Trial of Tears by Chris Semal

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     Pete Watts is a former undercover narcotics cop who got way too close to his job. He now runs a music rehearsal studio in which all manner of eccentric musicians come through. His soon to be ex-girlfriend is a talented singer with a sleazy manager who is in the habit of giving his clients drug habits, occasionally overdosing them to move their recordings up the charts, with the full support of the shady entertainment company for whom he works.

     This universe of people is inexorably drawn into a war between two violent drug gangs, viewed through the perspective of the Napoleonic leader of one gang. He has recently signed on a strange, but beautiful ex-mercenary named Alice, who wears makeup in the form of multi-colored tears running down her face. These tears are, in fact, decals on which different poisons are concealed, hence the title. Some survive the Trial of Tears, some don’t. The story’s taut climax is set in a posh townhouse in which only the courageous will emerge unscathed.

    While it certainly has its share of humor, action and suspense, it is also a story of friendship and redemption, as well as being a love letter to New York City. (synopsis from Goodreads)

     This book was fast paced and enjoyable.  There’s a lot going on in the book and at some points it is difficult to keep track of the characters.  We have Pete who has a girlfriend but also has a fling on the side.  He runs a rehearsal studio and a lot of the characters stem from that.  Then there is a major drug war going on and many characters that go along with that.  The characters intertwine and know each other from different situations.

     The ending is an all out throw down between most of the characters.  We find out what happens to them, how they all relate, and where they will be going in the future.  There is a lot of violence in this book but it’s not over the top.  I would have liked to have seen more of Alice, the woman on the cover of the book who the book is named for.  She pops up at different times in the book and is very intriguing, but she isn’t in the book nearly enough.

     Overall the book was enjoyable and was an easy read.  I wanted to keep reading to find out how all the characters were connected.  This is a good book for anyone who enjoys thrillers.

I give this book 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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