Morris's focus on character development and skillful rendering of backstories adds a level of richness to an otherwise uncomplicated plot. Ruthless cartel boss Luis brokers the seemingly routine drug deal with hired assassins Roberto and Chang, allowing his enslaved mistress, Angel, to attend, never suspecting her loyalty may not be absolute – and when the deal turns deadly, giving Angel and Chang a chance for freedom, they make off with the money and drugs, in search of a different life. While a furious Luis sets out to hunt down Angel and Chang, Jack and Grace are caught in the crosshairs of their own deadly pursuit, as they try to escape with the stolen money.
The couples are artfully depicted as two sides of the same coin: desperate, unyielding, and willing to do anything in order to outrun their misery. Readers will find themselves sympathizing with all four of the main players, even as they choose gruesome actions to survive, and no one escapes without blood on their hands. The characters are equal parts tough and clever, without coming across as superhuman, and the final confrontation will satisfy even the most astute reader. Morris sacrifices some tension for excessively lurid violence, but fans will relish the journey.
Takeaway: A character-driven road thriller with a touch of romance.
Great for fans of: Stan Parish’s Love and Theft; Lisa Lutz’s The Passenger.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A