Black Oil, Red Blood by Diane Castle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I could not ask for a more effective reader’s hook than the Prologue of “Black Oil, Red Blood.” No possible way a reader could turn away from this novel after reading just the first few sentences-but even better, the entire Prologue rocks with excitement, danger, and potential fatality, with character, revelation, superb plot and setting. Amazingly, this is Author Castle’s debut novel! It’s almost too much to expect to find great writing, enjoyable characters (some of which inspired me to laugh out loud despite the serious circumstances), plotting whose torque is tightened till it almost squeaks (that means darn good plotting and layers upon layers of concealed secrets), a setting that is drawn with such attention to detail yet with subtle brushstrokes it makes this reviewer want to shout “Hallelujah!” What all this comes down to is: do NOT miss this novel, Gentle Readers! I don’t care what your position is on Big Oil, the economy, natural resources, or litigation-you simply must read this book.
Attorney Chloe Taylor hoes a hard row in the petroleum backwater of Kettle, Texas, a tiny town where Big Oil is King-and Queen-and Emperor. Kettle is a community where the most a person can look forward to is finding out which type of cancer will be one’s demise, because if you work at PetroPlex, which fully half the town does, you’re going to come down with some kind of terminal health crisis. Chloe’s game is to win damages on wrongful death settlements, but she’s playing David to an enormous Goliath-and PetroPlex doesn’t want to pay out, and especially not to air its secrets. If Chloe isn’t extremely careful-well, the next wrongful death just might be her own.
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