Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo and Jeff Santo –#BookReview – Hard-Boiled Mystery

Book Blurb:

Ravens in the Rain by Christie Santo and Jeff SantoRavens In The Rain centers around Pru and Carney, she’s a woman with a past, and he’s a man with no future. Down on luck and down on love, they meet over a game of chance at an off-strip Vegas casino, and Carney wonders if Pru’s sparkle is what he needs to lift him from his darkness. He doesn’t even mind that she swiped a hundred-dollar bill from an old cowboy. It excites him.

While Pru, disillusioned by her sparkle, is now accustomed to the cynical disposition of vagabond life. She’s not looking for a one-night stand; she’s looking for survival and sizing Carney up as a comfortable solution, for the moment. When she finds out who he really is, she’ll ante up for the game of her life.

This romantic noir is a turbulent flight; like dating in the 21st century, it’s dangerous and daring.

My Review:

Carney McMorris is a down on his luck ex-child star of a successful actor parent. His life was carefully choreographed through the teen acne that scarred him for life and all but ended his career. He stayed in the Hollywood scene, however, writing or directing when he had the opportunity, living on the legacy left by his dad. Now he has cigar-stomping cronies that he meets regularly at the bar, but these guys could hardly be classified as friends.

Prudencia (Pru) Romiti was abandoned early, surviving by her wits and cashing in on a beauty and sex appeal that opened doors. Largely living out of her car, sleeping on a couch provided by chance, she’s found staying mysterious keeps her fairly safe.

Ravens in the Rain by Christie Santo and Jeff SantoAs luck would have it, they meet by chance at a craps table in Vegas. She survives by avoidance and disappears but he can’t get her out of his mind and she later manages to arrange another “chance” meeting. There is a significant age gap as well as social status, life experiences, and histories, but Carney is intrigued enough by her “dangerous” persona that he joins the games she employs.

When he takes her on a motorcycle ride, an accident results in a serious leg injury and he takes her into his home to insure she is nursed back to health.

The basic plot is a good one although the story is written strongly by tell not show. She likes to play games, which become tiresome, and although grateful for the care and the roof over her head and food, remains enigmatic. His infatuation seems to hinge on her desirability (broken leg or not) and her puzzling background, fed by tiny bits and pieces. (He must know more.) The narrative begins dark and doesn’t stray from the noir vibe.

His life intrudes more darkly on their tale than hers resulting in a death implied by her hand. Could be or not—she is not exactly beyond stealing and her history hints at a deadly side.

It’s a debut novel. I had a problem with a couple plot holes, need for additional editing, and my inability to engage with any of the characters. Both so suspicious of each other, it’s difficult to see a continuing relationship especially in view of the seriousness of the possible murder. A motorcycle accident as described would have whacked the bike so hard there is no way the driver could not have lost control (destroyed the fiberglass bag and her leg but still allowed him to pull over safely? Nah—takes less than that to knock a bike out from under you.)

A good effort in the noir vane and captured an essence of the Hollywood underbelly not usually dissected but pushed the relationship disbelief a bit far. The characters come off strong, not wholly likeable, and was surprised by the conclusion. Interesting first effort, though I’d recommend additional eyes on the manuscript.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher and these are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Noir Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mysteries
Publisher: Santo Films
ISBN: 109836967XASIN: B09GHH49V5 (Audiobook)
Publisher: BookBaby

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B095HYQ3YM (Kindle edition)

Print Length: 248 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: Ravens in the Rain [Amazon]
 

Christie Santo- authorThe Authors: Christie Santo has published short stories and poetry and has freelanced as a ghostwriter. She received her BA in creative writing from California State University Long Beach and has over a decade of independent filmmaking experience in writing, editing, producing, and acting. Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story is her debut novel. She lives in Burbank with her husband and two Boston Terrier dogs.

 

Jeff Santo - authorJeff Santo is a screenwriter/director and has over 25 years of indie filmmaking experience. He’s a member of both the WGA and DGA and Ravens In The Rain is Jeff’s debut novel. He lives in Burbank, California, with his wife, Christie, and their two Boston Terriers.

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Parabellum by Greg Hickey – A #BookReview – Noir Crime

Si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you want peace, you should prepare for war”. 

Book Blurb:

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA mass shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the crime, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of hits to the head.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

“Parabellum is taut, slow-burning crime fiction at its best. And it’s a great deal more than that.” – Paul Flower, author of The Great American Cheese War

If you like nuanced literary crime fiction that explores the depths of the human psyche, you’ll love Greg Hickey’s compelling and unforgettable novel.

His Review:

Parabellum is an interesting study of human failures and broken relationships. I found the book hard to follow because I never felt invested in any one character. A young budding soccer star who is given a scholarship to USC but has to withdraw and loses her scholarship because of a concussion related injury was sympathetic and tragic. Her parents’ struggle to get her back into society were commendable.

Parabellum by Greg HickeyA veteran who returns from the desert storm conflict with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who has a very difficult time because of repeated dreams and lack of sleep is sympathetic. However, this is another character I could not get fully vested in. The issue was the continued complaint and lack of regard for the dedicated medical staff at the veterans’ medical facility in Chicago. The veteran was receiving psychiatric evaluation. The complaint of lack of understanding of the individual problems and pill pushing became exasperating.

A young couple who tried to build a relationship was intriguing. However, the young man’s brother was killed in a gangland type shooting. He continued to frequent the area where the killing occurred because it was his childhood neighborhood. He was thereby marked as someone who could be bullied by the local thugs and gang members. He had real artistic potential but then again deferred to something more lucrative and ignored his talents.

Yes, I could have found these characters sympathetic but the structure of the narrative was such that being engaged in the characters was not possible. Each of their stories was presented shotgun style within the book and as soon as my interest was peaked another character was introduced. It might be two or three chapters before the person you wanted to follow was reintroduced. I found this to be a serious irritant and required me to push through rather than flow with the book.

The end focus of the book was a diatribe against the ownership of guns. This was poorly disguised in the staccato approach to the lives of each of the characters. I suspected early in the reading that something like this must be afoot.

An obvious red flag went up almost immediately on one of the individuals and a couple of the other characters were also leaning towards anti-social activities. The end event was predictable and the narrative a text book type of psychological exercise. 3/5 stars -CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

 Book Details:

  • Genre: Noir Crime, Hard-Boiled Mysteries, Literary Fiction
  • ASIN : B08L1NPNWB

Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: October 10, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Parabellum [Amazon]

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Greg Hickey - authorThe Author: Author of entertaining stories for smart readers. Download the short novel The Theory of Anything for free at https://www.greghickeywrites.com/anything-amazon.

Greg Hickey wrote his first novel, Our Dried Voices, while spending a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Today, he still loves sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of his life. He is a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After his post-college travels, he once again lives in his hometown of Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams