Cover Image: Black Wolf

Black Wolf

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Member Reviews

Antonia Scott and Jon Gutierrez are back in this fast paced, heart pounding sequel to Red Queen! Wonderful pacing, great plot, and lots of twists and turns that will keep readers hooked.

Scott and Gutierrez are back on a case and this time they are on the crosshairs of a mysterious hired assassin, known as the Black Wolf. In a race against time, they must solve two seemingly unconnected murders to not only escape the Black Wolf but to also save the actual intended target.

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Thank you Minotaur Books, #partner, for the advanced copy of Black Wolf in exchange for my honest review.

This is the second book in Juan Gomez-Jurado’s Antonia Scott trilogy, and it just might be my new obsession! I loved book one, Red Queen, and this second one was just as good, if not better, than the first. I’m so glad these books are being translated into English!

I loved being back with Antonia and Jon Gutierrez. There is just something about their unlikely partnership that works so well. This time around, they find themselves with quite a complicated case and of course don’t always see eye to eye with the other police agencies they must work with. The case is pretty high stakes, considering the Spanish Mafia are involved, and there is a lot of action, but of course it’s also a pretty dark and graphic book. Again, if you like the Millenium series featuring Liz Salander or the Joona Linna series by Lars Kepler, these books will be just perfect for you!

What I really appreciated in this particular installment is that not only do I feel we as the reader got to know Antonia better, but we were doing that alongside Jon. They are still relatively new to each other, but have developed such a great bond and have really come to care for each other – platonically speaking of course. Their friendship really works to help them keep each other sane…and the humor that ensues because of this at times is just hysterical, which is a nice break from the overall dark tone of the book.

A fast-paced, action-filled story that ends with quite the cliff-hanger, this is one series not to miss! And now I’ll just be waiting ever-so-patiently to get my hands on that third book!

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Thanks to St. Martin’s and Netgalley for the advanced copy. This is the second book in a series, and I recommend you read them in order. This was a worthy follow up to the series starter, Red Queen. Jon and Antonia continue to work together on special cases, while Antonia continues to battle her demons. I’m enjoying the series feminist slant, in which women are often the victors and survivors. Definitely recommend this if you’ve read the first book.

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I listened to this audiobook in one sitting as I was thrust back into Antonia Scott's world. I love the intelligence behind this series and the action and adventure that take place as much in the mind as in the body. Jon and Antonia have such a fun working relationship and I love the way he draws her out of her shell.

In this novel we meet another intriguing character in Lola Moreno and I enjoyed her role in the story. She's another strong female character and doesn't make the best choices, but she has reasons for being the way she is. Antonia proves her brilliance and worth once again as the Red Queen in solving the case and taking down the Black Wolf. The author noted that they will be back and I can't wait for the next book!

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The author's first book in the series, Red Queen, was a favorite of mine last year. But I must say, this one wasn't as good. At least, I didn't enjoy it as much as its debut until the last quarter of the book.
Action-packed, at least the pace was decent, but I could not relate to the new characters. They were very unlikable, and while that usually does not deter me from enjoying a book, it didn't work for me in this case. Too bad, because I really want to continue with the trilogy and find out how the author wraps it up. I'm really hoping the third one will impress me more than this second installment. All in all, I gave it three stars, but only because of its potential. If it was a stand-alone, there's a chance this would be a dnf for me, unfortunately.

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“Black Wolf” is the second book in Juan Gomez-Jurado’s trilogy about a secretive investigative group used by several European countries. The Red Queen Project works behind the scenes to collaborate with police in cases that are too extreme, too violent, too threatening for the police to deal with alone. Each unit consists of a leader, a genius, and an investigator. In this Spanish unit, the leader is known only as Mentor. Antonia Scott is the genius—the smartest woman in the world and the Red Queen of the group. John Gutierrez, a disgraced Bilbao police officer, is the investigator. Their charter stipulates that they must work behind the scenes only.
“Black Wolf” finds Antonia and Jon on a case that involves the Russian mafia, money laundering, and human trafficking. A key mafia figure has been brutally murdered, and his pregnant diabetic wife Lola is on the run from a dangerous contract killer aka Black Wolf. Antonia and Jon must find her before the killer does, or before her lack of insulin becomes a major problem.
Gomez-Jurado’s is at his best in defining the interactions between the characters. Jon and Antonia have a special relationship where he is her protector, her work partner, her best friend. Theirs is almost a love relationship, except that Jon is gay. The local police dislike having this special-ops unit assigned to the case and do everything they can to thwart them.
I was eager to read this book after enjoying the “Red Queen” so much. The writing is exceptional—gory, intelligent, witty, interesting. Although this book did not grip me as his first did, I still look forward to reading the last part of this trilogy.
My thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Juan Gomez-Jurado for an advanced copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

