I started reading this novel in early September on the plane from Miami to Santo Domingo as I was coming home from my month long vacation in Europe. The opening is so intense that it caught my attention right away even though it was late and I was tired after a long trip. Since then, I’ve been really busy with work and it’s taken me literally forever to finish Running of the Bulls, the 2nd novel in Christopher Smith’s trilogy (Fifth Avenue Series). I’ve carried the novel around with me on my iPhone, reading a few pages or chapters here and there on my Kindle App whenever I had a few minutes to spare.
This novel is all about MURDER and killing people in every way. The story centers around Max Wolfhagen, a stock broker who was found guilty and served time for trading on inside information.
We follow the hit man Vincent Spocatti (whom we know from the 1st novel, Fifth Avenue) and the hit woman Carmen Gragera who are working together and killing everyone of Wolfhagen’s former associates, employees, partners, etc. that had testified against him in court.
We also follow Maggie Cain, a best-selling author who is writing a “tell-all” book about Wolfhagen (we later learn how she’s really related to him) and Marty Spellman, the private investigator she hires to follow Wolfhagen.
On the other hand we get introduced to Wolfhagen, a character so intensely and incredibly bizarre that you just have to laugh at how Smith describes him…
He arrived in New York just as the lights of Manhattan were beginning to shine, took a cab from LaGuardia, rented a room at The Plaza, snorted four lines of meth and had wine sent to his room
Chapter Six, Loc. 10558
There’s a lot of murder, death and violence in this novel along with secrets, scandals, a psychic and a few people coming back from the “dead” too keep things interesting. There were a few times, though, where I felt like I was missing the point of the story because it seemed as if it was just about a bunch of people getting killed. But just when I thought the author had led his characters on a pointless killing spree, he spins the story and it takes form again. This novel really is quite good and has a lot of twists and surprises that you’ll never see coming!
Apart from a few (unimportant) grammatical mistakes, there’s a few bits of exceptional writing like the following paragraph:
He walked on auto pilot to Washington Square Park, his own shadow dancing before him on the pavement. He watched people he didn’t know step all over him, cars race over his head, a city bus cut him in half, a kid on a skateboard sever his legs. His invincible shadow collided with all of New York and it didn’t hesitate or flinch. It simply charged forward without feeling, rippling over curbs, growing slowly by inches. Loc. 12480
If I should write one sentence that would somehow sum up the entire story, it’d be “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.