June Street

John Stark

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 61 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9781543434828 Reviewed: October, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

This brief, hard-boiled crime novel tells the story of two sisters who took separate paths in life.

Joy becomes a prostitute and involved with the drug trade, while Faith joins the police to find Joy. While investigating a case, Faith encounters Joy and takes her home for her protection. Joy’s presence causes complications for Faith’s husband and daughter, and before too long, Joy returns to the world of crime, with tragic results.

The novel has a clipped style. Told in the present tense, it delivers mostly short, descriptive paragraphs that quickly set the scene. Indeed, the sarcastic detectives, slick criminals, and violent shootouts are reminiscent of old detective series, such as the television show Mikey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.

The story flows well, with many compelling scenes, such as the opener that describes an assassin killing prostitutes, Faith questioned by her colleagues while undercover, and a drug kingpin attempting to entice her while she gathers information on his operation. Interspersed with these action scenes are emotionally gripping passages that help reveal the sisters’ personalities. Faith remembers happy times, even after their parents’ deaths and their adoption by another family, while Joy bitterly brings up a secret about their birth mother that led to their parents’ deaths. Joy comes across as cynical and manipulative, at times even cruel, making for a complex character.

Punctuation issues appear throughout the novel, such as the overuse of hyphens (which should actually be em dashes), and the style sometimes seems better suited for the stage or screen than the page. Also, the synopsis on the back cover gives away the ending.

Still, with a gripping plot, and engaging characters, June Street is an exciting read. Fans of old-fashioned film noir-type novels should especially enjoy it.

Also available as an ebook.

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