Pablo Fandango by James Kelly – Book Review

by James Kelly
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Pablo Fandango by James Kelly

On Christmas Eve 1981, the brutal slaying of a ‘Ndrangheta enforcer in a Hamilton parking lot sends shockwaves through a tough working-class community and separates two childhood friends. Marty settles in Calgary for a time—his family slowly disintegrating under the strain—while what’s left of Matt’s family tries to come to grips with their loss and make a new start in nearby St. Catharines. Five years later, Matt and Marty cross paths again in Toronto and pick up their friendship where they left off… Now tough, brash, and quick on their feet, the two of them are soon living off their wits and up to their necks in small-time scams, the occasional well-planned heist, and anything that can make them a quick buck. But when Marty comes up with a scam that will land them more money than either of them have ever seen, they know it will mean upping their game. It will also mean enlisting the help of heavy Hamilton mafia connections they’d previously avoided. Set in the fall of 1990—and drawing loose inspiration from real life events—Pablo Fandango is the first in a series of Marty Ronan novels.

Book review:

Memorable characters are the glue in this absorbing thriller, Pablo Fandango.  This brilliant debut novel by James Kelly, promises to be a gripping new crime series.

Every great book needs a great main character, and Pablo Fandango has that in Marty Ronan.  Book one in this new series is definitely an introduction to Marty and in a way reads like a prologue, leaving the reader extremely hungry for book two.  Marty starts chatting to us at the ripe old age of twenty, as a young man looking for his place in life.  He’s not your typical young man, he’s smart, talented and looking for a way to con his way into millions.

Sidekicks to his previous illegal misdemeanors’ and co-conspirators in his Picasso swindle are his two friends Howie and Matt.  Raised in Hamilton Matt and Marty have known each other all their lives.  Growing up surrounded by mafia has given them an edge, toughened them up and opened their eyes to crime and all its benefits, and occasional tragic events.  Howie on the other hand is the pampered son of a British investment banker, finding his feet in Canada living in a condo paid for by his father, the perfect place for the three of them to plot and create their con.  They’re a motley young crew about to fly-high in a dangerous world of guns, money and high risks.

The title of the book Pablo Fandango captures the essence of this exceptional thriller perfectly, Pablo, as in Picasso, and Fandango as in a big deal or brilliant exploit.  The clever title is an indicator as to what follows, which is an entertaining and eloquent novel that draws you in and holds your attention and definitely leaves you wanting more.

James Kelly’s twenty-five years as an undercover operative, working with intelligence agencies around the world, is the authentic seal stamped on this new series.  Believable, unique and engrossing, Pablo Fandango is worthy of a movie offer, and comes very highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews. Book reviewed by T N Traynor for Artisan Book Reviews.

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Pablo Fandango by James Kelly
Published by Tellwell Talent on June 5, 2019
Genres: Crime FictionThriller
Pages: 290
Format: HardcoverKindlePaperback
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