This is a newly released Amazon bestseller written by my friend, Brian Drake. As his editor, I’m amazed at his transformation in his writing craft which has reached a peak in this book. I’ve known him for an year from the time when I launched my Alaskan Storm and I’m proud to witness his enormous growth as an author in this year.
The Review -
Scott Stiletto returns with a vengeance.
After the coup in Venezuela in the previous book, Scott returns to the US. A good operative died in combat and Scott has promised the operative to let his daughter know about his death. To fulfill this promise, he tracks down Shelly, the operative’s daughter, to Twin Falls, a small town in the Midwest.
The eerie look and the dark themes of this town have a classic noir feel. From the moment he arrives at this place in Page 1, everything’s grim and emotional with deep complex characters who are suffering in their own ways. The previous books in this series had a pulpy, fun feel to them but this one’s a completely different game.
Mr. Drake has evolved as a writer by leaps and bounds between the previous book and this one. The Giordana Connection is the most emotional, serious and deep story he’s ever written. Let me explain why further down in the review.
At Twin Falls, Scott finds Shelly brutally murdered months ago. Nobody, including the cops, the media, and the activists know that this victim is Shelly as all traces of her life in this town have been wiped out.
With the help of an activist, Chloe Giordana, Scott digs deeper into what really happened. With almost all cops in the town corrupt and the region stinking in the chaos of organized crime groups, nobody’s willing to talk.
A good cop helps Scott and she ends up getting traumatized and meeting her life’s end due to the corrupt forces in the town. This is one of the many character arcs in this story which is written with gut-wrenching realism.
Scott’s search for answers leads him to discover many other victims of Shelly’s killers, armed heists and plans to disrupt the status-quo of American organized crime groups. This complicated plot also involves the antagonist’s plans to take over drug and gambling operations from a dominant group.
The villain is interesting and brilliant but can’t stop Stiletto’s wrath. This antagonist is secretly a big player in organized crime with ties to the IT industry in silicon valley. Due to his old age, he uses his son, Damian, as the trigger man for his ops.
The gray character, Ben Giordana, Chloe’s father, is an openly prominent crime boss who plays a major role in the plot. Though he’s a gangster, his situation is portrayed in a very sad and sympathetic angle which is a good change in this genre. Ben’s emotional struggle is something Scott has been facing throughout the series. This creates empathy in Scott leading him to his climatic actions.
Another gray character who steals the show is Vince Six or just ‘Six”. This aged hitman who is Ben Giordana’s most trusted man goes above and beyond to fix the chaos in a diplomatic manner. I seriously need a spin-off series or at least a stand-alone book with Vince Six as the main protagonist.
All the other books in this series have Scott professionally running operations where he’s in a cold and calculated state of mind. But this book’s different as he’s emotionally driven for vengeance which leads him to make bad decisions. The real and human side of Scott is explored here where the readers get a feel of his PTSD, his fears, guilt, regrets, and hopes.
The action is good, brutal and extremely satisfying. But none of the characters who survive get a happy ending. This isn’t a fun pulpy yarn where the heroes celebrate after taking out the baddies. With the multiple intersecting plot lines and how they conclude, every character is in a sadder state of life when the story ends. And this is realistic. When a crime-vigilante incident happens in the real world, the complexities and variables involved would never give a happy ending to the survivors.
As his editor, I’m truly proud of Mr. Drake for creating this beautifully sad masterpiece. I usually laugh at the most tragic stories in fiction, but this book managed to almost make me cry at times.
If you want a vigilante, neo-noir story with deep, complex characters and real emotions, give this book a shot. Stilletto is the best cigar and 1911 loving hero.
Get it here –