The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste: When an Urban Legend becomes Urban News

The Bone KeeperThe Bone Keeper

by Luca Veste

Paperback, 421 pg.
Simon & Schuster, 2018

Read: April 17 – 19, 2018

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you
Three, four, better lock your door
Five, six, grab your crucifix
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late
Nine, ten, never sleep again

(that’s not from this book, it’s from The Nightmare on Elm Street movies — but you’re so clever, you probably didn’t need me to say that)

I’ve never been a horror movie guy — but I watched a couple of the Elm Street movies as a kid, mostly because my younger sister was obsessed by them. Still, if I sang this song, played a bit of either The Fat Boys or DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s songs about the movies (the musical bit), she would get freaked out. Something about that song immediately tapped into the fear of that movie for her (and made it very easy for her older brother to torment her).

I mention that because the Bone Keeper — an Urban Legend, a bogeyman story — has his own song that kids throughout all of Liverpool know and have known for decades/generations. He’s a supernatural being, living in the woods near/around the city who captures kids and adults, kills them and keeps their bones (hence the name). Clearly just a story to be told around campfires, etc. Right? One more way for older brothers, cousins, etc. to torment their younger friends and relations.

But when an injured, bleeding, and disoriented woman comes stumbling out of the woods singing that song, everyone (police, media, social media users) starts wondering — is the Bone Keeper real after all?

DC Louise Henderson and DS Paul Slater are officially skeptical (okay, more than skeptical) about the Bone Keeper’s involvement in the attack on the woman as they begin their investigation. Finding bodies in the area near where she was probably attacked (and inexplicably escaped), with strange symbols carved into nearby trees only fuels the speculation — and perhaps gets at least one of the detectives thinking that maybe they were too quick to write off the “out of the box” suspect.

As the investigation continues, the options are (at least for the reader, even if Henderson and Slater can’t think this way): there’s a deranged serial killer out there taking advantage of the Bone Keeper legend to mask his crimes; there’s a deranged serial killer out there that thinks he’s a supernatural creature, killing people; or there’s a supernatural being out there killing people. Veste writes this in such a way that every option is a valid conclusion up until the moment he has to make it clear just what’s been going on.

Like the Elm Street movies, The Bone Keeper isn’t my kind of book — but I gave it a shot anyway. I’m so glad I did. It was gripping, it was addictive, there are many other adjectives I could use here, but they don’t seem to be adequate. Let’s say that it’s the kind of book you read in the waiting room of your doctor’s office and hope that he’s running late (I was able to read enough to get to an acceptable stopping point so I didn’t resent him being pretty much on time).

I cannot talk about this book the way I want to — I’d ruin everything. I’ve deleted several sentences (or at least the beginnings of several sentences) already — and I’ve not typed a few others. Take the premise above and imagine the best way to tell that story — that’s precisely what Veste has given us.

The opening chapter is one of the creepiest that I can remember reading — and things only move quickly from there until the action-packed conclusion and almost-as-creepy coda. Haunted characters, haunted families, haunted woods — in at least one sense. The Bone Keeper‘s characters and setting are rife with opportunity and material for Veste to use to tell his story of a literal walking nightmare. A police procedural that brushes up against the horror genre — this is a thriller that’ll stay with you for a while (I’m not sure how long it’ll stay with me, but I can tell you I’m avoiding places rich with trees for the foreseeable future).

—–

4 Stars

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The Plea by Steve Cavanagh is a dynamite legal thriller

The PleaThe Plea

by Steve Cavanagh
Series: Eddie Flynn, #2

Hardcover, 358 pg.
Flatiron Books, 2016 (2018 for US Edition)
Read: April 10 – 12, 2017

Lawyers don’t usually question whether or not a client is telling truth. That way lies madness. You do what you have to and trust the system. So, the guilty plead guilty. The innocent fight their case and the jury decides. If a by-product of that process is the emergence of the truth, then so be it, but the truth is not the aim of the process. The verdict is the aim. Truth has no place in the trial because no one is concerned with finding it, least of all the lawyers or the judge.

If that’s not cynical enough for you, try this:

I saw through Dell’s game. It was a familiar one. It’s a game the justice system plays every single day in America–because sometimes it simply doesn’t matter if you’re really innocent of the crime; the only smart move is to plead guilty and make a deal for a lesser sentence.

