A Review of Romeo’s Rules by James Scott Bell
This is the first time I’m reading a novel by James Scott Bell. I have two of his bestselling books about writing that are sitting on my bookshelf (Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure and Write Great Fiction – Revision & Self- Editing) so I knew I was in for a treat.
Let’s meet Mike Romeo, a man on the run from some trouble in Texas only to find more trouble and his past catching up with him in L.A. He is staying with Ira Rosen, his gregarious friend, former Mossad, current rabbi, and lawyer. Things take a turn when Mike’s on a morning run and while stopping to talk to a woman about flowers, a church explodes. He rushes in to help only to find a guy murdered inside it and a beautiful and distraught woman, Natalia Mayne has lost her kids.
The story takes a lot of twists and turns with Mike being kidnapped, tortured, wrangling his way out with a few dead bodies along the way. His intellect baffles the bad guys who have no clue what he is talking about when he spews off Latin words and quotes from various books. He possesses that great combination of brains and brawn, and good looks too.
Overall, I loved the storyline. James Scott Bell did a great job: descriptive scenes, character development, motivation, smart dialogue, and realistic fight scenes. I enjoyed some similes evoking a nice visual: “Feeling like a romance cover, I pulled what was left of my T-shirt over my middle and walked Natalia inside.” I also enjoyed the banter between Mike and Ira as they both tried to figure out who was after Mike and why. According to Natalia, it was her ex-husband but was that really the truth? The journey to the truth was quite a surprise!
This is a must read. Two thumbs up!
Some of my favorite lines:
I sat on the bench next to her. “How about we let Ira do what he does and you tell me about your husband, what was it, Mark?”
“Ex-husband.” She said it with a mix of anger and fear. An emotional cocktail. There’s a theory from the Gnostics about reading the soul, that it is done through the eyes and is seen most clearly when the two observers are similar in nature.
If that was true, I was seeing something of myself in Natalia Mayne. Someone who wanted to get along if she could, but if she was pushed was going to push back, and hard.
“You’ve heard of Mark David Mayne,” she said.
“Haven’t heard of him.”
“Do you know how mad he’d be if he heard you say that?”
“And that should concern me why?”
“Because he’s a man who does not like to lose at anything.”
“I can relate to that,” I said.
Rating: 4.5 stars