Book Review: In A Small Town by Marc A. Giacomo

16049946Title: In A Small Town

Author: Marc A. Giacomo

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The shotgun blast catches Detective Matthew Longo by surprise. His world unravels into a nightmare that seemingly won’t end. Murder, rapes, pedophiles, the small town of Hutchville, N.Y. is changing. It is up to him to make a difference.

While partner Donny Mello is in Italy attending a funeral for a family member who is connected, to say the least, a beautiful F.B.I. agent waits to question him about his family business.

Can Matt keep from answering the Agents questions? More importantly, can he hide a potentially career-ending secret from his community, his brother, and most especially Agent Cynthia Shyler?

In A Small Town tells the not-so-small story of police detective Matthew Longo. Whenwe first meet him, he’s been shot. He wasn’t even on the job at the time, and the experience left him more than a little spooked. The small town of Hutchville is filled with criminals in all shapes and sizes from pedophiles to murderers to wifebeaters to drug dealers. But Matthew has no idea who is after him this time around, and that’s what worries him. His opponent has no face, instead he’s a shadow. And as long as he doesn’t figure out who is behind the attack, it could be anyone.

Matthew hides in his bedroom day in day out, trying to come to terms with what happened. No matter how much his parents and brother push him to go out and back to the job, he’s scared of doing so. His partner, the person he can rely on more than anything, Donny Mello, is attending a funeral in Italy, and as long as he’s not around, Matthew feels like there’s no one who has his back. But then a FBI agent pops up who has some interesting intel on the attack that nearly killed him and the person behind it.

Matthew realizes that sometimes the true villains aren’t the ones that you catch while on the job. The life of a cop is anything but simple.

I loved how the author managed to put so much reality into this book. When I read the author bio on the back, I discovered that the author is a retired police detective and well, it shows. He obviously knows what he’s talking about, both about regular police life, and about the hardships that come when something bad happens. After Matthew is shot, he goes through real pain, real fear as he tries to recuperate, and those emotions are so honest and raw that they left me more than a little impressed. While I did enjoy the side characters, and the fact that they’re all well-developed for side characters, Matthew stayed my favorite character throughout the book. Which is odd. Because Matthew isn’t your standard hero. He’s a cop, which in my book counts for at least some heroism, but he didn’t always work by the book. He tells the readers something about what happened to him and his partner Donny about halfway through the book, about how Donny reacted to a criminal by beating him to pulp, and well, it left me conflicted. I think it would leave anyone conflicted. If a person is bad enough, do you get to kill them? If you’re afraid no justice will be served, does that grant you the right to serve it yourself?

That’s one of the questions Matthew struggles with, but hardly the only one. I liked his inner turmoil. I liked the short, interesting dialogue and the vivid descriptions. The author has a gripping, suspenseful writing style that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. The only downside of this book, in my opinion, was the romance. It didn’t work for me. Sure, there was passion, but that was about it. I can’t believe people would form a meaningful relationship in such a short period of time. It didn’t convince me, and I was actually convinced the book could do well without. The plot is more than strong enough on its own, without an added romantic subplot. But I bet some people will love the addition of romance, and it’s not so bad, nor does it slow down the plot, so I could live with it.

As far as police thrillers go, I was happily surprised by this one. It was gritty and suspensful, nothing over the top, no spectacular but near impossible heroic stunts. This is a detective thriller the way I want it to be, and I very much enjoyed reading it. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should definitely read In A Small Town. It’s a strong, powerful book by a talented author of whom I hope to read more books in the future.

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