Ed Duncan has surely penned a gripping tale in his title, Pigeon-Blood Red, the first title of a trilogy. After all, who would have guessed that a pouch slipping out of one man's coat pocket would set a sequence of events in motion that would result in a series of murders, largely carried out by Rico, an assassin with a conscience?Sound like a mouthful? Wait until you read the story.
First, there's Jean - a woman Rico loves and finds himself becoming more relaxed around in terms of sharing his feelings - a big feat for a man who is constantly looking over his shoulder for any danger which may be lurking. He would also go to any length to protect her from harm.
Then there's Bobby - an alcoholic and heavy gambler up to his eyeballs in debt, and his loan shark has extended all of the mercy he intends to give. When Bobby finds a pouch containing a pigeon-blood red ruby necklace, he believes he has found his ticket out - could outsmart his loan shark and walk away unscathed.
What about Evelyn? She's Bobby's wife who has dealt with enough emotional heartache because of his addictions - to gambling, booze and women. She's at the end of her rope when she insists that he accompany her to Hawaii if he has any desire to save their marriage. He refuses, so she asks a friend, Rachel, to come with her instead - and later runs into a former classmate, Paul, who had an enormous crush on her in school.
Back to Rico ... he was ordered to track Bobby down, to eliminate him and his wife. He learns they are in Hawaii and takes a flight. However, things don't turn out as planned and, in retrospect, Rico believes he made a grave mistake - until further information comes to light.
As a game of cat and mouse ensued, I was caught up in the turn of events and wondered how things would unfold. I even liked the character of Rico because, as cold and heartless as he could be sometimes, he had redeeming qualities which made him likable, even respectable, in spite of what he did for a living. He had a code of ethics - his own compass which led him - which prevented him from killing a person whom he felt "didn't deserve it."
Pigeon-Blood Red is an engaging, yet humorous, thriller with little profanity and no detailed sexual encounters. I must admit to being pleased with how the story ended, which is always a bonus. I look forward to reading the two remaining books in the series when they are released.
If you would like to learn more about Pigeon-Blood Red, please visit its page on Amazon.