“You want me to read the new evidence and tell David that irrespective of his innocence, he will definitely be convicted and his only choice is to plead guilty and make a deal to cut his sentence.”

“Bingo,” said Dell.

Happens all the time. I’ve done it myself. Innocent people often don’t want to take the chance of losing and doing fifteen or twenty years when they could make a deal and be out in two. It’s mathematics–not justice, but that’s the reality.

Don’t worry — this book is not a diatribe about the shortcomings of the American judicial system (as appropriate as one might be), little comments like that are just a little bit of flavoring accenting the story, grounding it in the real world despite the craziness filling the book.

Eddie Flynn, for those new to the character, is a con man who went straight and then went to Law School. Following that, he made a couple big mistakes — one cost him the career he had built, the other cost him his family. He’s in the process of rebuilding both — no easy task — but you have to root for the guy trying to recover.

Eddie’s approached (okay, ambushed) by the FBI, who wants Eddie to take on a new client, David Child. Child’s a tech billionaire accused of murdering his girlfriend, and the FBI wants Eddie to convince him to plead to the charges. Then he needs to convince Eddie to help the FBI take down the law firm that currently represents him — and is laundering money on a mind-boggling scale. If Eddie refuses? The FBI has enough evidence to put Eddie’s ex away for a long time (did I mention that she works for the aforementioned firm, totally unaware that she’s incriminated in the laundering?).

So, somehow Eddie has to separate Child from his current counsel, replace them, and then persuade Child to work with the FBI — within a couple of days. No easy task. Then Eddie becomes convinced that Child is innocent. Which complicates things tremendously. So how does Eddie clear Child, keep his wife out of jail and help the FBI take down the laundering lawyers? Well, it’ll take every bit of his old tricks, and maybe a few new ones.

I’m not a huge legal thriller guy — never read a Grisham — but when you give me a compelling character (particularly a defense attorney) like Eddie Flynn, I’m in. Watching Eddie navigate through the tricky waters of the system — including jail guards, court staff, judges, prosecutors — is a blast. This was like a serious version of the Andy Carpenter books. I would like to see Eddie take on a client he because he wanted to for a change, but that’s not a complaint about this book, it’d just be nice to see.

Sure, it’s your appreciation for Eddie Flynn that’ll determine if you like this book or not, but he’s not the only character to focus on — there’s David Child himself, who is interestingly drawn — he’s a fairly typical computer-genius character, socially awkward, etc. Typical, yes, but used well. My only complaint about Child’s associate, Holly, is that we didn’t get more of her (not that Cavanagh could’ve easily fit more of her in). The villains? Nasty, vile people — believable (with one possible exception, but I liked him enough I don’t care) — all of them were well used, well drawn and just what the doctor ordered.

The Plea isn’t perfect: I figured out the whodunit almost instantly, but it took a little while to get the details of the howdunit right — and Cavanagh fooled me a little bit on that one. But that didn’t detract from the book at all — the fun is in watching Eddie and the rest scramble to survive this horrible situation and figure things out. The plot moves at a relentless pace — which is a cliché, I realize, but I challenge you to come up with another way to describe this plot. Eddie can barely get a moment to rest and think, and when you’re reading this, you feel like you can’t either.

Characters you can’t help but root for (or, in some cases, against), a fast-moving plot, with just enough twists, turns and hurdles. This one’ll grab you by the collar and drag you along as it rushes to the dramatic conclusion (not that you’ll be fighting against it, but the dragging will help you keep up). Keep yours eyes peeled for Steve Cavanagh and Eddie Flynn, they’re something to watch.

—–

4 Stars

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh by Carolyn Arnold: A would-be Indiana Jones-esque adventure in Egypt

The Secret of the Lost PharaohThe Secret of the Lost Pharaoh

by Carolyn Arnold
Series: Matthew Connor Adventure, #2

eARC, 436 pg.
Hibbert & Stiles Publishing, Inc., 2018
Read: April 6 – 7, 2018

Noted thrill-seeker, adventurer and archaeologist in the Indiana Jones mold, Matt Connor, is contacted by a former colleague with a more-than-tempting offer: she’s pretty sure that she’s on the trail of a fascination of Matt’s — the Emerald Tablets — and would he like to help look for them? Matt jumps at the chance and persuades Dr. Alexandria Leonard to let him bring his two friends along — they’ve come along on many of his previous escapades and will be a helpful addition to this one, too.

