“If you hide in hell, nobody’ll come calling.”
This quote is extremely apt. An American fraudster on the run picks Belgrade, Serbia, 1996 to duck down in. The country is post war; shot through with lawlessness and crime gangs. He nervously allies himself to Roko’s gang and marries Roko’s beautiful sister; running a restaurant and trying to stay out of the slime of his brother-in-law’s business.
Snapshots of the gang characters are excellent; brutal but riddled with bursts of dark humour. Youngblood has Uzi prose, a unique terse style that suits the tale of almost casual death and destruction. The fact that his sentences are often fragmented does not detract from the lethal flow.
No spoilers, but the restaurant business doesn’t go well, and neither does the tranquility of its manager! It is probably just as well that this is a novella – 80-odd pages – or the pace would give the less robust reader a coronary. I have never bought a novella in my life, and I am often disappointed by short stories as I like the backgrounds as veggies to the meat of the story, but while I don’t see this on paper on its own, it suits the eBook perfectly.
Keep going, Shayne Youngblood, or whatever your real name is – you seem to be bound for great things.
The only thing I have a problem with is the unwieldy title, but hey, maybe Headshot, or some such, was taken…