"Bronx Requiem" by John Clarkson is a gritty but stylish crime story!
If, like me, you enjoy a good crime drama, you will want to check out “Bronx Requiem” by John Clarkson.
James Beck and Paco ‘Packy’ Johnson formed a bond during their respective stints in prison. Beck, who had been released a long while back was thrilled to learn Packy was finally gaining his freedom after seventeen years behind bars. But, in less than twenty-four hours after his release, Packy is murdered.
Seeking answers, Beck discovers Paco has a daughter who has gotten herself into a very bad situation. Determined to seek retribution for his friend and rescue his daughter in the process, Beck and his crew work against the cops investigating the case to discover who killed Paco.
This story is a prototype of the traditional, tried and true crime story, but has a modern hardboiled tone and stylishness to it. While the plot is original, intricate and fast paced, the characterizations are what really stand out here.
Flawed characters are always more interesting, and there are plenty of those to go around. Still, they have redeemable qualities and are easy to root for and even care about. There is plenty of action and a couple of very surprising twists to keep you interested, plus the ending is almost pure noir.
I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it to those who read thrillers, noir, hardboiled, or classic crime novels.
The death of Paco "Packy" Johnson shouldn't have surprised anyone.
Paco Johnson spent a lifetime in the system -- starting in juvie at age 10, then prison for most of his adult life. But he managed to make some real friends in prison, friends who helped him get parole, a place to stay, and plans to help him adjust to a life outside prison after seventeen years behind bars. But only seventeen hours after he was released, he was found dead -- murdered -- in the streets of the Bronx.
James Beck can't save Packy any longer -- but he can try to find out what happened to Packy, and why, and exact a measure of justice. Beck, ringleader of a tight clique of ex-cons based in Brooklyn's Red Hook section, is determined to accord Packy at least some dignity and a measure of justice. But what drove Packy out onto the streets of the Bronx his first night back? Who did he run into that hated him enough to viciously beat him before executing him, and yet left behind his wallet full of cash?
But what at first appears to be a simple, if tragic, street killing, quickly becomes something much more difficult and complex. And it will take all the skills, connections, and cunning of Beck and his team not only to learn the truth but to survive the forces they've unwittingly unleashed.