A Bullet For Carlos
by Giacomo Giammatteo

A Bullet for Carlos Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Giammatteo starts this new series with a blast. A drug sting goes bad and the cops go in knowing they would not have back up. Everything that can go wrong does for detective Connie Gianelli. In a moment of desperation, she makes a phone call for help.

From there on, she seems set on a path with trouble on all sides and a very narrow line to follow to survive with her reputation and life intact. She runs into trouble at work and finally has to bring the family she knows but cannot acknowledge in to rescue her.

La famiglia e tutto- Family is everything” – Dominic Mangini. This quote is the key to the whole story. Connie was raised by Maria, who everyone assumes is her mother. Only her uncles Dominic and Zeppo know the truth, and they are not talking. These are the pivotal characters when the story begins. As the trouble deepens, crimes committed come to the forefront. Connie is transferred to cold cases and meets Frankie Donovan, a hotshot homicide veteran who is investigating her case.

The characters are alive and full of very human flaws. They develop smoothly with the bumps that happen to all humans. Special circumstances awards go for Connie trying to solve some bloody, messy, rape murders crossing state lines and still trying to clear her own name. That is when the problems really begin.

Connie is a good cop with a good reputation but a poor judgment call puts that all in jeopardy. Frankie is a no-nonsense detective bound to find the truth and the missing drugs. Others come in to help and look deeper and still get the cases solved. Uncle Dominic is always in the background and he continues to “help” where he sees it making a difference. It would be better if he wasn’t a member of organized crime, a high ranking member. Connie is encouraged to follow up on a cold case that takes her out of Brooklyn and to Texas. Everyone thinks this is a good place for her to stay so the problems don’t stay in anyone’s attention, but there is a problem. Evidence keeps disappearing or misleading the investigation. Problems develop in Texas and an undercover operation going bad leads to more suspicion and more guilt for Connie to cope with.

In a climax of supreme intensity, Connie comes face-to-face with a serial murder that is more vicious then even she can imagine. The book ends well but with cliff hanging events on all sides.

The tale is appropriate for adults because of the violence and the language. As stated at the beginning of the book, this is the first in a series “Blood Flows South.” This reviewer is waiting for the next one as well as the other series Giammatteo promises with a segment to entice readers.

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