For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.
As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?
He loosened the string at the mouth, turned it over, and allowed its contents to slide into his palm: a necklace with sixteen color-matched rubies, each a prized pigeon-blood red. He held it up to the light from a window, marveled at it a moment, and carefully returned it to the pouch as though it were a delicate flower.
When a very valuable necklace is stolen, Rico is tasked by his boss; the owner of the necklace; to track down who did it and get the item back. Following the thief from Chicago to Honolulu, he manages to track the perpetrator and their accomplice down and exact his boss’s revenge. However he has a crisis of conscience when he finds out that the necklace isn’t in their possession, and that he might have targeted the wrong person. With his sights set on the people who now have the necklace, a command to kill them from his boss, and the woman he loves on the line, he begins to question their involvement and his orders.
Pigeon-Blood Red is an unusual read, in the sense that it isn’t entirely linear, intermingled with the present day storyline are the reasons why the characters have ended up where they are. Revealing pieces of information to bolster the plot or give us more of an insight into the motivations of the characters.
The point of view of the story also changes with these sections and throughout the narrative, which at first; as it was a little abrupt; I found a bit disruptive, however the more absorbed I got in the book the more these changes read naturally. I think that this might be something that other readers might find hard to get past but it didn’t detract from my reading experience and I felt that it gave the book more depth overall.
Something that I really admired about this book was how well conceived the plot was, every character mentioned had a purpose to the story, and every situation felt like the catalyst for the next. The only downside to this was that for me some of the characters didn’t quite feel as well developed as the others; their use in the story was well explained and resolved, however I maybe would have liked to know a little bit more about their motivations. At least it seemed to me as if there should have been more to what motivated them, than what was depicted.
I also felt that whilst the blurb makes it seem like Rico is the main character, there isn’t as much importance placed on him in the book than you would be lead to believe. He is obviously an integral part of the book however he is somewhat eclipsed by other characters and on occasion the plotline itself. This is complete conjecture but this is the first book in a trilogy, so I think that whilst he is slightly overshadowed in this book, I feel like this is the lead up to something more for him in the next book.
Pigeon-Blood Red is a very fast paced book; once I started it I was hooked. It of course has the cat and mouse element but the main difference is that the mouse isn’t just being chased, it’s trying to play the cat at its own game. I like that the characters are portrayed in such a clever way, whilst they are victims they do not fall into the victim mentality, which I found very refreshing for a book in the crime/thriller category.
It is an absolutely thrilling book, although I feel like it does lack suspense which many books of this genre play on; I felt wholly invested in the book but I didn’t feel any nervous butterflies in my stomach waiting to see what would happen next. There wasn’t the same wonder at what twists and turns would unfold, rather the story developed and you felt pulled along for the ride. What a ride though!
This is an excellent book, utterly unputdownable, and I feel like it would be a worthwhile read for any crime/thriller fan, I am certainly looking forward to reading what happens next.
Thank you to Zharmae and Netgalley for the review copy of this book.