It has been ages since I featured a mob-based book here. It is one of my favourite genres not only in books but in TV and films too. Let’s get to the review and see how this book stands up against the many others I’ve read.
The drama of The Last Straw* by Ed Duncan all kicks off when a teenage girl, Sandy, witnesses a carjacking gone bad. When she decides to go ahead and provide evidence in court, she is marked for death by a crime boss with no apparent motive. Paul, a lawyer and neighbor, does his best to protect Sandy, with a little help from an unlikely ally, hitman Rico.
Soon it comes to light that a crime boss is the father of the teenage carjacker. Throw in a long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo and things aren’t looking great for anybody.
I’m going to kick this review off with the characters of The Last Straw. We are introduced to many new characters within the first chapters of the book. This is great as we know from the outset what players we are dealing with. However, this speed continues right throughout and sometimes the book jumps a bit too quickly between characters and stories. At the same time, the storylines are well intertwined.
Now moving onto the actual characters. Rico is the only complex character in The Last Straw, while the others seem to just serve a purpose. Sometimes, it is hard to see him as a hitman, especially when we see his tenderness toward Jean or his willingness to help Paul when he doesn’t really know him at all.
Saying that, he is not the only moral character in the book. We have Sandy who is determined to testify against the carjacker, despite the turmoil it brings into her life. Sandy is actually a very nice young girl. It is a pity that she didn’t feature more in the story but she does make an impact.
Paul’s girlfriend, Evelyn, is another very moral character. She is always trying to do what is right whether it is taking Sandy in when she needs someone of trying to keep Paul from doing the wrong thing. However, she is not the most likable character as she often appears to be on a high horse.
Someone who is a likable character is Jean. Jean is Nico’s girlfriend and she is also a prostitute. Some might say she is the typical “tart with a heart”. I like to think she goes beyond that and I am happy that the author decided not to make her the typical prostitute character.
Overall, this was an intriguing story but a violent. Keep that in mind if violence if not your thing. However, I felt that it lacked suspense and was a bit tame for a mob story. I’m afraid to think what that says about me.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review