Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Trail of Tears by Chris Semal

Pete Watts is a former undercover narcotics cop who got way too close to his job. He now runs a music rehearsal studio in which all manner of eccentric musicians come through. His soon to be ex-girlfriend is a talented singer with a sleazy manager who is in the habit of giving his clients drug habits, occasionally overdosing them to move their recordings up the charts, with the full support of the shady entertainment company for whom he works.

This universe of people is inexorably drawn into a war between two violent drug gangs, viewed through the perspective of the Napoleonic leader of one gang. He has recently signed on a strange, but beautiful ex-mercenary, who wears makeup in the form of multi-colored tears running down her face. These tears are, in fact, decals on which different poisons are concealed, hence the title. Some survive the Trial of Tears, some don’t. The story’s taut climax is set in a posh townhouse in which only the courageous will emerge unscathed.

While it certainly has its share of humor, action and suspense, it is also a story of friendship and redemption, as well as being a love letter to New York City.

This was a fun book, one that was different than I expected, but which had some really amusing moments.

The novel begins with what seems like an inconsequential scene with a homeless man that immerses us in the mood the entire novel will possess. It is a dark aura of criminal activity and violence which hold the reader’s attention from the start. There are a few storylines to keep a hold of throughout, which intertwine in clever ways but which sometimes can seem a bit forced. The same thing with some of the dialogue. The banter between Pete and Styx gets old pretty quickly, becoming more frustrating than anything else for the reader. It just doesn’t feel natural at all.

Despite this, the story moves at a good pace and there aren’t any moments where the reader loses interest. There is quite a lot of violence, but it is not gratuitous. Actually, for the type of book it is, it is actually pretty tame. I would, however, have liked to see a bit more of Alice, who, as the woman on the cover, I’d expected to have had a more prominent role in the plot.

This is an interesting thriller that is a quick, fairly satisfying read.

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