3 out of 4 stars
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Three merciless men repeatedly raped Orion Jackson, the protagonist of the story, when he was in prison. When the curtains of The Criminals open, Bruce Wilson takes the reader through the life of Orion after leaving the correctional facility. Powered by his thirst for revenge, Orion begins his journey to seek revenge on his three assailants (Trip Six, Crisco, and Charlie Rock).
The author spread Orion Jackson’s tale in 85 chapters. In every chapter, he featured a specific event in Orion’s life or that of his close allies and enemies. One of the people who worked closely with Orion to execute the bitter revenge is Corey. Orion had built a lucrative business (The Black Gansta Organization) in the underworld where drugs, guns, and prostitutes afforded him a great fortune. Corey served as the captain of the business. He was also Orion’s best friend. Silk and Noland took care of the drug business while Margo, a lesbian, took care of the prostitute business. Eric, Corey’s brother, ran a legitimate accounting firm that took care of the accounting needs of the Black Gansta Organization and other underworld business organizations. Things took an interesting turn when Eric’s firm stole millions of money from the Mexican Mob, a Mexican organization that led an illegal business that dealt with drugs and guns. Juan Delgado, the leader of the Mexican Mob, sort to take revenge on Eric and his close friends and relatives. Orion and Corey were top in Delgado’s most-wanted list. Could Orion and his team overcome the wave of Delgado’s lethal tactics?
The book is nothing short of an enthralling crime thriller. I got myself carried away by Orion’s story the moment I read the first two pages of the book. Bruce, through his creativity, managed to intertwine his words in a manner that is compelling and easy to understand. His attention to detail left all the scenes and characters fully developed. For instance, fear engulfed Orion when he found out that he had been marked for execution by Juan Delgado. However, as the leader of his organization, he could not let his fear take the better part of him. He had to brace himself up and face the challenge without letting his followers realize that he was shaken by the situation.
Does the title of the book match the story contained therein? The author could have not chosen a better title for the book. It is full of the good, bad, and ugly things that are typical in the underworld. There are several gruesome murders, cases of illegal possession of guns, prostitution, and drug trafficking. Of all the characters of the book, only one of them had a clean record with the law enforcement agencies. I was surprised to learn why many gang members would not mind owning dozens of illegal guns. Corey would tell you that it would be “better to be found alive with illegal weapons than be found legally dead without them.” That was funny but true to their world.
I am still trying to figure out how Bruce Wilson managed to throw in deep Christian messages in a book that covers the dark hole of crime. It is not that I did not like them. It was just amazing that amidst the dark themes of rape, gay/lesbian relationships, gruesome murders, and prostitution the author managed to pass a strong message that seems to be deeply engraved in his heart. That is truly commendable.
Evidently, I enjoyed reading the book. If it were not for the OBC’s rules that restrict me from giving a perfect score to a book that contains more than ten errors, I would have gladly given The Criminals 4 stars. Therefore, I settle for 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who loves reading action-packed crime thrillers. It will not disappoint. I have to warn the reader that the book contains graphic scenes of murder and sex.
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