Red Queen: A new release thriller
Red Queen #1 by Juan Gomez-Jurado
Publish Date: March 14, 2023; 384 pages
Originally published in Spain, 2018
Thanks to #netgalley and #stmartinspressminotaur for this advance copy. The opinions are my own.
First Sentence(s): " Jon Gutierrez doesn't like stairs. It's not a question of aesthetics. These stairs are old (he saw the building dates from 1901); they creak and are bowed in the middle after 119 years of use, but they are solid, well looked after, and varnished. . . . . What Jon hates about stairs is having to climb them."
PLOT - FROM GOODREADS
"Antonia Scott—the daughter of a British diplomat and a Spanish mother—has a gifted forensic mind, whose ability to reconstruct crimes and solve baffling murders is legendary. But after a personal trauma, she's refused to continue her work or even leave her apartment.
Jon Gutierrez, a police officer in Bilbao—disgraced, suspended, and about to face criminal charges—is offered a chance to salvage his career by a secretive organization that works in the shadows to direct criminal investigations of a highly sensitive nature. All he has to do is succeed where many others have failed: Convince a recalcitrant Antonia to come out of her self-imposed retirement, protecting her and helping her investigate a new, terrifying case.
The case is a macabre, ritualistic murder—a teen-aged boy from a wealthy family whose body was found without a drop of blood left in it. But the murder is just the start. A high-ranking executive and daughter of one of the richest men in Spain is kidnapped, a crime which is tied to the previous murder. Behind them both is a hidden mastermind with even more sinister plans. And the only person with a chance to see the connections, solve the crimes and successfully match wits with the killer before tragedy strikes again...is Antonia Scott."
"As he edges forward in the dark, Jon is acutely aware of his body, back and arms pressed against the wall, his only reference point. His every muscle tensed. His stomach an empty knot pushing against his diaphragm. His heart beating wildly, his blood pounding in his ears. His jaw aching from gritting his teeth so tightly. His eyes thirsty for information. His splayed fingers feeling every damp patch. The world is an abyss, and the darkness offers no refuge, only dangers."
I loved this book. It's a page-turner with tons of action. Jon and Antonia are great characters, especially as we learn their back stories. I started out thinking Antonia was just an ultra smart weirdo, maybe on the spectrum. Then I learn more. I thought Jon was a guy who didn't show great judgment - then I learned more. I found the murder case creepy, a bit graphic sometimes, but interesting and the villain was weird and diabolical. All in all, a good read that I didn't want to put down.
I loved the setting in Spain - there were plenty of local references to remind you that it's set in this beautiful country. This is part of a trilogy and I can't imagine how it proceeds after the ending of this one, but I hope the translation happens soon, because I'm ready for it! Definitely recommended.
Cloak & Dagger: 12/36+
European Reading: 2/10
Literary Escape US: 5/51 (10 bonus)
Read the world: 10/197 (Spain)
COYER 1st semester: 22 books