Pigeon Blood Red follows a number of characters who all end up entertained with each other. In this story, Robert, an alcoholic gambler owes money to gangster Litvak. When Robert is taken by one of Litvak’s hitmen, Rico, Robert ends up stealing a ruby necklace and fleeing Chicago to Hawaii with his wife and her friend Rachel to avoid being killed as Litvak scrambles to get it back.
I can’t say I loved this one. Pigeon Blood Red felt to me like a gangster action movie. A lot of action for the sake of action, with little backstory. When reading a book, I expect to understand the characters, their backstories, and their emotions, and I felt like I didn’t get that here. The book opens up to immediate action, which when done well can be effective, but here it felt like I walked into a sequel. I felt like I should already know the characters and what was happening, but I didn’t. Some backstory did eventually come, but was in the last 10% of the book, which felt like odd placement. Additionally, there were a few chapters of explanation that could have come sooner. For example, they continue to talk about this stolen necklace, but not where it came from or how they got it. Then in the last 15% of the book there’s a chapter that explains where they got it, and a separate chapter explaining who owned the necklace. By that point, it felt really random and unnecessary and broke flow of the rest of the story.
I also didn’t like almost every character in the book. It’s basically bad guy vs. bad guy. I was rooting for no one. Halfway through the book the perspective switches and instead of being told through Robert and Rico’s point of views, we now also see things from Robert’s wife Evelyn’s point of view. She was one of the few characters I didn’t mind, and that’s only because she wasn’t caught up in Robert’s shady dealings.
Lastly, the blurb on the back of the book states “As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?”, however this is literally the last 10% of the book, which felt a little weird because throughout the story I was waiting for that to happen, and it didn’t until the book was almost completely over.
What I did like about the book was that it was fast paced. I moved through it really quickly and read it in two sittings. Living in Chicago, I also loved the scenes that were set in Chicago, because it’s always a fun feeling to know the places being referenced in books!
All in all, if you’re looking for a book that reads like an action movie with a lot of gangster action, this may be a good choice for you. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the right reader for this book and it just wasn’t for me.
I voluntarily received an ARC of Pigeon Blood Red from the publisher, and appreciate the opportunity to provide an honest review.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you read Pigeon Blood Red? What did you think?