Title: The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Author: Julie Bozza
Publisher: Manifold Press
Characters: Joshua Delaney, Carmine Angelo Trezini
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary/Crime Drama
Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and low-level mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.
Mafioso turned informant, Angelo Trezini, knows the number of his days will be measured in weeks not years. He has just agreed to serve his childhood friend and mob boss Matthew Picano to the Feds on a silver platter, after all, and a betrayal like that does not go unpunished in the world of organized crime, where sleeping with the fishes follows closely on the heels of sleeping with the enemy.
The enemy in this story comes in the form of Officer Joshua Delaney, the man who convinces Angelo that redemption is a possibility for him if he should choose to do the right thing and help bring Picano down. It doesn’t take much to persuade Angelo to do just that, as his attraction to Joshua, as well as his own conscience, convince him that atonement for his innumerable sins, that dying with honor, is well worth the risk.
I really liked the premise for The Valley of the Shadow of Death. I love a good redemption story, as well as the gay-for-you storyline; that there is someone out there in the world who can redefine and alter the labels one places upon oneself, for the sake of love.
There’s plenty of foreshadowing along the way to prepare the reader for the ending to this story, which was entirely plausible. The author didn’t pull out the eleventh hour deus ex machina for the sake of a tidy finish, which I was grateful for.
If I had any one issue with the book, it would be that the relationship between Angelo and Joshua could have been fleshed out a bit better; it was undeniably rushed. Joshua is a man of few emotions and even fewer words, which made it terribly difficult to determine what attraction there was, beyond the physical, that would make Angelo throw away his entire life for the man. Angelo was a more charismatic character, and I liked him a great deal, but again, I felt there was more to him than was exposed in the narrative.
I also had one other minor niggle with the concept of Angelo living as an openly gay man in the American mafia. Maybe things have changed recently, but I’m not so sure Angelo wouldn’t have experienced some prejudice, at the very minimum, and that made this part of the story a bit more difficult for me to buy into.
I would recommend The Valley of the Shadow of Death and say that if the things I mentioned aren’t a concern, then it’s worth the read.
Reviewed By: Lisa