Under the pretense of writing his dissertation, fearless graduate student Ian Lawrence finds himself at the center of Germany’s most savage organized crime syndicate in Devore’s debut thriller.
Lawrence, a Kansas native who once spent his time chasing after tornados, is fighting to help Germany eradicate mafias and senseless criminal brutalities with the help of legendary activist group the White Rose. On the other side of the world, his older, tax-accountant brother, James, reminisces on their childhood together. Though they have grown distant since the tragic death of their 10-year-old sister, James immediately hops a red eye to Germany upon hearing of his brother’s disappearance. Oblivious to the mess Ian has created, James barely survives the gun-slinging mobster Vlastos, who mistakes him for his brother. Instead of creating generic characters that fulfill traditional mafia roles, Devore gives each character a unique personality. A far cry from dim-witted mafia figures, Vlastos has a cold-blooded intelligence that drives his every action and comes to life with timely Shakespearean dialogues such as, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but I loved Rome more.” Despite the pure evil inherent in his character, part of the reader will undoubtedly distinguish the potential for good. On the other hand, the do-good Lawrence brothers, in their quest to dismantle organized crime, are on the cusp of engaging in criminal activities. The paradox of good and bad in all of Devore’s characters will be endearing to readers; humans are a flawed species. Moreover, the narrative boasts a distinctly cinematic impression: two daredevil brothers rekindling their relationship as they infiltrate the depths of organized crime in a foreign country. From chaos in a casino to James’ crafty escape as he stares down the barrel of a rifle, every scene is made memorable by chilling descriptions and dialogue. As the Lawrence brothers are relentlessly hunted, they shatter the barrier of morality and do what they must to survive and bring about sweeping change.
An enticing plotline, lifelike characters, high octane prose and penetrating visualizations combine to create a compelling, hair-raising story that may not be as far from reality as readers may think.