Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: 'Enemy in Blue' by Derek Blass

'Enemy in Blue' kicks off with cameraman Max Silverman on assignment with a group of special force police officers responding to a domestic violence complaint. The house in question is that of an old Chicano -Livan Rodriguez who in the 60s was part of the Chicano Movement but is now "pretty old and beat up" living with his daughter and her husband. Things go violently wrong from the onset and turn more sinister with this particular force headed by its leader Shaver; a frightening racist character with a "violent aura" about him. Rodriguez is murdered in cold blood and his daughter brutally handled by Shaver who is unaware that Max has secretly recorded the entire incident.

As you would imagine, a series of high-action, bloody violent incidents occur to procure the USB drive from Max's hold. Many characters make a brief appearance and no longer do you start to warm up to one of them than Derek Blass puts a violent end to their existence. This makes for a good number of characters wandering in and out of the story whose safety is never guaranteed from one page to the next adding to the gripping element of this book. And gripping it was reading like a fast-paced action movie; it was vivid in detail that it made it easy to live the police chases, hear the sirens and imagine the chilling murders all from the comfort of my sofa and truly connect emotionally with all the characters.  I was spell-bound all the way to the end, unknowing that the author has saved his best for last. I adore explosive endings and Derek Blass has guaranteed that this customer is well and truly satisfied.

From the onset of this thriller, Derek Blass is keen to show alliances; Officers Martinez and Williams who met in high school both playing for the school's football team, the other between villainous Shaver and his men Tomko and Lindsey. Another is between kick-ass lawyer Cruz Marquez and stunning TV anchor Sandra who not only lived on opposite sides of the street in a poor Latino neighbourhood growing up but had also been in love with each other at some point in the past. However, what Derek Blass is keen to emphasize throughout the novel is that alliances change all the time, and you are never too sure who's on your side or when or why that may suddenly change. 

This thriller drew my attention mainly for its subject matters. It is a very well-constructed novel with all the elements in place ensuring a tight-knit, well-thought out plot. It is captivating, powerful,  extremely violent, and I would believe that some would say highly controversial. This is a novel that tells of a bunch of corrupt police officers who are racist, violent murderers who claim to be protectors of the 'people'. There is a lot of vindictive score-settling being done by men who one would think would know what the right thing to do would be. Allegiances are tested time and time again and even the reader starts to question where the line is drawn when it comes to those we care for and love. But we also find that nobody is as they seem and that in one way or another some have to fight not only for justice to be served but are faced with a bigger battle fighting the demons lurking in the shadows of their past.

The sequel 'Allegiance' is out already!

Derek Blass

For more on author Derek Blass, click HERE.

Topics you may want to further explore after reading this book: The Chicano Movement, Spic (and you'll be mighty surprised to find 'spic & span' when you read about this one!), Latino.

No comments: