BOOK SYNOPSISDetective Connie Giannelli's life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.
Connie’s love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she’s not worried about them finding the missing drugs—her secrets could prove to be far worse.
Now Connie’s racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs—dirty cops or Uncle Dominic’s friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.
My ThoughtsAfter reading the authors debut book in his "Friendship and Honor" series, Murder Takes Time I was delighted to find out that he had penned this first book in his new "Blood Flows South" series, A Bullet for Carlos and even more delighted to snag an ebook copy for my Kindle a few days after it released!
Connie Giannelli is a very likable character, she is a woman of many layers whose one burning ambition in life is to be a "good cop" and at times due to her connection with mobster Dominic Mangini that is an uphill battle as her loyalties are torn between duty and family.
The book begins with a literal "bang" and never slows down. This crime drama is one that is very gritty, very violent in places and has some shockingly graphic descriptions that will make squeamish readers queasy. All of that makes the story feel "real" and gives it the edge that helps make it convincing when the crime scenes are discussed.
This is the type of book that I enjoy sitting down with, it pushes the envelope between fantasy and reality allowing the reader to totally connect with not only the characters but feel like they are part of what is happening as the story unfolds. This is an easy read, it merges several story lines without ever making it too hard to keep track of what is going on and also takes the reader to different physical locations seamlessly as Connie goes from New York to Houston as she works on unraveling the trail that ties an old serial murder case there with the drug bust that cost her partners their lives.
Along the way we are reacquainted with Detective Frankie Donovan and his irascible partner as they are the lead investigators assigned to the undercover drug bust homicides. Connie may have just lucked out but only time will tell as Frankie gets closer and closer to uncovering just where her loyalty lies, with the law she has sworn to uphold or with her family who happens to be on the wrong side of that very same legal system.
This is a roller coaster ride of a crime thriller, it will take you places into the evil minds of egotistical people who value nothing but money and the power it gives them so anyone who gets in their way or threatens that power is dealt with harshly.
The graphic descriptions of the crime scenes and victim photos that accompany the Houston serial murder case lend brutal realism as well as shocking insight into just how much we are sheltered by those who uphold the law. To be able to face this type of violence on a day to day basis takes strong will, courage and a dedication that is not found in all of us.
The introduction of a bit of humor, sarcasm and generally out of bounds behavior that is illustrated by the offbeat character portrayed by Houston Police Detective Tip Denton lends a bit of needed relief from the intensity of this book. Not only is Tip someone that is interesting but he has a fondness for animals that totally won me over as soon as I was introduced to his three "ladies". The dogs are not only fun characters in their own right but each of them have a distinct "personality" that the author takes great care to make the reader aware of as he describes their actions and interactions with Tip, Connie and others.
The main villain Carlos Cortes is a suave, cruel, complex character. He has a wife and family and is on one hand a devoted husband and father but on the other hand he is the head of a vicious drug cartel that accepts no excuses as he deals with mistakes by those in his employ with swift deadly force. He also has utter contempt for women and when he finds out that Connie is investigating his enterprise he underestimates her intelligence which is a grave error on his part.
The character that the author calls "Mr Perfect" who finds himself brutally beating, raping and killing young women again and again is not one that would be first choice for the reader to ever suspect of being a murderer. The unveiling of his identity is going to come as quite a surprise to some and not much of one to others as there are clues here and there that lead to suspect his involvement with the heinous crimes.
There is nothing like enjoying the wealth of past experiences that an author uses to create their work. Reading A Bullet for Carlos was like taking a walk through an old neighborhood, the characters were like familiar companions and the stories they shared felt like past memories that were relived in the telling. Not only did this make the reader want to stay immersed in the book but it also allowed it to feel like what was happening could be a headline story on a current news broadcast.
I can honestly say that if like this genre and you do what I did and download the sample chapters of this book you will go right back after reading those chapters and purchase A Bullet for Carlos to read for yourself ASAP.
This was an excellent beginning, I am very much intrigued to see where the next story with Connie and Tip take us!
[Personal copy of ebook bought by me to read and share my thoughts.]