• by

Set in Los Angeles during Prohibition, Ornelas-Tapia’s story stars antihero Adam Bosch, a womanizing millionaire who deserves the fate that will befall him. Adam has left a string of broken hearts all over LA. Then one night at the Underworld nightclub, Adam becomes ensnared by raven-haired, cold-hearted singer Antonia Seranov. To have her, Adam is willing to do anything, however humiliating. This results in Adam’s being dragged into a scheme by Antonia and her flamboyant twin, Alexei, to dethrone crime lord Samuel Dawson. Also tangled up in this plot are a violent police commissioner, a would-be detective, a dirty cop, and a couple of honest police officers. All of them end up having to take sides in the showdown. There’s even a secretive kingpin behind the scenes manipulating everyone. Adam gets dragged along by Alexei as the twin creates mayhem throughout the city. Then Adam finds himself in a life-or-death battle with the police commissioner, a former boxer. Adam is one of the lucky ones, as others get killed or forced out of town. In the end, he gets his moment with Antonia, but was that worth all he had been through and the dissipation of his already sketchy character? This novella is the first volume in the author’s Void Universe series. He does a wonderful job of establishing the vibrant backdrop for this saga. He briskly introduces the sights and people of this shadowy world. The flip side of that is, other than Adam, none of the characters are very well developed, with several promising ones disappearing early on. Worse yet, few of the players who remain are likable, least of all Adam. This leaves readers with no one to become invested in. Which raises a question: Why will the audience care how this internecine conflict turns out? Still, this story offers a tantalizing taste of the series’ potential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *