A Change In Crime

In November of 1929, the last autumn leaves started a domino effect in Fall River. At a time when most give thanks, others lurk at society’s fringes, waiting for a shot at revenge. Power. Redemption. A Mafia hit leaves Leo Riley homeless and at the mercy of Oguina, a powerful monster under an ancient curse. A hunter with skin in this game stalks the streets, playing cat-and-mouse with the creatures he’s sworn to eliminate. The capo di tutti capi with a secret gazes into a moral abyss, threatening to take his men with him if he falls. All struggle to hold on to humanity. Unlikely allies join forces, fighting for their rights to Fall River’s streets and their very survival. Some will fall, some will rise, but can there ever be a winner when crime and change come to call?


Alternative History Supernatural Thriller

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 9

With its warm, rich colors and carefully placed script, the cover of the e-book is quite unique and fitting.  The imagery and placement of the flashlight, gun, syringe and other items create an air of mystery but also an eerie foreboding.  The thought of characters standing up to nefarious cretins comes to mind.  Overall, the entire layout works nicely and definitely ties in with the content of the book.

Book Blurb Score: 9

The blurb offers just enough clues about the story to stir the reader's imagination.  How did Leo become entangled with the evil-doer who is after him?  How does the story develop as Leo and Oguina build a team together?  How on earth did the monstrous creatures come into being?  

The mafia angle could catch one off-guard.  It's interesting to see real-world organized crime and gritty violence be tied into the supernatural world of evil entities.  If this type of genre appeals to a reader, then the blurb just may be enough to lure one in.

Formatting Score: 7

From chapter to chapter, the formatting is nice.  At certain points, the page breaks could be at a different point in the text.  The font that is used is lovely and not hard on the eyes.  For the most part, the text wraps itself nicely.  

Grammar & Spelling Score: 10

From the very moment you set your gaze to the opening line until the end of the book,  the grammar and spelling are very good.  The cheeky phrases uttered by certain characters are memorable.  There is also a sprinkling of puns that are eye-catching.  The use of language throughout is handled well and with real thought.

Plot & Structure Score: 8

At the inception, the book seems to center around Leo, who is desperately on the run from two minions of mafia boss, Giacomo Bianco.  The minions, Jimmy and Niccolo, are willing to do any treacherous thing to stay in the good graces of Bianco.  Before long, Leo finds himself burned out of his home and in touch with a mysterious woman named Oguina.   Later,  the unlikely pair encounters a shadowy figure named Bersi who pushes both Oguina and Leo toward using their supernatural powers to takedown Bianco and all his goons in the city of Fall River.

Leo gains confidence to fight as Oguina teaches him about their unique abilties.  The 'Changed' can shape-shift into an animal to move among the bad guys undetected.  Their physical power is far greater than that of a human man if they feed on the living regularly.   Oguina even sneaks into a brothel in the form of an owl to look around the nightly hang-out of Bianco's hitmen.   

Along the way,  the trio of Oguina, Leo and Bersi meet a woman named Pearl.  Pearl has a long, personal history with a sadistic monster named Daniel.   To everyone's surprise, Pearl will prove to be missing link who plays a critical role when chaos erupts.  On one side, there are those looking to avenge what was done against Leo as well as protect the innocent people of Fall River.   On the opposite side, there are the immoral followers of Daniel and Bianco.  The question becomes which group can develop and execute the better strategy.  Although the story is a bit choppy at times, it does a few notable twists here and there that make up for this.

Character Development Score: 7

Although there are some interesting, action-filled moments throughout the book,  several of the characters could use a more robust backstory.  Leo does learn some lessons and become more brave.  However, the majority of the characters appear and seem to remain basically the same overall as the story unfolds.  Although it is nice to see Howard debate himself over how to address the growing problems in Fall River as his sister, Pearl, is caught in the web.

Originality Score: 6

The never-ending battle between good and evil forces, even when those forces are both trapped between the living and dead, is highlighted in the book.  This premise has been used in many stories, of course.  It's also a tale of self-growth and getting revenge on the ones who viciously attacked you.  Perhaps it's not the most original idea, but the sharp dialogue between Oguina and friends as well as the crew's dedication to their many stealth mission is endearing.

Pacing Score: 6

The forward movement of the action does not really take-off until the point when a cruel-minded figure corners Oguina and injects her with a substance that incapacitates her.  Leo and Bersi work toward figuring out a sure-fire way to resuscitate her.  Who wanted to cause her harm?  Had someone blown her cover?  Did Jimmy tell Bianco about her true identity?

Prior to this point, the action was at a steady pace but also a bit slow and redundant.  After this point,  the action taking place among member of each faction quickened.  And they all started to collide.

Use of Language Score: 9

The use of language is quite beautiful.  Each character develops a distinct personality based on the way he or she expresses self when speaking.  There is note-worthy use of descriptive language that sets the tone of the immediate environment the character find themselves in.  All of the paragraphs flow well from one to another as we learn which scheme the trio will attempt after plotting in the wilderness.  The wording is more than enough to help the reader create a strong mental picture while going on the journey with Leo and crew.

Overall Readability Score: 8

In spite a few choppy passages, the overall book is easy-to-read.   It starts as a book about a corrupt mafia boss who hypocritically attends Mass and confession and the prey, Leo, that he wants destroyed.  It winds up being about something quite surreal.  It is full of drama and fighting that will surely raise eyebrows.  The heroine who aids in the battle at the climax will pleasantly surprise the reader.  Read it, and just try to guess who will prevail.

This book received a critic's score of 79 out of 100 possible points.

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