Blackwater by Conn Iggulden is a fast-moving story told by Davey, a man who has lived his life as a tragic victim, often suffering at the hands of those closest to him. The book starts with Davey standing in the cold, calm, dark, nocturnal sea at Brighton beach, wearing his best suit and reflecting on his awful life.
Since childhood, his main tormentor has been his own brother, but things have recently got much worse. His wife treats him very badly, but he can suffer that because of his deep-seated love for her. It is because of her actions that two extremely violent men have joined the long list of people who have made his life a living hell.
Davey's tale is easy to read as it is written in conversational English. It moves at such a pace that the reader is always wondering how it will conclude and that view changes continually throughout the book. Even when the last word has been read, one is left puzzling over what could happen next.
Blackwater has a flavour of Ian McEwan's Saturday about it. I doubt that its pace and tension could be maintained to a lengthier version in a full-blown novel, but as a short story, I would rate it highly and would certainly recommend it to a friend.