Updated: Jan 6
by Nat Chelloni
After her mobster husband disappears, presumed murdered, barely half a year into their marriage, Julia Leonardi has distanced herself from her Mafia roots. Domenico Bonacci, whose Father was a Mafia Don, has also renounced the life to become a successful businessman. When their paths cross, it unleashes a passion neither can resist but will the past remain the past?...
A Favor For A Favor is a rollercoaster ride of pure escapism. It’s an accomplished, gripping and a thoroughly enjoyable read. From the very outset, the plot twists keep coming but they are credible, well-constructed and thought through. As the novel flows, it’s easy to underestimate just how nuanced and complex the story is. You can see some of the developments coming but Ms Chelloni’s prose is so captivating, it’s interesting to see how they style out. The chemistry between Dom and Julia is electric and believable. Their scenes are well-realised without being overly gratuitous. Ms Chelloni switches narrative so that the reader is given both Julia and Dom’s point of view which provides a nice change in tempo as the novel is pretty pacey.
Given the subject matter, I was concerned that the novel would veer into caricature; but it doesn’t. All the Mafia characters are portrayed in a restrained yet authentic manner with none becoming pantomime Dons as is often the case. This was enhanced by the inclusion of a number of non-Italian characters close to Dom, such as the Mendoza brothers and Mat Lomax. Another strength of the novel was the dialogue; it was naturally genuine and I thought Dom had some wonderfully insightful lines without being cliched. In regard to Julia and Dom’s character arcs, these are convincingly developed. I was concerned towards the end that it was getting a touch saccharine and cosy but the plot toughens up again as it rushes headlong to the conclusion which, although a little neat, was still satisfying. Notwithstanding, Ms Chelloni cleverly leaves it open-ended, working reader imagination and hinting at the possibility of a second book which I would not hesitate to read.
A Favor For A Favor is a well-written, addictive and exciting novel which is hard to put down. An outstanding debut that is highly recommended.
I received A Favor For A Favor through Reedsy Discovery, where this review can be seen here Buy from: