30 Days by GR Case is a dark vengeance thriller following ex-military Marcus Freling, an honorably discharged young veteran, enjoying a quiet life in his Harlem neighborhood with his beloved sister Diane and teenage niece Tonisha, both of whom he has dedicated himself to looking after as their only other family. Their peaceful lives are shattered when Troy, a local drug dealer, lets an execution remorselessly claim the fourteen-year-old Tonisha as collateral damage. Ripples spread through their fear-stricken community as Detective Steve Rodgers takes on the case, falling short of each snuffed-out witness and missing leads. Marcus’s anguish turn to anger as he vows bloody revenge on the murderer responsible himself.
GR Case brings an emotional tale in 30 Days. He examines the problems faced by young people in the US today with the growing problem of shootings and murders, especially with school-aged children. The lackadaisical, everyday attitude held by every official towards ‘just another murder’, maybe especially in African-American communities, is frightening in its complete believability; a cop talks about reporting bodies while chowing down a burger, a detective carries on writing his reports while an old woman tells him about her nightmares from witnessing a child dying before her eyes. The broken environment presented is heartbreaking in its accuracy to real life, and the characters frequently and smoothly introduced feel absolutely real making the investigation deep and compelling as a cohesive image. The murder represents something deep, and whether characters do something or nothing it has consequences to the well-woven story.
The book takes a truly chilling turn as the pain in Marcus grows, leading to a chase for Tonisha’s killer that turns more and more savage; his inner pains are realized with his loss and frustration at an apathetic and ineffectual justice system, tinged with the background oppression of his community throughout. His hunt becomes raw and all-consuming, the damage growing out of control as he nears his goal of finding the killer, and sympathy the reader holds turns to a gradual fear of the person Marcus becomes – someone chillingly similar to Troy himself, or worse. With a flavor of the likes of stories such as the movie “Prisoners” and living out the kind of rage many of us feel when we hear of these kinds of tragedies, Case dives headlong into the emotional battleground to study what kinds of demons could lie in wait when we take justice into our own hands.
Overall the plot is strong and builds well with layers of intrigue from each different character to give a varied look at the case from each angle. The writing begins to shine as the book explores itself and the action becomes visceral and tense. The climax of the book is rightly horrifying but well balanced and built up reasonably to a point that a wary reader won’t find themselves out of their depth. The fantastic eye-catching cover of a bloody calendar really sets it apart and showcases this work as a bloody thriller. This book has original insight and is an exciting read once you become properly invested, meaning 30 Days has potential to do well in the hungry crime novel market, especially given its topic is especially pertinent in the news today.
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