ISBN #: 978-1475159233
Page Count: 358
Copyright: July 17, 2012
What if detectives Frank Mallory and Alberto "Gunner" Gennaro were forced to play catch up with a killer who may or may not be a demon and who leaves trails of Dantesque murders, each one occurring further south in Manhattan and deeper into his version of The Inferno? How could these situations be connected? How long can the detectives stick to strict police procedural facts when confronted with increasingly bizarre events, especially once they begin invading Mallory's private life? And how does he find a balance between his rejection of the case's alleged demonic elements and his strong desire to believe his dying father's visions of long dead relatives beckoning him to heaven? When must a detective reconsider what exists outside man's law?
These are dominant concerns of City of Woe, a novel combining Ryan's personal experiences, knowledge of the family business (the NYPD), an understanding of literary classics and a love for classic rock and roll.
Detective Mallory and his partner, Gunner, are called to what they believe is a standard issue murder. They too soon find themselves wrapped up in a series of murders with a killer becoming more personal as the crimes escalate. With car chases, explosions, and possible demonic possession, Mallory fights to find the killer, alongside his partner, a shaman, and a Catholic Priest, before he becomes the next target.
This novel should be named "City of WHOA!" I found myself holding my breath, repeatedly, waiting for the story to play out. Non-stop suspense is the rule for this story, and it never wavers.
Not usually my favored genre, I whole-heartedly fell for the characters of Mallory and Gunner, and will be delighted to read any sequels to see how these characters evolve. In the midst of the action, Mr. Ryan balances the family life of Mallory perfectly, and touches on belief systems, that rather than lower the psychological impact, enhance it.
Having never read Dante's Inferno I can't say how closely this relates, but I do know the plot was flawless, as far as thrillers go. Packed with murder, paranormal activity, and occasional dry humor, Ryan never allowed the action to overshadow the characters. As the killer focuses his attacks according to his victims "degree of sin" it awakens the reader to the moral standards our country is lacking. There is just so much going on in this book, it is mind-boggling. I highly recommend that you give this book a chance. Explosive entertainment in every page. Bring on Volume 2, please!
*A physical copy of the book was provided by the author's publicist in exchange for an honest review.