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Gojan Nikolich
Ashes in Venice: A Vengeance Thriller
A psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution. Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he's asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen. While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman gets reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son. Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is also unaware that the quirky murderer might also be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma. Add the brooding backdrop of Venice, Italy...and a vengeful killer who reads Shakespeare, and you have a teasing psychological thriller where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade. Yes, there are spiders.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: This is a well-written plot that takes readers on an adventure at the edge of their seats. Nikolich has created a hauntingly clever story in which no one can truly claim the title of hero or villain.

Prose: Fast-paced and intricately detailed, Nikolich writes to appeal to all five senses using only words.

Originality: In the long history of crime novels, some common themes inevitably crossover into this story, but the choice of setting, character development, and twists reflect Nikolich's own unique fingerprint.

Character Development/Execution: A good character can pull a story along even in the dry spots. A great character is memorable long after the last page. Nikolich produces characters worthy of their own prologue.

Date Submitted: August 24, 2022