“Mean Machine” by Aleksandr Voinov


For a boxer ravaged by guilt and in deep denial of his desires, a fight beyond the ring might yield his greatest prize. In a dystopian UK devastated by austerity and ruled by corporate interests, Brooklyn Marshall was a happily married London police officer—until an accident resulted in the death of a protester connected to a powerful family. Now he takes out his anger and pain on his opponents, fighting for the company that took him into stewardship after his conviction and disgrace—and which all but owns him. Wealthy barrister Nathaniel Bishop fulfills his dream of a family when he adopts a daughter. He can’t resist researching her allegedly violent criminal father, but Brook isn’t at all what he expects. He’s fascinating… and maybe worthy of redemption. Through legal sleight of hand, Nathaniel thinks he can overturn Brook’s conviction. Brook has learned the hard way not to trust anyone, let alone a privileged man who’s purchased his “time.” But as they get to know each other, he allows himself to hope. With his fights getting deadlier, hope might be the only thing to carry Brook through.



(def) Something that is remarkable or extraordinary.

Natural phenomena include things such as tides and gravity. Have you seen the lightning striking sand one? A cool trick that “Sweet Home Alabama” demonstrated rather memorably even if it was slightly inaccurate. Even so, it reminds me of the literary phenomenon known as Voinov. Gritty characters are struck by a brilliant force (a rather stylish pen) leaving obscure polished treasures in its wake. When it comes to AV, I always expect the unexpected. Aleks has proven me wrong time and time again. Case in point, historical settings were not my favorite. Until Scorpions. I could say the same about war books. Until I discovered Special Forces. And now, I’ll have to add boxing to the list. Who knew?!

This particular tale revolves around a fight. I’m not talking about in the ring. Admittedly we do witness many ringside bloody battles and I held my breath for each one. There is so much that I never knew! But the ultimate fight doesn’t involve gloves. Brook is fighting for his life, his freedom, and most importantly, his redemption. Along the way, a curious stranger becomes a lifeline. then a lover, and eventually, a soulmate. This journey isn’t quick or painless. And takes surprising twists and shocking turns.

Speaking of shocks, I found myself facing one of my ‘hard limits’ and suddenly…it wasn’t hard anymore. It was Voinov himself that presented my first, “umm, no thank you. I’ll get off here” bedmate selection and I had no idea another taboo couple would grace these pages. Perhaps I found a disconnection from reality this time or maybe it was their secondary status. Not sure which but this unmentionable ménage pairing didn’t send me running for the hills. And the timing was crucial for me. Cheating is a hard no when it comes to my reading preferences. So yeah, I get what you did there Aleks, and I respect how it was done. Bravo.

There is SO much I would love to ramble about but I will try and restrain myself. Brook radiates power and I was drawn to him from the first bell. Nathaniel slid in and swept the big man off his feet and I was feeling quite swoony myself. And I love what brought them together. I was hypnotized from the anxiety-riddled beginning to the hardcore center and all the way up to the tender finale. This is far from typical but then again, that’s what I love about Voinov’s creations.

Aleks doesn’t always play by the rules. He colors outside the box or even makes his own box. And as much as I adore this quality I also found myself grumbling and cursing from time to time. One particular scene ruffled my feathers and I wanted to stomp my feet. But then, I saw the importance and reasoning, and grudgingly found its purpose necessary. For this wasn’t about ‘them’ it was about ‘him’. And he hadn’t found his way…yet. He was still racing towards the summit, longing to reach that elusive peak. Never fear, he follows his heart and bootless feet to claim his rightful place at…home.



Passion for boxing is not required but quite possibly acquired. A defender becomes a gladiator…and falls along the way. Including one glorious drop for a sexy suit but he must free his soul before planting any roots. Oh, and there’s a little triple play but not unfaithfully.

bookisforIf you’re searching for something that packs a punch, this heavyweight is a sure-fire winner.



TITLE: Mean Machine
AUTHOR: Aleksandr Voinov
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 291 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020
BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon

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