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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Bullets Before Dawn: Murder in Chinatown featuring Homicide Detective Johnny Vero by Fred Berri is set in 1949, following WW2. It's a crime novel that features human and drug trafficking and murder, with compelling characters and an indefatigable detective. Chinatown is heading for catastrophe as a crime boss runs women and opium smuggled in from China. It's a world of sleaze where anyone can be a criminal. Follow Detective Vero and the newly elected District Attorney as they work their way through a complex network of crime on a path filled with danger to solve a murder that gets more complicated with each passing moment.
The novel features a cast of compelling characters like Griff, the freight ship captain, Alvise LaPoshio, Molly Penett and a cast of others. In a style similar to James Patterson's, the author crafts chapters that are short, each ending with a puzzle or a cliffhanger that urges the reader to turn to the next page, hungry for an answer or looking for the next exciting event. There is an intense romance developing between two key characters against the backdrop of a crime-ridden setting. The characters are well developed and each has depth and humanity. The author explores themes of murder and human trafficking with a lot of realism, crafting scenes that are cinematic and plunging readers into the mindscapes of the characters. The prose is crisp and punctuated by exciting dialogues. I enjoyed the short sentence structure and the author's ability to paint pictures in the minds of readers and to awaken strong emotions in them. There is both suspense and humor to spice up the writing. This is a fast-paced, intriguing thriller that keeps the reader reading through the night.