Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick Review: Blood on Blood - Frank Zafiro & Jim Wilsky

Two brothers, one girl. Sounds like trouble?

Okay, now throw in some diamonds and a handful of mafiosi, a lot of muscle and a bunch of guns. And that’s just the start.

Half-brothers Mick and Jerzy don’t have a lot in common. Mick is an ex-cop, a tainted hero looking for redemption. Jerzy is a career criminal with some bad friends and worse enemies. Thrown into the middle of a turf war, he needs a way out of Chicago – with the enigmatic Ania in tow.

About the only thing that connects them is their father, and before he breathes his last in a prison hospital, he leaves them one last gift: a coded clue to the whereabouts of diamonds that went missing after a heist he was involved in years ago.

But just recounting the plot doesn’t do justice to the breathless action of Blood on Blood. You know the old writer’s saying: start with the protagonist in trouble and then heap on the grief. That’s exactly what happens as things start bad and rumble downhill like a runaway train. The twists and turns are many, but clear and credible. This thriller never gets beyond itself, but stays close and personal; a gritty, claustrophobic read that grips and doesn’t let go.

I especially liked the way the two authors handle a dual (and dueling) 1st person perspective. As the chapters flip between brothers, the twin viewpoints reveal their flaws, their egos, their mistakes, overreactions and underplayed hands. It’s cleverly done so that two voices add up to more than the sum of their parts. It’s at least as interesting for this as for the intense action and emotion that is given to the two main parties: both of which are compelling, believable and rounded. With the mysterious Ania bouncing between them and throwing around red herrings like feeding time at the penguin pool, and it’s a great little cast.

The close atmosphere of noir, with the pace and page-turnability (?) of an A-list thriller. Another good read from Snubnose Press.


  1. Christopher,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read our book and write this up. I'm thrilled you liked it. Really appreciate the kind words. Queen of Diamonds, #2 in this three book series is right around the corner.

    Best, Jim

  2. Christopher,
    Nice review of a good book.
    Love your blog, would like to shoot you an e-mail but can't seem to access it from your profile. Any chance you could send it to me at andrewnette@gmail.com?