- Author: Joseph Souza
- Published: March 2016 by Kindle Press
- Category: Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Yasmine ‘Yaz’ Weeks would prefer to forget her troubled past and the vile crimes committed against her, but when she discovers a hidden memoir in a kidnapped girl’s cell phone, Yaz finds herself on the run with an opportunity for retribution. She soon learns that the memoir has the potential to ruin both the reputation of its late great author, Robert Cornish, as well as the reputations of many influential people.
Mikiela Bellows, an undergraduate student in Portland, Maine, has discovered a hidden memoir written by Robert Cornish, a deceased but still important literary figure, whose novel is required reading in schools and colleges. After taking photos of the last batch of papers on her phone she is chased by two thugs. Mikiela runs to a club where she knows her new friend, Yasmine Weeks performs in a brilliantly named band. As the thugs grab Mikiela she throws her phone to Yasmine and yells at her to run. Yaz recognises one of the men as a monster from the horrific past which left her mentally scarred and set on revenge. Now she has to fight for her life all over again.
Whip Billings, an ex police officer, is returning to Portland for his mother’s funeral. Undercover work trying to catch the drug lord known as The Viking went terribly wrong when his cover was blown, turning him to alcohol and drug addiction. Now, straight out of rehab, Whip has been clean and sober for a year although he knows it probably won’t last. His mother is dead and his fiancée is set to marry another man. While he waits to be reinstated he’s offered the job of looking into the disappearance of Mikiela Bellows, which brings him into contact with Yaz and the mystery of why everyone wants Mikiela’s phone and why The Viking is after Yaz. Or is it the other way around?
It was worrisome that the cops were now looking for her, and for Mikiela’s phone. Corruption appeared everywhere in this state, like a house with dry rot. It was why she hadn’t gone to the cops in the first place. That cop who’d shown up at the gym had been on the Viking’s payroll for a long time, and she could finally prove it.
She sprinted out of the parking lot and hopped on her Vespa, certain that he’d not recognised her. She thought for a moment, from the way he’d stared into her eyes, lingering a few seconds longer than seemed normal, that he might have seen something familiar in her. Of course, he’d been drunk when she’d first met him, and she doubted that he remembered anything from that night.
I enjoyed this book despite having to suspend belief as the body count rose at a rapid rate. The violence was graphic and, for me, sometimes unnecessarily so. And I have to mention the sexual encounter between the two main protagonists, which I felt was awkward and didn’t add anything to the story. But that said, the narrative held my attention completely and I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the conclusion. It’s well paced and thought through, action filled and suspenseful with a good mix of very well drawn characters, who are all complex and flawed and had, in the most part, distressing backstories. I loved the realistic and believable dialogue which characterised each person perfectly.
Having each chapter begin with a quote from the (fictional) author at the centre of the plot is a great touch. The story plumbs ugly depths, encompassing sex trafficking, corruption at every level, dark family secrets and drug smuggling. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and was kept guessing right to the end result who The Viking actually was. After all the terrible things that happened it was good to have a sense of optimism and promise for the future. Great stuff.
This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on a digital copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Joseph Souza
Joseph Souza is the author of many award-winning short stories and essays. He graduated from Northeastern University and grew up near Boston. THE REAWAKENING is his debut horror novel and the first in THE LIVING DEAD SERIES. The REAWAKENING won the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Speculative Fiction and was an Amazon bestseller. DARPOCALYPSE, BOOK 2, is now published. DARMAGEDDON, BOOK 3 was published in early 2014. His mystery, UNPAVED SURFACES, was published by Kindle Press in 2015 and was an Amazon bestseller. NEED TO FIND YOU, his crime thriller set in Portland, was the first novel to go direct-to-publish by Kindle Press.
He lives near Portland, Maine with his wife and two children and enjoys running, cooking and playing golf when not writing.