In Yoba’s debut novel, an ex-soldier who grew up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., enters a jet-set world of European fashion and drug deals.
When Montey Greene goes into up-and-coming clothing designer Alejandra Lasprilla’s boutique in Milan, he’s just looking for a gift to help smooth things over with his estranged wife back in New York. Instead, he ends up foiling an attempt to kidnap Alejandra. As a result, her father, a reputed Colombian drug kingpin, soon pressures Montey into acting as her bodyguard. Meanwhile, Alejandra’s fiance Paolo, an Italian drug enforcement official, shadows Montey and Alejandra on their travels. Throughout the novel, Montey tries to figure out who’s on his side, leading to a surprising conclusion. Although the story’s setup could make for a page-turning thriller, its action is often interrupted by unrelated asides; for example, an exciting fight scene awkwardly includes a recollection of Greene’s old friend Spider. Another section devotes several pages to describing the streets Montey drives on, slowing the story down and adding little to the plot; the novel also repeatedly reminds readers that Greene learned to be tough by growing up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. When there are hints that something is mysteriously affecting Montey’s memory, it leads to an awkward scene in which several characters stiltedly tell each other information they should already know. The novel also sometimes struggles with punctuation and grammar. Overall, although the character of Montey has possibilities, readers will likely have trouble engaging with him or his story.
A promising but awkwardly executed thriller.