Tuesday, 27 August 2019

A.G. PASQUELLA - CARVE THE HEART (2019)


Synopsis/blurb.....

Ex-con Jack Palace returns in a world of violence, heartbreak, and revenge.

Cassandra, the woman who broke Jack Palace’s heart, is suddenly back in his life. She owes $600,000 to a brutal gangster who has threatened her life, and she needs Jack’s help. Meanwhile, Melody, Jack’s new girlfriend, has set a dangerous plan of her own in motion. Things start to get violent when Cassandra suddenly disappears … but not everyone believes Cassandra is in danger. Is Jack being set up?

Bikers, mobsters, and strippers collide as Jack storms the mean streets of Toronto searching for Cassandra. To find her, he must rip open old wounds and confront new enemies. But as loyalties falter and secrets are revealed, Jack begins to wonder who he can really trust. If he doesn’t figure it out fast, he — and everyone he cares about — could end up dead.

Another new-to-me author, A.G. Pasquella with the second in his Jack Palace series - Carve the Heart. The first Yard Dog sits on the pile.

A Toronto setting, our main man - a security consultant of sorts - Jack Palace, a damsel in distress, a situation somewhat complicated by her being an ex-girlfriend, a $600k tab, an impatient benefactor, high stakes poker, a kooky stripper girlfriend, a few kilos of coke, a hitman or two, shadows from the past (fall-out from book one?) and some ageing bikers with dreams of the glory days.

All the elements present that make up the kind of books I enjoy. Not a policeman in sight, a conflict between two parties with a negotiated settlement unlikely. Sex, untrustworthy relationships, rip-offs, night clubs, friendships, loyalty, career opportunities hatched on a contempt for family, wistful looks back at happier times, love, regret, abandonment, loss, danger, a sense of duty and protectionism, drugs, a sideshow gunfight and a violent outcome.

I liked the main character, Jack. He has a sense of loyalty towards the two women in his life - the ex from the past with an urgent problem to be fixed and the current beau. Neither of them seemed particularly worthy of his efforts. Gallantry doesn't always get its true reward.


Overall I enjoyed it but might have been better served by reading the earlier book in the series first. There are elements and events which are a consequence of Yard Dog.

4 from 5

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 277
Source - Net Galley, courtesy of publisher Dundurn Press
Format - ePub file read on laptop

4 comments:

  1. I like the setting already, Col. And that's an interesting setup for the story, too. And, no, it doesn't always pay to be gallant. Still, Jack sounds like a good character and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

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    1. Thanks Margot. I did like the story here.

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  2. Sounds good -- and the Toronto setting is a big plus! (Far too long since I've last been to one of my all-time favorite cities.)

    Pasquella looks amazingly jolly for a writer of hard-hitting, gritty, violent thrillers, doesn't he?

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    1. I can't recall anything else I have read with Toronto as a back-drop. He does look quite chirpy..... he's probably got someone chained to a wall in the garage!

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