The collision of love and fate have an undeniable pull in fiction. Combine those elements with a one night passion play of violence and greed, then you have a true noir pot boiler. And author Herbert J. Cooke Jr. has cooked up one such book.
In Rainfall and Bullets we violently merge the three ostensibly unrelated characters of Aramando, James and Santiago- a taxi driver, U.S. soldier and cartel henchman respectively.
Armando is a cabbie, who’s one-time brush with ill gotten gains put him back on the straight and narrow, now facing a life decision that can only be reconciled by a quick infusion of cash. And of course, a one night monetary solution presents itself.
James, a U.S. serviceman in Honduras for a civil building project, finds that love leads him off base and into Armando’s life. Of course, in classic noir style, James collision with Armando comes as a random stroke of bad luck.
And in Santiago, we have a contorted man sent to find Armando yet when triggers are pulled the men that fall are unexpected.
Rainfall and Bullets takes place in a few hours overnight and the unrelenting pace keeps the writing honest and raw. Don’t blink.
The title isn’t just a clever play on words or plucked line. Rainfall and bullets describes the mood and danger of the story. The incessant rain are matched drop for drop by bullets fired in pursuit of safety or revenge.
It’s risky painting thumbnail portraits of climes unknown to a reader, lacking in detail to immerse you. Cooke however takes the risk and keeps the backdrop of La Ceiba, Honduras effectively simple. It’s less about the locale and more about the characters and their story.
In a way, the characters in Rainfall and Bullets are like the weather moving over the land. They surge across the topography, climb ragged mountains, changing, colliding until they crescendo in claps of emotional thunder and lightning.
There us nothing bloated about Rainfall and Bullets. No glutinous or tedious writing. It is lean and mean. Rainfall and Bullets demonstrates that a good plot, interesting characters and timeless themes can still be crafted in a tight, entertaining envelope.
Rainfall and Bullets by Herbert J. Cooke Jr. was received for free by the Boston Book Bums