Young Miles Rivera has found a way to escape his troubled upbringing. Sent to boarding school on a basketball scholarship, he thinks he has put his troubled ways behind him. But with news of his beloved grandmother’s imminent death from cancer, he has to return to his family’s neighborhood to see her one more time. Old rivalries soon emerge, and violence ensues. Though Miles is desperate to move on toward a righteous future, his past keeps pulling him back into a world of drug deals and gang loyalties. Feeling trapped, he makes one wrong choice after another. Violence begets violence, and soon the bodies begin to mount. After a terrible fire, the police begin to investigate—and Miles turns to the no-nonsense lawyers from the Flannigan family to protect both his family and his future.
The third volume in Abby Reilly’s Promises saga continues the Flannigan clan’s story with the author’s trademark blend of cop action, legal procedural, and family drama. In her previous book Broken Promises, Reilly spent a little too much time exploring the dynamics of the Flannigans and their place amongst the Irish diaspora—resulting in much of the crime-based drama getting sidelined. This time the stakes are higher, and Reilly tips the balance towards more action and suspense—adding welcome pace to her ongoing saga. It’s a real success, and breathes new life into the series.
The scenes featuring Miles and his struggles to break away from petty crime and drug dealers are convincing, thanks in part to some snappy dialogue. He’s a very well-constructed character, and the author skillfully contrasts his street-smart braggadocio with his more vulnerable side. Though Miles can front up to somebody who is trying to steer him clear of trouble with the cliched, tough guy riposte—“I’m a badass who grew up on those streets. Nobody’s gonna screw with me”—the author skillfully reveals how he is not quite as tough as he might want to appear. The mirroring of the Rivera family with Flannigan family is very well-handled, and the author manages to subtly highlight the differences in opportunity within societies riven by economic and racial inequalities.
In BLOOD PROMISES (Book Three), Abby Reilly adds nuance to returning family members—retaining all of their foibles and charms while further revealing their true characters. New readers will soon get up to speed, and the well-paced plot is a rewarding read as a stand-alone mystery thriller.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader