Today I'm thrilled to be writing my first review as part for the Partners in Crime Blog Tour Team. I love crime fiction (suspense, thriller, cozy, etc), so I was really excited to read Peter Leonard's novel All He Saw was the Girl.
But before I get into my review, I'd like to share the author's biography.
Before I get into my review of this book, I'd like to share the synopsis and then an excerpt from the book.
Rome: McCabe and Chip, two American exchange students, are about to become embroiled with a violent street gang, a beautiful Italian girl and a flawed kidnapping plan.Detroit: Sharon Vanelli's affair with Joey Palermo, a Mafia enforcer, is about to be discovered by her husband, Ray, a secret service agent.Brilliantly plotted and shot through with wry humour, All He Saw Was the Girl takes place as these two narratives converge in the backstreets of Italy's oldest city. A thrilling ride, it once again displays Peter Leonard's genius for exploring the wrong turns that life can take.Peter Leonard's growing fan base includes greats such as Carl Hiaasen ('great storytelling') and Michael Connelly ('clever plotting and blood and guts characters'), and publications as diverse as Uncut ('sensational'), the Daily Mirror ('stunning') and the Big Issue ('brilliantly snappy').
And now for an excerpt,
Sharon was thinking, who was this guy lived in a five-thousand-square-foot house – not that his taste was any good – on Lake St. Clair, had nothing but leisure time or so it seemed?
He called her four, five times a day, said, “How you doing?”
And Sharon would say, “Same as I was when you called fifteen minutes ago.”
“Baby, I miss you. Tell them you’re sick, we’ll go to the casino.” Or he’d be at the track or a Tigers day game, he’d say, “I gotta see you. Take the afternoon off, I’ll send a car.”
They’d take his boat out on Lake St. Clair and she’d sunbathe topless. Something she’d never done in her life and never imagined herself doing. She felt invigorated, liberated. He always told her she looked good, complimented her outfit. Showered her with gifts, bought her clothes and jewelry. She felt like a teenager again. They’d meet and talk and touch each other and kiss. She was happy for the first time in years. She had to be careful. Ray, the next time he came home, might notice something and get suspicious.Why’re you so happy? she could hear him saying – like there was something wrong with it.
But this relationship with Joey also made her nervous. Things were happening too fast. She was falling for him and she barely knew him, and she was married.
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Disclaimers: I received an electronic form of this book for review in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review and did not receive any compensation for writing this review.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First of all, I love Italy, and so the second I heard this took place in Rome, I knew I had to read this one. Plus the mafia is involved...come on...how can you not read this one?
Leonard exceeded my expectations in every manner possible. I was stunned by the depth in the plot, the characters, and in the writing style. His writing was compelling, intriguing, and never boring. He masterfully weaved several different story arcs together into one action-packed novel that had my heart racing. Beautiful prose to say the least.
As for the characters, they were all so brilliantly crafted. Often when I read suspense, I feel like the characters are flat. This was not the case with this novel. Every single one of these characters (and no I'm not exaggerating) left me impressed. I absolutely adored McCabe and Angela in particular. Their interactions were amusing, thrilling, and had me frantically turning pages to see how their story ended.
As for the whole Sharon, Ray, and Joey angle, I usually have no tolerance for people who cheat. However, I found myself thoroughly intrigued by their relationship and couldn't help but wonder how everything I would turn out. A girl married to a Special Service man and having an affair with a mobster. Intriguing, horrible, but thoroughly intriguing.
This novel was one of the better thriller/mystery/suspense novels I've read in a long time. Like I mentioned earlier, the writing seemed to flow so well and the plot development was brilliantly done.
In Summary: A fast read with a killer plot line that left me thoroughly entranced from the very first page to the very last. Brilliant characters...plus it takes place in Italy and involved the Mafia. What more could you ask for?
Warnings/Side-notes: Several instances of strong language, but not excessive use. Sexual references were very common. They were a little more detailed than some books I've read, but they were still not very detailed. (See the excerpt. It mentions sex like this frequently, but isn't really detailed.)
The Wrap-up: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read in a manner of hours and intrigued the entire time. Every moment of this book seemed to flow together so nicely and in a way that compelled me to keep reading. Plus, I loved the characters. At the beginning, I found the jumps between characters and the flashes to the past a little confusing. However, I quickly caught on and became swept away in the story. An intriguing read to say the least. Definitely recommended.