By Stephen Romano
Published in 2015 by Pocket Star.
Reviewed by K.L. Romo.
Metro, by Austin, Texas native Stephen Romano, is an electrifying thriller – just think Pulp Fiction and Three Days of the Condor sucked up by a Texas hill-country tornado and slammed into each other on the way down–but on steroids.
…cultures that break their waves on the dazzled face of the new America in the mid-1980’s are radical and colorful, unlike anything that’s come before, overhyped, hair-sprayed and full of shit, flashy and flaky and shimmering in gaudy imperfection, like half-formed illusions masking the most significant changes that modern civilization has ever experienced…
And FYI – the book has nothing to do with subways.
Jollie, Andy, and Mark are three friends living in a house together in Austin, Texas – The Kingdom – where parties are non-stop. Mark is a small-time drug dealer who keeps the high-times going strong with an endless supply of … well, anything. Andy and Mark are both in love with Jollie. Life is good for the threesome. That is, until it’s put to an abrupt halt when a drug deal goes bad, a close friend is killed, and the local drug cartel show up at The Kingdom to reclaim what was stolen from them.
Trying to stay alive, what the friends discover turns their world upside down. People are not who they seem to be. Exactly who is the trained assassin? Are the bad guys trying to kill them? Or are they trying to kill each other?
He is six years old and he doesn’t understand anything but Muppets and playtime. He is a blank slate, waiting to be filled. He is led by the hand to his destiny. And his destiny smells like open air and flowers in the dark.
Romano’s style of writing not only secures our attention, but throws us right into the action; we’re almost a part of it, not just watching from the sidelines. On the first page, we are thrust into the prelude to a drug deal. Early on, the assassin is even dubbed our boy, including us in the quickly unfolding events. The book was also written in countdown style, most of the story taking place within two days of the event that would change The Kingdom forever.
Metro is written in a fast-paced, thoughts-straight-from-the-head prose that keeps you on your toes. The novel demanded that I read only this book until I was done. Written in an unusual, frenetic style, I was sucked into the story, trying to figure out who were the bad guys, who were the good guys, and who would survive the bone-crunching vice-grip.
If you want a far-out read that speeds through your brain like a bullet-train, read Metro.
K.L. Romo is a member of the Writers’ Leagues of Texas who lives with her family in Duncanville, Texas. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her novel From Grace I Fall – about a modern woman who’s suddenly transported back to 1907 Dallas, seeing the world through the eyes of a reformed prostitute who’s determined to seek justice for victims of human trafficking, and other women forced to sell their bodies. Visit her website.