Full disclosure, I was provided with a copy of this book by the author or
their representative, however, I have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.
Family ties complicate business
A teenage girl is an eyewitness to a carjacking gone wrong. As a result, she becomes a target of a hit by a locally notorious mob boss. But why would this random girl raise the ire of the local wiseguys? After an attempt on her life, she finds herself under the protective eye of family friend Paul Elliot and his girlfriend Evelyn. Little does she know, that due to a situation the duo encountered last year they also have an unlikely guardian angel of their own. When Rico starts digging around, he uncovers a family secret as well as a vendetta from a rival enforcer. Using all his means, legal and otherwise, Rico intends to uncover the reason behind the hit on the girl and settle an old grudge before any more innocents are killed.
The Last Straw by Ed Duncan continues the story of hitman Rico approximately one year after the close of Pigeon Blood Red. Paul and Evelyn return as does Jean, Rico and a few other unsavory characters. As Paul and Evelyn attempt to settle into a semi normal life they are thrust unknowingly once again into underworld affairs. With a scorned assassin on their heels, Rico makes it his personal mission to save the duo from a rival to settle a year-old score.
I must confess when I read Pigeon Blood Red two years ago, I didn’t love the story. As a matter of fact, my review for this first book in this series was probably one of my most critical to date. Even knowing that, I decided to give the second book in the series a chance to see if my feelings on the overall story had changed. What I found was that characters that I once thought were flat and unlikable began to grow on me. Rather than feeling formulaic and cliché, The Last Straw felt more detailed and fleshed out, mostly due to Duncan’s references to events in the prior book that provided substance and backstory for The Last Straw. Having Rico act as a reluctant guardian of Paul and Evelyn as they are oblivious to the larger danger around them really helped to endear the main character to the reader in my eyes.
Where in my initial opinion Pigeon Blood Red did not really have any “good guys”, I really can’t say the same for The Last Straw. In the space of two books, Duncan has managed to take my initial opinion and turn it around. I am looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up in the final book in the trilogy “Rico Stays”.