In Rafael Amadeus Hines’ BISHOP’S LAW we see our lead man looking to settle down. His wife Maria is pregnant, and Bishop has departed his military roles and is looking to settle away his more nefarious work with the criminal Valdez cartel on the streets of New York. It seems he’s already gone too far, though, and a long list of assailants have Bishop’s name at the top of their hit list, a situation that puts his entirely family at risk, and ensures the lead man has little choice but to get back involved in the street-level violence and gang warfare that he’s so desperate to avoid.
Bishop’s issues link to Raqqa in Iraq, and the Valdez cartel in New York, run by his uncle. He’s the target of a series of high-power Russian hitmen, an elite Pakistani hit mob that’s the product of centuries of carefully selected breeding and training, and an ISIS cell. Life in New York, it’s fair to say, is somewhat dangerous, despite his best intentions. Harnessing the protection of the Valdez family and the assistance of his old military friends back in Iraq and at home in the US, Bishop finds himself embroiled in bitter street feuds and fighting difficult-to-identify enemies as he tries to keep his wife Maria alive, and ensure they can enjoy some level of normality in their lives. Violence, of course, is hard to leave behind when you have so many enemies, and positively spills from these pages.
While BISHOP’S LAW is the second in a series, it sets the scene well and presents no issues as a ‘starting point’ stand-alone book. The plot progresses at speed, with ample tense scenarios and hard-to-overcome situations, as we see Bishops try evade the traps that are set for him. The tension often spills over chapters before things progress to the occasional quieter, intimate corner. The story is largely presented from Bishop’s perspective, but there’s enough outside insight here to readers the dark context of the world he exists in and the dangers that live, seemingly, across every courtyard and down every blind alley. There’s no question that Bishop wants normality; to settle down into a life with his long-suffering wife that doesn’t involve long deployments or street shootouts, but it becomes clear early on that to get there, he’s going to have to almost shoot his way through his long list of enemies, a disparate mob that slowly unravel and come to the fore. Meanwhile, the Valdez crime family are going legitimate, incentivized by a government contract worth a small fortune that will allow them to become an equivalent of Blackwater, legitimate military contractors with their past behind them.
Whether either the family or the main man will pull through without incurring a lethal or irrecoverable level of damage along the way is the central premise BISHOP’S LAW, a manic, weaving, rapid-fire thriller, which will see Bishop’s well-established loyalties tested to the absolute limit.
A pulsating, fast-paced thriller heavy on military- and guerilla-style action and weaving multiple plot lines, BISHOP’S LAW is a tough-to-lay-down book about survival and adventure, set around a charismatic, dark but well-intentioned lead in John Bishop. A memorable second book in a well-developed series.
~James Hendicott for IndieReader