Armando’s Daughter by R J Blute is a fast, entertaining read. It has a cast of colourful larger -than-life characters, the main ones of which are Armando’s daughter herself, the sixteen-year-old Cassandra, Armando, small-time gangster and divorced from Nicole, Cassandra’s mum, and his tough Italian mother, Nonna. The action begins with Cassandra deciding to ask her father to kill her mother’s new boyfriend. But things start to spiral in all sorts of directions. Corrupt politicians are planning to close down the city’s pools, just as the hot weather hits. You’re left breathless as the events of the book sweep you along. There’s violence, gritty language, sexual encounters and a good few deaths, but not necessarily the ones you’re expecting.
I enjoyed this book. It’s well structured with succinct chapters that sweep you along. Each one is aptly titled. For example, Chapter 7 is La Stronza (The Witch) and is where we meet Nonna properly for the first time. The physical layout of the text wasn’t good in the Word version of the book I had. My only other niggle is the translating of the phrases in Italian that are used. For example, Nonna says “But, it’s a to our il vantaggio. (advantage).” To be less intrusive, I think the author should either leave readers to guess what the Italian means or make less use of it. However, it doesn’t spoil the entertainment value of this original and ingeniously plotted story.
There is an accompanying website at http://www.armandosdaughter.com/