3 out of 4 stars
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Dr. John Cesari’s mother passed away about twenty years ago, and her property has been unoccupied since then. John finally decides to sell it, and his realtor is having landscapers clean up the yard, which includes taking down an old shed in the backyard. Vito Gianelli, John’s close friend since childhood, informs him that they have a problem. Vito is a mobster and runs a lot of the underworld activities in Manhattan. Unknown to John, Vito has been storing bodies underneath the shed. They need to swiftly remove the bodies before they are discovered. However, it is not going to be as easy as they thought.
John and Vito have another friend from high school named Joe Choffy, who works as a meteorologist. Recently, several other meteorologists have died from suspicious circumstances, all on the thirteenth day of consecutive months. Joe is a little nervous about the potential danger as the thirteenth day of September is rapidly approaching. Vito volunteers himself and John to watch Joe’s back. Nonetheless, Joe is shot, and his wife falls to her death from their balcony. It is now up to Vito and John to figure out what happened. Who is targeting meteorologists and what caused Joe’s wife to fall to her death?
Under the Weather by John Avanzato is a 371-page crime drama/mystery with elements of romance mixed in. Although I didn’t recognize it before reading the book, this novel is one of several written with John Cesari as the leading protagonist. However, this is a standalone story with all of the questions thoroughly answered by the end of the book. The author is a physician, and he used his knowledge to create a character who is a doctor. He also grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. in the 1960s and 1970s, so that experience also helped in creating a credible story. I loved his writing style. It was effortless to understand and had me enthralled throughout the tale. Several threads run through the novel, keeping the action and suspense moving. The reader is never quite sure where it is going to go next. The clues are gradually revealed, and the protagonist’s actions are completely unexpected, leaving me astounded at times. I was especially surprised by the ending. Without a doubt, it is a tough book to put down.
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in the story. John Cesari represents a flawed character. He has a previous history of being a mobster. Although he has a good heart and is trying to live as a respectable physician, he doesn’t shy away from violence and death if it is needed to protect his friends and innocent people. Vito doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities at first; however, he also would undertake anything to protect his friends and family. Their deep friendship is unusual for two people with such different occupations, but the author makes it believable.
I truly wish I could award this book a four-star rating as I enjoyed it tremendously. Sadly though, I encountered too many errors for a perfect score. Another round of editing is recommended. Consequently, Under the Weather receives a rating of three out of four stars. It is enthusiastically recommended to people who enjoy crime dramas and mysteries. However, sensitive readers need to be aware that graphic violence and murder are encountered in the book. Rape is also alluded to but not described in detail.
Under the Weather
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