Genre: Psychological Thriller
Jude is drawn once again into the shady underworld of Harlem when an old boss is murdered and the shift of power in the mob begins.
Jude Walker stumbles across more trouble than he bargained for after helping a young woman escape a potential stalker in the grocery store. His troubled past boils to the surface, setting his two opposites against each other. The one that wants to do the right thing, and the other that craves to hurt, to kill.
Just when he thought he was out, Jude is pulled back in… Token, Jude’s past ‘handler’ gives hired guns assignments that the police just cannot handle in Harlem.
Jude returns to the sordid underworld of villains when his old boss and warlord Constantine Benvolio is murdered, and a formidable nemesis Gaia takes the reins. Gaia sends a sinister message to Jude, leaving Jude no choice but enter back into a world that pulls people in and spits them back out in little pieces.
Jude may have met his match as each assignment keeps pitting him against this masked target that effectively eliminates his own targets by learning their weaknesses and habits, and using it against them.
Jude teams up with an unlikely ally to protect those that he cares for, and to beat the enemy that outsmarts them at every turn. Sacrificing almost everything to atone for his mistakes, and coming face-to-face with a reality he can no longer escape from.
What are my thoughts on this twisted thriller?
Jude is a troubled and conflicted man with a knight-in-shining armour vibe about him; and a darker side that many do not recognize. Once a killer, influenced by his mum’s violent past, sets Jude in a disturbing world that he tries to escape from, yet cannot quite get away. His past haunts his footsteps, terrified of turning into someone he hates, yet his actions kept pushing him in that direction.
His psychological state is on the brink. A constant voice inside his head provides a dark insight to the mind of the character.
A character that tetters on the edge of good and bad, as the protagonist, he is far from innocent. Despite that, I was rooting for him. He wants to stay away from this violent world, at the same time he knows he is good at it, and with the taunting of Gaia, he cannot turn his back. He has to return to his old self.
Gaia is a deranged killer with an almost comical aspect to him, yet sinister at the same time referring to himself as ‘we’. A diabolical and enticing character, reminding me of the Joker. He is part villain, part avenger on the criminals. There is something delightfully psychopathic about the way he conducts himself. He is considered a freak and underestimated, much to his enemies’ detriment. He outplays them and outwits due to them thinking he is not as capable as him.
Gaia has an axe to grind with Jude. Willing to do anything to get to the top, and armed with the ability to destroy anyone in his path. However, the more power he gains, the more unhinged and unpredictable he becomes. His inner voices and demons becoming louder and stronger, until they are no longer distinct voices, but shape into one.
Sylvia, the cop that originally arrested Jude is shaken up when encountering Jude after an attempted attack. Unable to give up on the case, and believing Jude has committed more crimes than what they got him for, she begins to dig deeper.
A cat and mouse game is afoot. Jude has to figure who this Gaia really is and his true motives, while attempting to filter out the people that could potentially betray him. The story delves into the two mind sets of the protagonist and antagonist, showing you why they developed into the people they are, and how far they will go.
A colourful array of characters with hitman, enforcers, godfathers, detectives, Falcone, and Hell’s Kitchen. A story of the backstabbing world of building power in Harlem. The protagonist and antagonist share the limelight equally, both characters enhance the story, driving the suspense to uncover true motives.
What is the motive of Gaia? Is Jude being sent into a trap? The action and suspense build with Jude gradually unearthing the truth, and once again having to face his old demons that threaten to be his downfall.
This story was unexpectedly compelling. Characters were well-built, scenes realistic, not over-the-top violence, yet just enough to make you realize how bad it can get. And the ending… Well, I loved it. The author subtly planted clues throughout, yet the grand reveal was not quite expected until the final moment.
This may not be a MCU movie; however, this book ticks all the boxes for action, psychological thriller and suspense.
This episode will also be available on Spotify on the 23rd at 8pm. https://anchor.fm/sharlene-almond