Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: For Nothing (An Upstate New York Mafia Tale #1)

For Nothing (An Upstate New York Mafia Tale #1)
For Nothing (An Upstate New York Mafia Tale #1)
by Nicholas Denmon
Smashswords, Amazon

Published May 14th 2011 by D-Rated Novelists 
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Undercover cop Alex Vaughn goes deeper than ever into the organized crime family of Buffalo, NY. Motivated by justice and revenge, he seeks out the assassin that laid his friend Jack low.

Professional killer Rafael Rontego traverses the deadly politics of Buffalo’s mafia underbelly. In a city whose winter can be just as deadly as those wielding power, Rontego tries to stay ahead of the game.

Their two worlds collide in this epic thriller that takes the reader on a search for self, justice, and truth.


I felt this novel started very slowly, as how much could you truly devote to a person being shot? But it sped up after the first chapter. Ah. I get it. This is a movie, on paper. Once I settled into this frame of mind, the rest of the story flowed easily. 

As I was halfway through the book, I had to reach out to the author to clarify something that disturbed me: I needed to know if he made Rafael seem more like the hero rather than the antagonist. 

I found myself loving Rafael, the bad guy who was an assassin. Worse, I found that I wanted him to win and that I was actually rooting for him to escape Alex. I want to skim towards the end but stopped myself. So, point blank, I asked author Nicholas Denmon if he did this on purpose. His answer was: yes. Well there you go. No wonder I loved this character more than Alex.

I recall having this same reaction the first time I read Dracula by Bram Stoker. I keep seeing Rafael as that ultimate vampire: cold, supposedly without emotion and efficiently, ruthlessly deadly. He's like The Jackal, but with a tad more emotion and a yearning to be normal.  Yet, I just love him and his guns. Love those guns - and those brains!

Alex is an atypical underdog, torn between his desire for vengeance and his conscience to do right. Although, I could have kicked him at times, especially when he possibly endangered his family and fellow undercover agent Ryan. I mean, if someone could be trailing you, why in heaven's name would you go home or to your safe house?!

The writing style, for a mystery-thriller, was incredibly easy on the eyes and exhausted brain cells and would actually make for an exciting but relaxing read. I usually put down heavier books, as I considered this to be, and pick up some fluffs in between and then go back.  Here, I did the same but was too curious and anxious to find out what would happen next and I soooo wanted Alex not to succeed, that I only did that once. I know, I know, I should not I should not root for the antagonist but I did and am not apologetic in the least. This may be a twist in my psyche that I end up rooting for the bad guy rather than the good.

I won't go through the details of the rest of the story as that will ruin the thrill for everybody else who has not read this incredible book. All I can say is that when I reached the end, I had this goofy self-satisfied-smile and yelled out "YES! I knew it!" That end was just the perfect prelude for the next installment of the series.


Written in collaboration with Ramona.

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