I have always been reluctant to give my opinion about a book in a review because as I have said in the previous reviews "I liked it" doesn't quite capture the true essence of the book, but I was compelled to break down and write a review about Billy London's newest book On Caristo's Watch. Why you may ask, and well Billy I'm sorry but I'm going to have to be honest, mostly because Lydia is me. Now Billy I'm sure you didn't want this to get out but with the following facts I think it will be hard to keep the secret.
1. Lydia is a nurse and I work in the medical profession of sorts (I'm a mental health professional).
2. Tony is Italian and I am married to an Italian (He's also Irish just for future reference).
3. Lydia is an African raised in Ireland and I am of African and Irish descent.
4. Lydia is kick ass and well I think it goes without saying that I am pretty kick ass myself.
Yes, you may point out that whole mob connection thing, and all though Sig Other isn't in a Family, he could be homicidal if pushed to it. Obviously some creative licence was taken but in the end this is totally my story. Now imagine my surprise when it was told with such poignant insight and spot on humor. On Caristo's Watch does a fabulous job of mirroring Windows (there may have been a pun in there) in that as a sequel it fits seamlessly into the time line of the first book so that you have the pleasure of revisiting moments of Windows in your head while being immersed in the new story.
As with Windows I appreciate the way Billy plays with the concepts of what is good and bad or right and wrong. Tony is a criminal and there is no sugar coating that, but he is a criminal that fits nicely into the romantic fantasy of what the reader may think of as his "type" of criminal. I don't really want to know about the seedier parts of his profession because his bad is oh so good that it feels right that it is so wrong. He protects those that he loves and lives by a code of honor that bends a bit to allow him to be a criminal but still retain some aspect of his humanity. It is lovely and complex but superbly simple in its execution that you don't get boggled by esoteric notions of crime and punishment.
Lydia is a woman with a problem but instead of being burdened by her problem or spending endless amounts of time obsessing about said problem, she goes to the head of a mob family to handle this problem. I actually really liked this concept because not only did she get Tony for her ingenuity but it cut through what could have been endless amounts of obsessing about what to do. It also created Lydia as a perfect foil to Tony's good/bad, right/wrong persona. She is a "good" person that found herself in a "bad" situation and must do something "wrong" in order for her life to start being "right" again. Brilliant I must say because it plays well with the White Knight dichotomy but with a twist because the Knight may have stolen the horse.
The book also flows in such a way that if you haven't read Windows you can still appreciate the characters in On Caristo's Watch, which is the hallmark of a good spin off. Of course why you haven't read Windows yet makes me give you the squinty eye and wonder what's wrong with you.
Great story and great job Billy. Oh and Billy dear, it really was so kind of you to do this for me. Now when you create Luca and Rocky's story feel free to create Sig Other in their image as well. Oh and if you are contemplating ethnicity's for your heroine, I'm also of German and Scottish descent, just so you know.
I got kinda fancy and created the title with a hyperlink in the beginning but if it doesn't open you can find Billy's book and it's description at Beautiful Trouble Publishing.
Janet (or is it Lydia...ummmm)