Category Archives: The Second Son

Review: The Second Son by Loraine Peck

Title: The Second Son by Loraine Peck
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Duty always has a price.

When Ivan Novak is shot dead putting out his garbage bins in Sydney’s west, his family wants revenge, especially his father Milan, a notorious crime boss. It’s a job for the second son, Ivan’s younger brother Johnny.

But Johnny loves his wife Amy and their son Sasha. And she’s about to deliver her ultimatum: either the three of them escape this wave of killing or she’ll leave, taking Sasha.

Torn between loyalty to his family and love for his wife, Johnny plans the heist of a lifetime and takes a huge risk. Is he prepared to pay the price? And what choice will Amy make?

The Second Son is a brilliant action-packed crime debut that creates a world where honour is everything, violence is its own language, and love means breaking all the rules


The Second Son by Loraine Peck is a gritty mystery about a Croatian crime family.

Johnny Novak might be part of an organized crime family, but he has managed to stay out of the dirtiest work. But when his older brother, Ivan, is gunned down in cold blood, their brutish father, Milan, forces him to take Ivan’s position. Johnny is deeply conflicted since he is married with a ten year old son. And he is just not wired the same as the some of their more violent crew members.

Johnny’s wife Amy has always looked the other way when it comes to Johnny’s family business. She knows he is involved but she would rather not know too much about what they are doing.  Amy is a little restless now their son Sasha is older and she would like to go back to work.  Once the gang violence  hits close to home, Amy will do whatever it takes to protect herself and Sasha from danger. But will she convince Johnny to leave Sydney and strike out on their own?

Johnny has not been averse to the minor violence he is occasionally involved in. He collects payments from the managers of their legitimate businesses and he works the heists the family occasionally pulls off.  Johnny has not had to deal with the more deadly aspects of the business since Ivan is their father’s right hand man. Under extreme pressure from Milan to avenge Ivan’s murder, Johnny is torn between loyalty to his father and his love and devotion to Amy and Sasha.

The Second Son is a fast-paced and compelling mystery. The characters are vibrantly developed and  likable which makes it easy to overlook their livelihood. The storyline is engaging and quite suspenseful. The various settings are meticulously detailed and easy to visualize. With stunning twists and shocking turns, Loraine Peck brings this clever debut to an exciting conclusion. I completely enjoyed and highly recommend this outstanding novel. I cannot wait for the sequel!

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Filed under Contemporary, Loraine Peck, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Text Publishing, The Second Son