He just has to convince them to come. Following the three of them being compelled to find the lost City of Gold, they’ve plunged themselves into their very tame careers and personal lives and away from excitement. Matt convinces them to come along (or the book would’ve been much shorter), and they head to Egypt a couple of days later. Keeping things very secret from just about everyone, of course, because these Emerald Tablets have great power — we’re not told anything about this power, just that no one wants it to fall into the wrong hands. When people first started talking about them in those terms, I rolled my eyes, until I realized that this was a world in which that was a thing — tablets have power, the Ark of the Covenant probably took out a bunch of Nazis and Bobby probably found an ancient tiki that carried a curse. Once I figured out that was the kind of book I was reading, things made a little more sense. We are told almost nothing else about the Tablets, but from the way everyone acts about them (at least everyone that believes in them), you can tell they’re a pretty big deal.

Once they arrive, things start to good poorly for the expedition — and not in small ways, but they struggle through it all (mostly). The Tablets are not easily found — if they even exist, that is. But there’s plenty of other archeological finds to focus on — and some real dangers. Like, say, snakes. Arnold does a great job depicting how snakes can really creep a person out — even a person safely reading about them on their Kindle thousands of miles away from a single asp. Although at a certain point, they just disappear — like Hamlin’s Pied Piper sauntered through Egypt and every asp left with him. It was a bit disconcerting once they stopped being a concern — especially in the last chapters where they really could’ve been a looming presence — after being everywhere for a while.

This was a fun little adventure story, nothing too intense, nothing too serious, just a nice little diversion (which is good thing). But it could’ve been better, too.

Early on, when the characters are getting to know each other and get comfortable in Egypt, I really had some trouble with the conversation. Matt’s friend and photographer (ugh, don’t get me started on the drama surrounding bringing along a photographer), Cal, can serve a great role for the reader. Cal’s only a hobbiest when it comes to this stuff from hanging out with his friend — so he can ask a lot of questions that Arnold can use to plug the reader into the world. It’s a thankless task that characters in books and TV shows have to play letting the “stars” show off their expertise. That’s all well and good, but man, Cal asked some pretty dumb questions — and what’s worse, characters in and around the field of archeology were way too impressed with others answering simple questions — questions I could’ve answered. That was hard to swallow, but easy to get past.

But was really hard to get past — if only because she kept throwing it in your face — was the unsubtle emotional stories. Alex’s other friend, Robyn, is clearly the love of his life — and vice versa. But they broke up years ago, while neither has let go. And one or the other of them (and occasionally, Cal) is thinking about this every few pages, without doing anything about it. And when another romance is kindled in Egypt, the melodrama gets hard to swallow — seriously, in an early draft of Twilight, Stephanie Meyer would’ve cut this kind of stuff for being “too high school.” Unless I’m remembering incorrectly, Arnold can do subtle emotions, this didn’t seem to be the same author who wrote Remnants — and that’s a shame.

The pacing of this was disappointing — we got too much set-up, far too much time establishing the various storylines in Egypt, and then we rushed through the conclusion. I think the heart of the adventure took the last 20 percent of the book! It needed to be longer just to give it the necessary dramatic weight — and to make the last challenges these characters faced seem more difficult and fraught than a run down to Tim Horton’s for donuts and coffee.

The mystery component (for lack of a better word), was far too easy to figure out — but it wasn’t framed as a whodunit, so that’s not a slight on Arnold. But it does make you wonder about the powers of observation displayed by Matt, Cal, Alex and the rest. But the villainous characters did their overall job, keeping things moving and providing a way for Matt and the rest to have the adventure the book they needed.

I’ve given a lot of space here to my relatively minor complaints — but it takes a bit of space to express them. I did have a good time reading the book. Matt’s a fun character — ditto for Cal. I enjoyed the chemistry between the central characters and could’ve easily read another hundred pages or more with them and not really noticed or minded. As long as the high school stuff was downplayed — when that wasn’t a focus, I wanted more time with all the characters.

This is the second in a series, but would be a find jumping-on point. I do recommend this for people looking for a light adventure, and can see myself coming back for another go-round with these characters — I know Arnold can do better than this (and this wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as it could’ve been).

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Hibbert & Stiles Publishing in exchange for this post. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book.

