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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
This book is one of the best things I have read in a while in coming-of-age literature. It isn’t just great, it is sweet like honey, absorbing, and it is a tale with very real and unusual characters. In The Unusual Suspects by Dominic Carrillo, the reader meets a fourteen-year-old girl and an eighty-nine-year-old man who happen upon each other in a train and set out on an adventure that will change their lives in ways no one could have envisioned. At the start of the story, Nia is almost raped, but then an old man with a cane saves her. Kurt seems to attract death wherever he turns; yes, he kills without meaning to. The reader will follow the old man and the young girl who abandons her prestigious school and sets out to confront an ex-boyfriend — odd for a fourteen-year-old girl — and a lot of exciting things happen between the journey from Sofia to Berlin.
Dominic Carrillo begins the story with a crisis moment, a conflict that is both emotional and physical — the attempted rape of Nia. The reader wants to know what happens next from the moment they meet the characters. “I wasn’t suspicious until I noticed him staring at my legs,” says Nia. “The creep smiled at me but didn’t say a word. After a few moments of awkward silence, he leapt across the aisle and pinned me down.” The chapters are short and succinct, each showcasing the POV of one of the protagonists. The author’s gift for suspense is one of the things that will keep readers leafing nonstop through the pages of The Unusual Suspects. One begins to enjoy the characters the moment they meet them, and the enjoyment grows with each sentence, each paragraph, and each chapter. There won’t be any stopping once you start reading this story, because it is told in a way that compels you to keep reading. It is intriguing, entertaining, and delightful, with characters that are real and appealing.