Book review | The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

Author: Ed Duncan 

Genre: Crime Thriller, Suspense 

No. of pages: 220

Published on: 25th November 2017 

Published by: Creativia

Format: Paperback 

My rating: ★★★★☆

It started with a run-of-the-mill carjacking. An inner-city kid with no priors and no experience with a gun fumbled the ball, and the driver ended up dead. Unfortunate for all concerned, but not uncommon. But there was more - a lot more. 

A teenage girl witnessed the whole thing, and a Chicago crime boss with no apparent motive was willing to move heaven and earth to prevent her from testifying. But why? No one knew except him and he didn't have to say. 

Richard “Rico” Sanders, the best in the business, was his first choice for the job. But there was a problem. He was a “killer with a conscience” and a killer with a conscience doesn’t murder teenagers. The crime boss reluctantly turns to someone who has no such qualms, John D’Angelo. There was bad blood between him and Rico, so knowing that Rico had passed on the job, he eagerly accepted it. Then he bungled it by mistakenly killing the girl's father. 

Paul Elliott, a respected attorney and a close friend of the girl's family, happened to be present when the father was gunned down while walking her home from school. Paul and Rico, from different sides of the tracks, had an unusual history together. A year earlier Paul had saved Rico's life and Rico hadn't forgotten. So when a vengeful D'Angelo, with the help of two confederates, sets his sights on both men, they were drawn together in an uneasy alliance against a common foe.

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan is the follow up story to Pigeon-Blood Red. Both of the books are edge-of-the-seat, gripping and racy thrillers. The characters in the previous book are definitely in this one too, but if you read The Last Straw without reading the prequel, it won't be a problem. I'd rather say that Ed Duncan has done an excellent job in subtly incorporating the story of the previous book through his narration in The Last Straw.

The Last Straw is a fun and entertaining novel. It could have been a movie too. It has its fair share of twists and turns and has an essence of 'what-happens-next'. The storytelling style of the author is simple and this makes the story float in front of the reader's eyes. I also liked the fact that Ed Duncan has slickly exhibited in this book the racism and discrimination that exists even today. There are quite a few flashback scenes in this book and I loved how they have been displayed without making them too repetitive.

Now talking about the characters, Rico is known 'a killer with a conscience'. He follows his self-made norms and rules where he does not assassinate women (when they are innocent) and children. He is not particularly a handsome man (as per the book) but he is charismatic and has a cool-headed personality. He has a no-nonsense attitude and that is why his character stands out the most. I really like his character even though he does all thinks that are unlikeable. 

The other main character is Paul Elliott, a successful lawyer who gets involved in this mess coincidentally. This character is a realistic one. Though he is a head-strong person, he has his self-doubts and fears. This is what makes him a relatable character. 

As a whole, I loved reading this book and I enjoyed it a lot. The story has a dramatic ending and lets the readers ponder over how Rico views the world. 

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the third installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red series. To learn more, go to

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook,  Twitter, and Goodreads.

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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