Bookshots: ‘The Fury of Blacky Jaguar’ by Angel Luis Colon
Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review
The Fury of Blacky Jaguar
Who wrote it?
Angel Luis Colon is an editor at Shotgun Honey, winner of the inaugural AJ Hayes Writing Contest for ‘Shotgun Wedding’ and Derringer Award nominee for his short story ‘Separation Anxiety’, and is currently working on his novel ‘Hell Chose Me’. His writing has appeared in numerous print and online sites.
Plot in a Box:
Blacky Jaguar is pissed. Someone’s stolen Polly, his mint condition 1959 Plymouth Fury and he’s prepared to do anything to get it back. Unfortunately, his antics come to the attention of Special Agent Linda Chen, current leper at the FBI and Blacky’s former girlfriend. Now all she has to do is find him before he initiates the nuclear option.
Invent a new title for this book:
I would call it: Give Me My Fuckin’ Car Back
Read this if you liked:
Drive by James Sallis or Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane
Meet the book’s lead:
To say Blacky (not his real name) Jaguar’s past is “colorful” would be an understatement. A career criminal with a pompadour, cigarette dangling from his mouth and an Irish accent, his exploits in the Bronx are legendary and so hot he’s been laying low for the past few years. His reputation for causing major damage has him on a lot of lists, not least the FBI’s watch list, for the last job he did in New York.
Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:
I could see this played by Matthew McConaughey or a young Liam Neeson (prior to his "I will find you and I will kill you” days).
Setting: would you want to live there?
Set in the seedy underside of the Bronx, I’d have to say it’s allure is hard to grasp, so no.
What was your favorite sentence?
I should shoot you again for making me come out to Staten Island.
This is a tight gem of a novella with characters that I found myself liking despite obvious flaws or a suspect moral code. Blacky is an archetypal criminal with a code of honor that makes his decisions easy, but not necessarily the best; they tend toward the violent side of things. Somehow he still inspires the reader to like him. On the other side of the coin, Special Agent Chen is, shall we say, ‘complicated’, but also keen to do the right thing, regardless of her standing in the local FBI field office.
Between them the story is compelling, and I had to keep reminding myself that it starts with the theft of a car – a classic, mint-condition 1959 Plymouth Fury, true, but still a car. That’s the point, isn’t it? “The Fury of Blacky Jaguar” (see what he did there?) is an excellent study of how one man reacts and the consequences of those actions.
Not having read any of Angel’s work before, I was unsure what to expect. What I got was a fast-paced story that was hard to put down. If anything, it left me wanting more. While the characters are familiar, they aren’t cardboard cutouts – I thought this was well written and a good take on the genre. And, perhaps needless to say, I will be looking for more, and am already anticipating his upcoming novel.
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