A mix of POVs and information. Mostly, everyone is regrouping and catching up, so I went ahead and read six chapters. Ash and Mauricio slip the FBI and determine they must fix the mess instead of running away. We meet FBI special agent Graves who has a history with Cleo, if you know what I mean. And I think you do. They check out the preacher's house where Ash escaped from Andres and his men in he beginning and piece together the events directly preceding the story opener. And, finally, we meet Prez. He calls on a hitman? a cleaner? to kill Andres, who had killed two of Prez's men in the process of abducting Mauricio.
So, like I said. It's mostly downtime and regrouping. Not much more than talking gets done. Most of the prior missing events are filled in. The one thing I still don't get is why Prez had gotten involved. Or why Ash originally agreed to deal with Andres over the Spider at all. I'm pretty sure it was another one of his scams that Prez was in on, but why, given how superstitious Ash had been about the Spider? It's kinda the reason he bailed on everyone he knew, but now he just forms schemes around it, bold as you please? Something's not adding up--like there's a personal angle missing. I would be disappointed if it were otherwise.
A few words on Cleo and Graves. They seem to have chemistry and this reflects well through her demeanor around him--he's the serious one and she tells the jokes. It's nice to see her in conversation with someone as competent and professional about the case as she is, working together and not against. It just makes me feel like Ash still has growing up to do, and he's not emotionally ready for any relationship outside his fraternal one with Mauricio. Did I just psychoanalyze a fictional character? Yes, I did. But we all know the hero gets the girl and you can't always depend on straight arrows.
Oh, and Graves is black. Which officially makes Cleo the only major character to remain ambiguous. Why? I ask the question as a writer and not to be flip. These are decisions we have to make, to effects we don't have total control over. I interpret Cleo as intentionally ethnically ambiguous for maximum desirability. Whatever you want her to be, she is. Someone else might interpret her as Latina, or biracial, or black, or even white, since her skin tone is never stated as has been the case for every single major character. My writer's mind wonders at the reasons for this, or if it just wasn't given as much thought as I'm giving it here. I wonder at my own choices and how I would've approached it. Once you start assigning ethnicities, where can you safely stop?
But let me not give the wrong impression. Race is incidental here. The romance angle is minor, so far. This is an action-suspense thriller with a mildly supernatural mystery, and I actually like it that way. We're nearly halfway through, and I'm not expecting anyone to make out or start shooting lightning bolts from heir fingertips.
Cleo wants Andres to face justice, Prez just wants him dead, Andres wants the Spider, Mauricio wants to just get rid of it, while Ash wants to break the curse and end this whole thing once and for all. The puzzle is coming together, a showdown looms, the suspense is building!
How will it all end?