—–

3 Stars

Quotation of the Day

“A man condemning the income tax because of the annoyance it gives him or the expense it puts him to is merely a dog baring its teeth, and he forfeits the privileges of civilized discourse. But it is permissible to criticize it on other and impersonal grounds. A government, like an individual, spends money for any or all of three reasons: because it needs to, because it wants to, or simply because it has it to spend. The last is much the shabbiest. It is arguable, if not manifest, that a substantial proportion of this great spring flood of billions pouring into the Treasury will in effect get spent for that last shabby reason.”

–Nero Wolfe

Pub Day Repost: Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

Madam Tulip and the Bones of ChanceMadam Tulip and the Bones of Chance

by David Ahern
Series: Madam Tulip, #3Kindle Edition, 368 pg.
Malin Press, 2018
Read: March 5 – 6, 2018

Many people doubt psychic powers exist, but the doubters do not include actors. Everyone in showbusiness knows that as soon as one actor learns of a casting, actors of all ages, ethnicities, creeds and genders are instantly aware of every detail. Einstein claimed that faster-than-light communication is impossible. Einstein was not an actor.

But not even the actors that Derry, Bruce and Bella knew had an inkling of the dash of good fortune heading toward Derry and Bruce — they were given roles in a movie without the need to audition, if they could get themselves to Northern Scotland and Derry might have to give a reading or two. For readers new to this, Derry played the role of Madam Tulip on occasion — giving psychic readings at parties and the like. Derry was initially reluctant to take the role, but she needed the work — and Bruce only got his job if she took hers.

So they find themselves in Scotland — a land not necessarily ready for or welcoming toward people making a film. Which almost describes the director, too. He’s clearly nuts — and not in the genius filmmaker kind of way. Many of the other professionals on set did seem to know what they’re doing, which went a long way to keeping the production running. But mostly, the antics on the set made for good comedy. Derry is given a set of bones on set to add to her gypsy character’s fortune telling routine in the historical drama.

While practicing with the bones, Derry starts to have visions, we’ll get into that later, but it’s clear that she’s gotten herself into more than meets the eye (again).

The most striking and interesting people in the book aren’t on the film set — believe it or not. As the blurb on the back says,

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

As usual, Derry’s desire to help people and natural nosiness gets her involved in these people’s lives (okay, she might have less altruistic motives about the estate manager). And that’s before someone tries to kill her and/or one of her new friends. Once that happens, Derry can’t help but dive into finding out what’s going on. Madam Tulip may be able to guide the direction she goes, but it’s Derry’s on cleverness that will carry the day.

In Madam Tulip, her father seems to actually believe that she had some psychic ability, otherwise it seems like a lark, something she does for giggles. But in book 2, it seemed possible that she might actually have some abilities, but there wasn’t much in the novel that was more than a hint or suggestion that she did. But here? That hint, that suggestion is gone — she sees things when she rolls the bones, her Tarot readings do say a lot that’s true (and future) about the person she’s reading the cards for. I think I liked it better when the reader wasn’t sure if she had gifts or not, honestly — but only a little bit.

I’ve been a fan of this series since chapter two or three of the first book, so you’re not getting anything really objective here (not that you ever do). But this is the best that Ahern’s done yet — there’s plenty of good comedic writing (there are lines I tried to shoehorn into this, but couldn’t, that made me laugh out loud), a mystery you can’t really guess the solution to, a little peril, a dash of romance and some fun characters. That’s not even counting Derry and Bruce. Bones of Chance is a strong entry in the series that will please fans, but it’s also a decent jumping on point for new readers. Basically anyone who enjoys light mysteries with a touch of something extra should have fun with this book.

There are times that I fear my enthusiasm towards a book doesn’t come through, and I usually don’t know how to achieve that better — this is one such time. I found myself grinning frequently while reading this — I chuckled, I even laughed out loud. I had a few theories about the trouble that Derry was getting herself into, and failed with almost all of them (a sign of a good mystery/thriller, if you ask me). If you’re not picking up my enthusiasm, that’s on me, just trust me that it’s there.
Disclaimer: I received this eARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion..

—–

4 Stars

Pub Day Repost: Skyjack by K. J. Howe

SkyjackSkyjack

by K. J. Howe
Series: Thea Paris, #2
eARC, 400 pg.
Quercus Books, 2018
Read: March 26 – 28, 2018

Waiting for the call to be patched through, Thea stared at the black and yellow symbol on the canisters. It wasn’t every day she was in the same room with enough nuclear material to start World War Three.

