Book Review for “Pay Up and Die” by Chuck Buda

Michael Wright is consumed with guilt over his finances. He cannot afford to support his family. His home equity line is tapped. His credit cards are maxed. His car is falling apart. Most importantly, his daughter has a terminal illness and needs expensive experimental surgery to save her life. Michael does not think it could get any worse. Unfortunately, it CAN and DOES get worse. Much, much worse.

Derrick Graves is the opposite of Michael. Graves is a rich man fueled by ambition, greed, and a love for his family which makes him dangerous. He is Michael’s boss and is on track to become CEO and nothing will stop him from achieving his goals even if it means harming other people to get them to pay their delinquent accounts.

Martin Pike is a behemoth of a man who likes to hurt people. Derrick Graves employs him to seek out delinquent borrowers and make them pay for their irresponsibility with blood and pain. Unfortunately, Derrick does not entirely respect Martin and it makes Martin very upset. Upset enough to employ his services on his former employer.

Michael, Derrick, and Martin are on a collision course and the explosive result of their coming together will have a terrible, long-lasting impact on all their lives.

Pay Up and Die by Chuck Buda is quick, page-turner thriller with short chapters and no fluff. Although there is some part in the novel which felt a bit clunky and some aspects were a little more outrageous, it is forgivable because the characters are quite well-done. Michael is sympathetic and represents the common man in a situation over his head. Derrick Graves is Michael’s foil in his actions and behavior. However, both characters share a similar adoration for their families and a willingness to do what it takes to ensure their safety and security. Michael will not cross certain lines. Derrick will. Martin’s character I felt was the least developed and he merely served as a psychopath antagonist to bring on the blood and guts.

Some parts of the novel are a bit clunky, mostly where Buda tells the reader how the character feels rather than showing it in the narrative or their actions. Some scenes also seemed a bit too outrageous, especially Graves. His actions in regards to getting the promotion would have been more in line if his method was kept secret from the rest of the office. However, he has a meeting and outright tells his employees to threaten those with delinquent accounts. If Graves were as masterful as he is supposed to be, he would not have done this. It is wholly illegal and suggesting the idea would immediately get eyes on him, more than just Michael’s too.

Overall, Pay Up and Die is a quick and easy two-hour read. There were some twists and turns which were unexpected and once the climax gets going, it is tough to put the book down.

Cannot wait to read the next two books in the trilogy!

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