Featured: The Last Straw by Ed Duncan
A fun, fast pop through an imaginary world of tough guys, lamenting ladies, and a world-weary anti-hero.
When a teenage girl witnesses a carjacking gone bad, she is marked for death by a crime boss.
A lawyer and an enforcer forge an uneasy alliance to protect the girl from a hitman with an agenda of his own. Soon after, Paul Elliott – lawyer and close friend of the witness’s family – begins counseling them and becomes entangled in the murder plot.
As the long-simmering feud between Rico – the white enforcer – and the hitman John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.
Meet the Author:
Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years.
He currently lives outside of Cleveland and has just completed The Last Straw, the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy.
He is currently at work on the third installment of the trilogy. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/
Review by US Review:
Contract killers seem like such affable chaps. Sure, there are the homicidal psychopaths that bring down the profession, but among them, if fiction is any indication, walk a community of upstanding, morally sturdy gentlemen who may commit murder for hire but who uphold ethical standards and airtight loyalties that make them handy guys to know in a pinch.
Rico is this kind of guy. Sure, he kills for cash, but he has lines he won’t cross. When asked to take out the teenage witness to a crime, the ride with Rico begins. He declines the job, his rival volunteers, and into the fray explodes an onslaught of alliances, vendettas, collateral damage, and no small amount of spilled blood.
In the margins, race and gender hover thoughtfully, suggesting they matter yet not stealing the show away from Rico and the action.
Why is it so much fun to hang with crooks like Rico?
As his prostitute girlfriend learns in the opening scenes when he avenges her from a violent john, characters like Rico live in their own separate universes where they define and mete justice.
They defend those they love and accommodate the extremes their situations require. They can handle themselves in a physical showdown, they shoot to kill, and they walk away from fights victorious. Knowing that and living vicariously through either Rico or the loved one Rico is protecting is an entertaining fantasy.
That temporary taste of aggressive amorality is heady stuff, and the body count is conveniently forgotten with the turn of each page. Like so many crime thrillers, Rico is a fun, fast pop through an imaginary world of tough guys, lamenting ladies, and a world-weary anti-hero.
He may be a killer, but he’s one of the good ones.