When it comes to imminent threats in this book, believe it or not, that’s not the worst.

So Thea is escorting a couple of former child-soldiers from their orphanage in Africa to their new parents when the jet they’re on is taken over by the pilot and lands near an out-of-the-way and nearly deserted hanger. Thea is separated from the other passengers — including the boys — who are taken to another site. She soon discovers that this was, in part, orchestrated by an Italian mob boss she’d tangled with before in a roundabout way of hiring Quantum International Security and getting them to adhere to a very strict deadline (I’m oversimplifying, obviously, but that’s the essence).

Both the hijacking and the task set before them put Thea, Rif and the rest of the company right in the middle of overlapping schemes involving secret armies that have been active since the end of World War II. These were originally set up to be the core of the resistance against Communist invasion, but in the intervening decades may have evolved into something else. Something scary.

Howe nails the interweaving storylines — there’s the hijacking story, and the plight of the passengers who aren’t Thea; there’s the tasks that the hijackers impose on Thea for their safe return; there’s whatever else the Italian mob is up to; there’s an Austrian secret army set out to attack a threat they perceive as more dire than the Communists they were set up to fight; and there’s one person who is out to stop the Austrians. These are all grounded by some good interpersonal stories and moments. The plotting and pacing are tight and believable. Howe will suck you in and keep you turning the pages.

Howe can write action scenes that stack up with the best. The events on the plane were dynamite — I knew Thea would make it, but I could’ve believed just about anything else would happen. Also, it’s going to be awhile before I think of those locked cabin doors in the same positive way we’re supposed to. There’s some great combat scenes, a few action scenes that might as well be on a movie screen.

My complaints are pretty minor, really. I thought a lot of the emotional motivations for behaviors were a tad shallow or rushed, all of them were valid and honest to the characters — I just think they could’ve been written better. It’s tough to pick out examples without entering spoiler territory. So let me vaguely mention that the level of hate spouted by the head of the Austrian group, and the way he expressed it, sounds more like a guy spouting off on Twitter than a very successful businessman who is charismatic enough to get many to commit to a cause. The growing/evolving relationship between Thea and Rif continues the path begun in The Freedom Broker. and Howe could’ve been more subtle and less repetitive showing that. I do enjoy watching this — and figure I will over a few books.

I enjoyed this ride — it had the requisite twists and turns, exciting, tense, well-paced — everything you want in a thriller. It ticked off just about every box you want in a thriller. Yes, it was lacking that certain je ne sais quoi that kicks it up into the “I’m excited to read” level, but I’m pleased I did and will keep my eyes peeled for Thea Paris #3.

—–

3 Stars

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Quercus Books via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.
N.B.: As this was an ARC, any quotations above may be changed in the published work — I will endeavor to verify them as soon as possible.

Book Blitz: Blood and Roses by Jordan Petrarca

 

Organized Crime Fantasy
Date Published:  June 2017
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Seven organized crime Families, known as the Seven Blessed Families, rule the World of Exodus and its people with the use of their mysterious magical artifacts, called Relics. Relics give powers to the Blessed members of the Families, and they use those powers for corruption and control of everything in Exodus.
Maretto Rose, the patriarch of the Rose Family, celebrates his 50th birthday by attending a performance at the Grand Theater with three of his four sons. The theater is attacked by the heir of the Cicello Family, Zasso Cicello. His mission is to abduct Maretto, but it fails when Maretto’s son, Georgiano, fights Zasso to protect his father and family. Georgiano is ultimately slain and Zasso flees and goes into hiding. Now, the Rose Family must find where Zasso is hiding. They want answers. Who gave him the order for the attack, and what do they want with Maretto Rose? And most of all, they want revenge…But who could it be? A leader of a rival Family? Or someone or something else more powerful than they could imagine?
Meanwhile, Maretto’s youngest son, Ric, must battle his demons and addictions in order to become a Blessed member of the Family and become the man he was destined to be, before he ends up being another dead junky on the street.
So, sit back and enjoy the ride, because in Exodus, gangsters make the world go round.
Praise for Blood and Roses:
“When I first started reading I thought this was going to be a typical gangster story, and in a lot of ways it was. However, the addition of magical relics, giving the family members magical powers, gives a wonderful twist to the story. The use of modern day technology, including flying cars, adds even more to the unexpected quality of the story. I especially love the scenes where they use magic for a variety of attacks and defences.
 