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4.5 stars. Not as strong as the first in the trilogy, but still a great read! A bit slow at times, probably because the case Antonia and Jon are working on isn't as interesting as the case from the first book, but the ending made up for it. Antonia grows in this novel, both personally and in her relationships. I am looking forward to reading the conclusion of the trilogy.

Antonia Scott has an unusually gifted mind, able to see what others miss, able to solve the crimes that baffle all others. The only thing she fears is herself.

Antonia is the lynchpin of the Red Queen project, created to work behind the scenes to solve the most devious and dangerous crimes. But she is unwilling to move past the last case, convinced it’s related to a personal tragedy, until a series of deadly events pulls her back in. In southern Spain, in the Costa del Sol, a key mafia figure is found brutally murdered in his villa, his pregnant wife, Lola Moreno, barely escapes an attempt to kill her in a shopping mall and is on the run. A shipping container from St. Petersburg arrives in port in Spain containing the corpses of nine woman, all who suffocated. Now Antonia, with the help of her helper and protector, Jon Gutierrez, must track down this missing Lola. But they aren’t the only ones on Lola’s trail – a dangerous contract killer, known as the Black Wolf, is also on her trail. And Antonia Scott, still plagued by her personal demons, must outwit, out-maneuver, and, ultimately, face this terrible, mysterious rival.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

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After reading RED QUEEN, I am a bit disappointed in this sequel. The characters are still interesting but the plot concerning the mafia just didn’t work as well for me. There was lots of running around but nothing gets accomplished. Hopefully the third novel in this trilogy will be better.

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Publishing Group for the ARC to read and review.

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Black Wolf is a mystery/thriller, the sequel to the hit, best-seller Red Queen. Jon and Antonia are back with a new case that brings them in the line of fire with the Russian mafia. Antonia just wants to determine whether her archenemy actually died, but her obligation to the organization is pulling her in another direction. At the same time, Jon is trying to carefully manage Antonia and comes to discover that she is harboring a secret.

This book is not as fast paced as the last one but I still enjoyed the storytelling, the dry humor, and the character development. The characters are utterly charming. There are some surprises in store at the end. And unraveling the mystery will make perfect sense as you go along but you'll be scratching your head, wondering how Antonia will get them out of every pickle.

I am really anticipating the next book in this series. I heard that this book series is being turned into a tv show and I just cannot believe that they can hold onto the charm tat is contained in the writing of these books. One thing that I love about these books is that while each book contains a mystery, there is an overarching meta-mystery that is slowly moved forward with each book.

I highly recommend this book. I can see myself re-reading this series in the future. It's just that good!

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Black Wolf is a worth follow on to Red Queen. Jon and Antonia characters continue to develop, and we learn more about the "project". This is a great series for fans of the genre.

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Do you know the worst thing about book series? The year long (sometimes longer) wait between installments. Considering Black Wolf, if my Spanish were more adequate, I could have read the entire series already, but my Spanish is bad enough that it could have taken me a year to read it! And, considering that last sentence, sometimes my English is just that bad too! 😉

Anyway, I was very much looking forward to Black Wolf, the sequel to last year’s fantastic Red Queen (which is now a series on Amazon!) and wasn’t let down.

Antonia Scott and her partner, Jon Gutierrez, have been assigned to a case involving the murder of a member of the Russian mafia. They must find his wife, Lola Moreno, who has fled from the murder attempt on her life but who also is pregnant, diabetic, and may have information that could help the police convict the leaders of the mafia in this small port town. As they investigate, they discover the tragic scene of victims of human trafficking in a shipping container and unintentionally meet the very lethal Black Wolf.

