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El Camino Drive

John Valentino isn’t going anywhere fast. The middle aged, Detroit-based Detective has just been suspended from work after beating a colleague to a pulp, his marriage has fallen to pieces, and his drinking has spiraled out of control. Haunted by the events surrounding his father’s murder almost forty years before, John is self-destructive, bubbling over with rage and guilt, making him the prime suspect when his father’s killers start turning up dead. But is John really capable of putting an end to his family’s decades old vendetta, or is there someone else moving through the city undetected, enacting their long-awaited revenge?

The gripping new novel by renowned crime author, Edward Izzi, El Camino Drive, is an easily-accessible thriller, which delivers its readers jolt after jolt. Cleverly constructed twists and turns will keep most crime fiction fans guessing until the very end, with a range of secondary characters weaving in and out of different decades and narratives. John’s troubled present is interwoven with his father’s own checkered history, and Izzi is more than capable of handling the slips in time to probe family ties, trauma, addiction, justice, and redemption. 

You can’t help but like the book’s flawed protagonist, with his blatant disregard for authority and often misplaced good intentions, however little time is spent with female characters, who are all too often rated on their physical appearance and little else. 

Police procedurals play a relatively minor role in El Camino Drive, which is carried along more by the strong dialogue than by the usual detective work you would expect of a whodunit. Due to his suspension from the force, John is instead left to negotiate a minefield of long-standing vendettas, long-lost familial connections, as well as the contemporary dating scene. The premise is unique enough to engross most thriller, mystery, and crime fiction readers, however tweaks to the prose in order to create a more vivid, atmospheric read, would help attract a wider audience.

El Camino Drive is an immersive and enjoyable follow-up to Izzi’s earlier work. A modern take on American pulp fiction, El Camino Drive can alternate between fast, furious, and sleazy, almost like a video game plot turned novel.

Pages: 463 | ASIN: B08F4DPNMN

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El Camino Drive – Trailer

Detective John Valentino from Detroit’s Third Precinct knows El Camino Drive very well…his father was murdered there over forty years ago. On Halloween 1978, Antonio Valentino was gunned down after work by three men, alleging that he was having an affair with one of their wives. He was shot in cold blood, and his killers were later exonerated, claiming self-defense. They believed that a toy pistol in the victim’s pocket was an actual weapon. In a very public declaration after the murder trial, his uncle Rossano Valentino announces a vendetta against his brother’s killers. Over forty years later, Detective Valentino is now an alcoholic. He has lost his wife and family to his drinking and has just buried his mother. When he and his sisters clean out the attic of her home, they find an old, locked wooden trunk, containing an evidence bag and contents from the night of the murder in 1978. And in a clear plastic bag, is a blood-stained, green water pistol he once owned as a little boy…the very toy his father used to fool his killers. Frustrated with his life problems and blaming them on his father’s death, Valentino decides to avenge the murder of his father and follow through with Rossano’s family vendetta. One hot, July evening, the wife of the man who planned the murder over forty years ago, is found brutally stabbed to death in her ex-husband’s mobile home. Next to her body, is a poem from the killer, and a green, toy water pistol.The Detroit detective has no idea who did it, as his uncle is now too old and sickly to commit murder. One by one, the murderers who killed his father are brutally slain, while Valentino has no clue who the “Water Pistol Killer” is. He doesn’t have any idea who is fulfilling this old vendetta. Now John Valentino is considered the prime suspect. And after every murder, next to each body, is a new stanza to the same poem…and a green, toy water gun.

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