting moral questions of issues of justice and legality throughout the story, ending with a neat and satisfying conclusion to the story.  Whilst this wasn’t my personal cup of tea as a book, I could see it making a great action movie or gritty TV drama.

   The walls vibrated with the crowd’s energy, towering resonators that shook her little bones with immeasurable power and buzzed her head with sensations that mirrored her thoughts and intentions for the upcoming battle.
Hyper thoughts.  Violent intentions.
Her mouth was suddenly dry, her bladder full.  Symptoms a soldier experiences before going into a deadly war she knows she may not make it out of in one piece.  That feeling of High Risk that takes the mind into an alternate reality where instincts do all the driving and leave all the drama and whiny emotions in the dust.  A nervous want.  A fear of blood loss and a desire for blood lust.
A Sweet Science.
The strategy of Hurt and Not Get Hurt.  The strategy of You Better Fucking Win Because There Is No Second Place.
She wanted it.
Her monster wanted it, the fight junkie dwelling in her head.
“I want it,” she told Eddy.

– Henry Roi, With Her Fists
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You can follow Henry Roi on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Goodreads.

With Her Fists is available on Amazon right now.

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