A Bullet for Carlos
Book 1, Blood Flows South - Blood Flows South, Book 1
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Detective Connie Giannelli's life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.
Connie’s love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she’s not worried about them finding the missing drugs—her secrets could prove to be far worse.
Now Connie’s racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs—dirty cops or Uncle Dominic’s friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.
Well-Crafted and Compelling
With A Bullet for Carlos, Jim Giammatteo begins a promising series of crime novels featuring Brooklyn cop Connie Gianelli.
Connie has a starkly divided life. A single woman with a job that leaves her no time for a social life, she lives alone with her cat Hotshot, rescued from a crack house. She frets over her loneliness and yearns to marry and raise children. The trouble is, she's committed to being a cop, a career she chose because of her uncle, mobster Dominic Mangini. She loves him but detests what he does. Both her parents are dead; Dominic is like her father. He has impressed on her the importance of family. "La famiglia é tutto," he tells her. Family is everything.
Her job places them both in a difficult position. Connie's fellow cops assume she's dirty because of her family associations. She isn't, but her integrity is always in question. She understands that as a cop there is a line she cannot cross. But what happens if she comes up against that line? Will she do her job or remain loyal to her family? For obvious reasons, Dominic wishes she would leave the police. Since she refuses, he does what it takes to protect her.
As the story begins, Connie and two other cops are ambushed during a drug buy. They have no backup. Previous buys have been sabotaged by leaks from the department, so plans for this one are closely guarded. But the dealers know about it anyway. Connie finds herself trapped in an alley, outgunned, with two dead partners. She can either call for help or die. She knows the police won't arrive in time, so she calls Dominic. He sends a lieutenant with men who kill the dealers and recover the cash the cops have brought to the buy. But no drugs are found. Maybe the mobsters took them - although Dominic forbade it - or maybe the dealers never brought any drugs since they planned an ambush. Anyway, suspicion falls on Connie. Questions arise about how she survived the ambush. To clear her name, she must uncover the real leak. That means investigating the Mexican cartel running the drugs. Both her superiors and Dominic order her to leave the cartel to them, but under the pretense of investigating a cold murder case, she travels to Texas, where she tracks a sadistic serial killer and faces the ruthless cartel leader who wants her dead.
The intricate plot converges neatly without feeling contrived. Giammatteo moves skillfully between Connie's first-person account and omniscient third-person narration. Connie's compelling voice centers the story on her. She's a wonderful character - sensitive, tough, and honest with herself. When she begins working with flamboyant Texas cop Tip Denton, readers might expect the conventional romance to blossom, but Giammatteo gives them something truer. A friendship based on affection and respect.
The story contains some profanity and violence. It would hardly be realistic otherwise. If you enjoy hard-edged crime fiction, A Bullet for Carlos will keep you riveted.
I liked A Bullet for Carlos
This story took off on a dead run and just kept going. The plots were varied and the conclusion was not easily predictable. I like this author a lot!