Foul Shot: R. L. Cherry
An unobstructed shot from the foul line. A play receives one point if successful. But, life is more than just taking a shot from a line a certain distance away from a basketball hoop. All too often that one important shot is does not have a clear pathway, there are others blocking it from going into that golden hoop and life brings so rebounds, missed shots and personal fouls that will cause you to have to restrategize goals and you plans for success. Powerful, compelling and forceful you are passionate about your wants, needs and within seconds you are enveloped in a situation that will send you on a downward spiral and facing your innermost insecurities, doubt your life’s choices and finding your way to achieving that perfect Foul Shot.
Chicago Police Detective Vince Bonelli hoping to start his day on positive note. But, events from the past are about to engulf him in the present as his girlfriend Gina, concerned about his safety suggests he wears his bulletproof vest. A noted mafia boss is the center of this conversation as Gina fears for Vince’s life knowing he is after Frank Calmonico without revealing why she is so passionate about the vest. Partner Phil watching his back they drive to the stakeout area and what happens next will change everything for Vince. A sting gone bad, a lone driver on a bike, guns fired and aimed and the target is done. But, not the one the bullet was intended for. Powerful, compelling, heartfelt and enlightening as Vince peers at the shooter and cannot believe whom it is.
Sal’s bakery is the scene of a chance meeting between Vince and Gina. Love at first sight or planned love for a purpose you decide? Sometimes you fall hard just because you want to find someone and are desperate or sometimes the connection is there and you won’t fight fate. Throughout the start of the book we get to know Gina and how she was able to infiltrate herself in Vince’s life. Creating situations that would bring them together, yet never really giving away any information about herself, Gina was able to envelop this man into her life, embrace him in every way yet keeping her main plans a secret in the back of her mind. As Vince reveals his childhood friendship with Frank Calmonico and a call involving a young child whose mother was killed, we learn about a connection that severed ten years ago. A child whose revenge runs deep within her veins and who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Coldhearted, lack of feeling, emotionless and yet she fools the world with her appearance, demeanor and actions not caring how she goes about getting achieving her goals. But, there is much more as Vince lies in the hospital, one lone visitor there besides his family and the truth about the shooter comes out but he refuses to tell. Recoveries are often long and hard and his required time in the hospital and time away from his job as the end result flashes back to a small time hustler named Jimmy Donatelli, how he worked the system to get protected and the reason behind what is revealed next. Money laundering, business venture gone bad and deals made with the Assistant State Attorney for immunity and entrance into the Witness Protection Program. Connections are about to be made, more obstacles and hurdles to overcome as Vince, his partner Phil and an unknown shooter decide it is time to take out Frank once and for all. But, the best laid plans are not always the final result and the words of a ten year old ring out loud and clear: “The weed of a crime bears bitter fruit,” the Shadow always says. Promising to be her Shadow, Vince promised this young child at the scene of her mother’s death he would make the man pay. Too many players, too many loopholes and things change as the Assistant State Attorney comes into the room and the situation changes or you might say goes dark for Vince.
Throughout the novel the author relates different police practices, many emotions that Vince endures as he makes promises to help so many and yet fails. Failure is something that is part of life but the choices you make are your own and reflect on who and what you are. Listening to Eldon talk Vince has a harsh reality and has to decide his next move. A chance meeting or a setup that would change many lives? Why was he so obsessed with Gina? What’s her story? A letter would bring the truth to light and a man would pay for his crimes.
A priest is someone who one is “authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God; specifically: an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyman ranking below a bishop and above a deacon,” according to dictionary .com. When Vince leaves the hospital he leaves his past behind and decides to begin again. The Priesthood is where he finds his calling but is this right for him or is he hiding from his past failures, his wants and needs hoping to fulfill a dream his mother had for him and not pursuing his own? Learning about his parish and meeting some of the parishioners, Vince tries to establish himself as someone they can talk with, speak to freely during confession, help when in trouble and hopefully make a difference within the community. But, each time he picks up a wad of paper and shoots it some shots land within that hoop and others fall short. Once again we hear his voice, his hopes and then we learn about a man named Ramon and a parishioner named Evita that seeks his guidance and help. Former cop, now priest Vince tries to convince her to go to the police about this man. Revealing her past changes things and Vince decides to handle it on his own. But, gratitude is one thing and forgetting your vows are another as his thoughts revert back to Gina and the incident ignites his passion and the end result will change his life again. Every time Vince fails or stumbles back he drinks trying to bury his failures within the recesses of his mind and not facing them head on. Losing face with Evita, failing to help the mother of a young boy, not answering his phone allow readers to understand that he was many flaws and weaknesses in his character and his obsession with finding and needing Gina are so overpowering it is affecting everything he does.
With the guidance of Father Tim, his closest ally, Vince makes another move and heads off hoping to find Gina and protect her. Returning after ten years, airing their feelings yet winding up alone. Failure to help find Juan the young man who went missing from his church to wind up in the morgue and failure to control his desires when helping Evita leads him down a path of no return.
Justice is often served in many different ways and some decide to take it into their own hands. Pursuing another by harassing them, cruel treatment and persistent threats lets readers know that someone out there is going to play judge, jury and persecutor making sure that not only Vince but Gina pays for his failures too. Before Vince can reconcile his own life he has to forgive himself for the past in order to deal with the present. But, one phone call will change it all, a trip to the confessional endangers his life and Vince embarks on another leg of his life as he disavows the priesthood, decides on another path and hopes that within his new journey he will correct his failures, understand his future and save someone he cares about.
Thinking through his strategy he hones in one his former partner and hopes that he will provide the answers and help he needs. But, sometimes things are not what they seem and a fake shot to the right might just through off that perfect rebound on the left. Learning more Gina, her whereabouts and how she entered the Witness Protection Program required that someone help him locate her but will they? The safety of so many is vital and divulging this information could cost lives.
Learning more about the program we learn more about Gina as they team up to take down those that have cost them so much and taken away someone dear to them both. With Gina’s computer and hacking skills, security system which she designed can they keep the killers at bay, will they be able to foil their plans and will they be able to rescue the one person that links them together?
A plan quite intricate and an author that takes readers inside the minds of many killers, within the walls of the hideouts as we experience the rush, the excitement and the tension and some humor as Gina and Vince banter back and forth, act like two kids who need many time outs but for some reason are drawn together hoping to make that perfect three point shot.
Penance: allowing yourself to confess your sins with the intention of paying for them. Forgiveness: An ending that you won’t expect and a twist that comes right out of a Stephen King novel or Alfred Hitchcock movie as Gina and Vince race the clock, hope to outsmart the killers but learn some hidden secrets that will either destroy their love or bind them forever. What happens you will have to learn for yourself. What their final fate is and if they rescue the person they both care for the most you will have to experience the scene along with them as author R.L. Cherry leaves many questions unanswered, many twists yet to unwind as he makes you wonder: What is next for Vince? Will Gina remain in his life or will she disappear? What will give them both that perfect: Foul Shot? Characters uniquely depicted, a plot that is fast paced, filled with surprises. Will Vince be Gina’s permanent Shadow? Find out!
Let’s give this one: since a foul shot gets one point and perfect long distance one gets three: One three pointer and two perfect foul shots for this author.