Richard “Rico” Sanders, a hit man from Chicago sets off for a normal job. He must recover a pigeon blood red ruby necklace from a double-crosser and teach him a lesson. When Rico follows his target from his hometown to sunny Honolulu, some bystanders get embroiled into the situation and soon mayhem ensues. Rico is faced with a decision: does he follow his order and kill all those involved (even if they are innocent) or does he refuse and endanger the woman he loves?
Pigeon Blood Red, a gangster style thriller from Ed Duncan, was something completely outside of my comfort zone. I don’t usually read military or gangster style thrillers so I was excited to step outside of my box and see what this one had to offer.
The novel opens in the midst of the action. Robert is down on his luck, an alcoholic and gambling addict, he’s racked up quite the hefty bill with gangster Frank Litvak. Robert, struggling to figure out a way to bide time, and come up with the money he owes before he’s taken out by Litvak’s henchman, Rico, steals a necklace from home and flees to Honolulu with his wife. This is all within the first five chapters!
Although the idea was great and the plot had strong points, I struggled with the execution. So much happens and it is very character centered. However, we are not provided with much backstory or previous information to how these characters connect or what they are about. I found it very hard to keep characters straight or root for anyone. The novel is narrated in the third person, which I also felt added a bit of strain to the plot; if we are not given any back story and the characters are not given narrative voice to explain their motivations, it leaves the reader responsible for making these connections and, I, personally, was not able to.
That being said, this novel was very fast paced. I read it easily in a couple of sittings and it read like a movie. I could certainly see it being well received on screen.
I think that lovers of gangster style novels would welcome this novel into their repertoire or if connecting with characters are not important to you, you may enjoy this one! I gave it a 3/5 stars on Goodreads.