 
 
The plot, which at first, seemed to be very straight forward, was twisted out of shape by the inclusion of not just one, but several different players. This kept me guessing to the very end of the story about what was happening. Even at the end there are questions left unanswered, leading nicely to the next novel in the series, which I’m dying to read.” -Emie Cuevas, OnlineBookClub.com
Excerpt
So far, it had been the perfect birthday for Don Maretto Rose.  Well, maybe not perfect.  His youngest son was not present for the celebration, and it hurt the powerful man very much on the inside.  But it was still as close as it was going to get to being perfect.
But sometimes, when you least expect it, the unexpected happens…And everything goes to hell.
Outside the Grand Theater, two black extended SUVs came flying from around a nearby skyscraper and hovered towards the ground.  They landed on the street directly in front of the red-carpeted entranceway.  As soon as they were grounded, the doors on each SUV flew open, and gangsters came pouring out like water from a spout.  One of the Rose Family guards and two theater security went into immediate action to stop the unwanted guests from entering the theater.  An array of other guards and security lined the stairs and main entrance.
            Now, a lot of the gangsters spilling out of the cars looked pretty much the same, dressed in regular black suits and fedoras, but there were two in particular that were dressed a little nicer and a little weirder.  They both took their good ole time striding towards the main guard as the other gangsters filed behind them.  The one in front was tall and lanky, wearing a royal blue suit with a matching necktie and white dress shirt.  He bore a blue fedora over his silvery black hair that hung down to his cheeks.  His eyes matched his hair, and his face was thin like his body.  He was draped in gold jewelry around his neck and had gemmed rings on almost every finger.  The pride in his walk signified that he was a man of importance.  And he was.  The man was none other than Zasso Cicello, son of Don Xanose Cicello.
            Walking closely behind, was a shorter man dressed in a shiny silver suit and black dress shirt.  His face was round but came to a point at his chin, and he bore a pair of sunglasses that could be mistaken for a couple of round mirrors.  His long and thin hair was shoulder length and was black with a bluish tint.  He, also, had a certain pride to his walk.  And that’s because he was Zasso’s personal protector and assassin, Razo Malvagio.
            As Zasso and Razo approached the main guard, he put up a hand to signal them to stop and said, “I’m sorry gentlemen, but this is a private viewing and you need to show credentials to enter the theater.”
            In the blink of an eye, Razo came whirling around Zasso, holding a pistol-gripped sawed-off shotgun.  It was pointed directly at the guard, and Razo didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.  There was a loud burst, and then the guard’s hand exploded clean off his arm, along with half of his face.  His limp body collapsed on the red carpet.  A puddle of blood formed underneath the other half of his face.
            “There are my credentials,” Zasso said to the corpse.
            The two theater security guards reached for their firearms, but Zasso was too quick for them.  Like a gunslinger, he drew a small pistol from his waist and fired multiple shots.  Blood burst out of their chests, and they perished before they even touched their guns.  Zasso and Razo continued on, with their entourage following behind.
            The Rose Family guards and theater security wasted no time opening fire at the oncoming murderers.  They fired numerous times whether it was with a handgun or semiautomatic rifle.  But it was to no success.  Upon the masquerade of bullet-fire, Zasso raised a hand and magically constructed a transparent yellow force field that deflected the bullets.  Then, all hell broke loose.
            Zasso’s gangsters came storming around him and returned fire upon the guards and security.  Zasso and Razo went on the offensive as well with their short-arm weapons.  Blood started spilling, and bodies were falling everywhere.  When Zasso reached the bottom of the stairs, he extended his left hand and bolts of electricity spewed from his fingertips in the direction of his targets.  And at the same time, he kept on firing shots out of his pistol with his right hand.  His targets were electrocuted and blown away by bullets at the same time.  Zasso was Blessedwith magical powers by his Family’s Relic, which made him a very dangerous killer.
            While a few of his men were taken down, Zasso and Razo came away from the chaotic scene unscathed.  The Rose Family guards and theater security were all dead.  It was now time for them to enter the premises of the theater and accomplish what they came here to do.

 

About the Author

Jordan Petrarca lives in Erie, Pennsylvania with his wife and twin girls. “Blood and Roses” was inspired by his love for fantasy and organized crime stories.

 

 
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