I had the privilege of reading this authors first novel: Prelude to an Empire and found this book flowed nicely from the first. In Stiletto Mafia, we again are presented with the story from Russell’s point of view, with a few personal insights and histories from the other characters.
Russell is determined to build a family from the friends and castaways he has encountered in the six years since the end of Prelude to an Empire. His idealistic hopes for the family are evident in his use of the “family table” where all gather to share a meal and their stories, after the mantra “The first rule of the Stiletto Mafia is that first and foremost we are a family, no matter what”. An interesting inclusion and reinforcement of his will upon this ragtag group: each broken and damaged in their own way, each needing that core ideal of ‘family’ to hold them in the illusion of safety.
And it is this struggle for purpose, the question about the rightness of their acts, and determining if he really is happy, or will find happiness again. Russell often is mired in his own guilt and suffers from the slings and arrows of the past: a child that was victimized, forced into adulthood far too early, and an ego that demands he save or help everyone, that their hardships are his to fix lie at the core of his being: rightly or wrongly. And that is why this story, these two books are such emotionally charged reads: not only are the stories laden with horrible events, but the story is so clearly and cleanly presented that the reader has no choice but to adopt some of the burdens that Russell is experiencing.
Benton’s writing has strengthened from the first to this book: his voice is stronger and more solid, and the narration is clear, concise and emotional. With several clever twists added to the story, and a necessarily emotional ending, this book is a wonderful addition to the trilogy, which gives a peek into a fictional life yet feels as if you are reading a good autobiography.
Title: Stiletto Mafia
Author: Terry J. Benton
Genre: African-American, Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Urban
Published by: Self-Published
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦Audible
Six years have passed since the events of Prelude to an Empire-six years since Russell Wright got the phone call that changed "everything."
Russell's story continues in Stiletto Mafia, the follow-up to Prelude to an Empire. Now a little older and wiser, Russell has filled the void his biological family left with the love and admiration of his new family-a very special group of women that he calls the "Stiletto Mafia." Things heat up quickly for Russell and the Stiletto Mafia when ghosts from his past begin to show up unexpectedly and set off a chain of events that turn Russell's life upside-down.
In Stiletto Mafia, Russell is joined by a cast of all new and unforgettable characters-as well as some familiar faces from previous years-as he continues to navigate the ups and downs of life.
""This is his business, this is his empire, and these girls are his family. They are the Stiletto Mafia."
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.