3 out of 4 stars
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Saul Imbierowicz is perfectly content with his unremarkable life. He’s got a new job at the post office, an apartment to himself, and a stunning girlfriend to boot. Life is good in Chicago in 1929 – at least until the massacre. When Saul gets caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout, he suddenly finds himself in a bind. Two rival mob bosses, none other than Al Capone and Bugs Moran, are both breathing down his neck with an offer he can’t refuse: find some sensitive documents or risk losing everyone he loves.
Unremarkable, by Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee, is a tight, fast-paced historical thriller with an extra dash of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed every minute of it despite a couple of minor complaints, and I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
The authors did a fantastic job of bringing Prohibition-era Chicago to life – the gangsters, the speakeasies, even the Yiddish slang that Saul is quite fond of using. The story is rich in details both big and small, from Saul’s quirk of calling ladies ‘dames’ to his stumbling into the middle of a very real firefight – the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre. I’ll admit that I’m not a scholar of the Chicago mob scene, but it’s still obvious that the authors did their research. The authenticity of the atmosphere kept the story believable even when some supernatural twists were thrown into the mix.
So, the setting was good. What about the characters? Have no fear: I fell in love with Saul instantly and I’m sure you will too. He was endlessly fun to read – he’s got a quip for every occasion and even though he’s in over his head and, at times, scared out of his mind, he’s definitely not a doormat. Seeing him tackle obstacle after obstacle in order to protect his family kept me on the edge of my seat. Habiger and Kissee lay the tension on thick, and it was really tough to put this book down when I was so invested in Saul’s plight.
As for the ending, let’s just say that it’s one doozy of a cliffhanger, but the authors’ note at the end suggests that Saul’s story will pick right back up in a further installment. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book, Untouchable.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I do have one gripe. It’s in desperate need of another round of proofreading. Don’t get me wrong, the errors are minor and didn’t cause any confusion, but the punctuation mistakes and occasional inconsistencies really stuck out in writing of this caliber. There were a few places where the narration repeated itself, as if a section had been rewritten but with part of the original left in.
Due to the grammar issues, I can’t give Unremarkable a full four-star rating, but the lovable characters, full-bodied atmosphere, and nonstop tension are enough for me to wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone in the market for a good thriller. Be advised, however, that the book does contain sexual themes and foul language that are a bit too mature for even a young adult audience. For the right age group, though, I rate Unremarkable 3 out of 4 stars.
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