Title: A Head for an Eye
Author: William Blackwell
Review: The opening of a head for an eye was amazing, we are introduced to Jesus Villareal who is trying to earn a living while being harassed by some other boys and this altercation results in murder. We are then introduced in respective chapters to Matt and Angelique, who are dating but each party has their respective problems. Matt is in a huge amount of debt and working to overturn a court judgement while Angelique who is extremely insecure is desperately trying to get his attention while surfing online dating sites for her next potential man. While there is no link between the opening chapter and the ones that follow as of yet with the exception of the Mexico where Angelique grew up and the murder in the first chapter takes place. Despite only being a few chapters into the novel I already feel sorry for Matt whose life seems to be going from bad to worse and his childhood issues seems to have a hold over him that he can’t break straining his relationship with Angelique greatly.
After getting to know Matt and Angelique a little we are thrown back into Jesus’ story and I am wondering whether these stories will collide at some point or remain parallel. I also liked in Jesus’ story we learn more about the Tarahumara Indian culture, in which the title of the book comes in. Much like Matt Jesus’ life is going downhill but he holds out hope, and we also see a glimpse of how the two stories tie together. Another thing I really liked about this novel was the diverse and complex range of characters and the wonderfully strange interactions they have. As we reach the 1/4 mark in the novel, I am trying to unravel and understand the characters that have been presented to us which is no small task and I find myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the story. I really enjoyed the use of darker undertones in the novel and how the author looks at death and murder and what these things means in different communities. My favourite characters so far are Angelique because she is constantly changing angry one moment and terrified the next and Jesus steadfast in his determination, loyalty and pride making them polar opposites and its an amazing contrast. Blackwell makes it a feature to look not only at the cultural divides but social and moral divides as well, which is interesting and not something I see a lot of.
As the second half of the novel draws closer we finally see how the two different stories connect, Matt and Angelique also decide to leave the country to go to Mexico to find Angelique’s sister Gloria who we have already met. As we cross into the second half of the novel the walls seems to be closing in on Matt and Angelique and they take the only escape they can find. As Angelique and Matt makes their getaway the tension and suspense within is ramped up as someone is now trying to kill Angelique and frame Matt for her death and a previous one. When they get to Mexico Angelique slips easily into the ritualistic lifestyle while Matt struggles a little to understand the customs he learns quickly that defiance and disloyalty are a death sentence.
As we approach the 3/4 mark Matt and Angelique’s relationship is taking a downward turn again and I can only describe it as turbulent at best but they always work it out. As the couple settle into life in Mexico the two stories merge almost seamlessly which was great but there is still an ominous feel to the story despite everything going fairly well at the moment. As we enter the final part of the novel, I was very excited to see how Blackwell would wrap up this devastatingly heartbreaking story.
The ending of this novel was perfect, Blackwell brought the story full circle, he allowed the characters to blossom at their own pace and for the story to flow effortlessly even through the changing perspectives. I though the ending of this novel tied up most of the loose ends but left the potential for a sequel, I highly recommend this novel to crime lovers and action lovers, this book was a great change of pace for me and I can’t wait to read more from this author.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author.
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Also see: The Strap by William Blackwell