One of the strongest components of Black Wolf is the relationship between Antonia and Jon, which is platonic because Jon is gay, but has elements of love regardless. Jon is Antonia’s non-blood big brother, who adores her and her brilliant mind, yet also accepts that despite her brilliant mind, she has deep flaws she needs to work through, often with his unwanted assistance. And, I pretty much adore Jon. I love his self-deprecating humor, his turn of phrase, his style and taste. Their conversations are a pleasure as sarcasm and logic overlap.

The storytelling is excellent. I enjoyed Juan Gómez-Jurado’s observations, descriptions, and quirky turns of phrase. Also, the story kept me on my toes, providing enough unexpected twists to maintain and increase interest.

If I were to complain about something, it would be that Black Wolf ends on a cliffhanger, my most disliked ending in the world. Seriously, you already had me as a fan. You didn’t have to put a character in the lurch to keep me reading. Argh!

I am looking forward to the last installment in the trilogy, might even feel anxious enough to improve my Spanish and read the original. haha

Many thanks to Minotaur Books for sending me a copy.

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Black Wolf is the second novel in the Red Queen series featuring Antonio Scott and Detective Jon Gutierrez by Juan Gomez-Jurado. Gomez-Jurado continues with his original creation of novels focused on the Red Queen project in a novel that is as good as the first.

Throughout the novel, Gomez-Jurado continues to build upon the already compelling and complex relationship between Scott and Guitierrez. The two continue to grow closer but because they are not completely honest with the other, friction does develop within the pairing.

Scott is still haunted by events from the first novel, especially since the body of a previously introduced villain has never been discovered,, Scott still believes her nemesis is still alive and hunting her, while others believe otherwise. Guitierrez, with issues of his own, starts to become disenchanted with the deceit not only by Scott but also by Mentor, causing him to consider walking away from the entire Red Queen program.

In Black Wolf, dangerously mysterious figures are hunting the wife of a mafia member after missing money handled by the husband has vanished.

Scott and Gutierrez are then tasked by Mentor, the Red Queen program administrator, to find the woman because otherwise, the entire Red Queen program will be in jeopardy.

The novel then follows the pair as they try to locate the missing woman, as well as participate in the investigation of a number of women found dead in a shipping container, all the while receiving open hostility and no assistance whatsoever from local authorities.

Soon, the two realize that not only are they the hunters, but also the hunted, as Juan Gomez-Jurado continues to introduce more lethal characters and further develop the sometimes prickly relationship between Scott and Guiterrez.

Gomez-Jurado has created an enjoyable series of books and wonderfully avoids any sort of cliched romance or sexual tension between the two leads, while at the same time, making them individually interesting within plots that are creative and new.

The Red Queen series is highly recommended to those who enjoy novels with well-developed characters and wide-ranging plots.

Readers should also know a dramatization of the first novel is now available through streaming.

Netgalley provided an ARC for review upon the return of an honest review.

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Thank you St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for allowing me to read and review Black Wolf on NetGalley.

Published: 03/12/24

Stars: 2.5

Sadly, I'm not connecting with the story. I received the E-book and after reading 20% and retaining nothing I searched for and found the audiobook on Libby. After not thinking about this, particularly the cover (It screams pick me up, look at me.) I started fresh with the audiobook. The result is the same. I just hear tidbits. Mentally I am wore out.

Given the overall 4+ rating I am the outlier. I'm okay with that. Every book has a target, and I'm not part of Black Wolf's.

I would gift this in a basket with a bottle and cheese.

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The second book in the Red Queen thriller series, Black Wolf is maybe even better than the first. The heroes fall into the Holmes/Watson school of mystery solvers. Antonia is the Sherlock figure - brilliant, prone to overstimulation, self-medicated, and generally unfit for human company - while Jon is the stolid, even-keeled Watson figure who is part partner, part babysitter. The writing is pitch-perfect, even in translation from the Spanish, mixing humor and affection with non-stop action, 3 dimensional villains, and a complicated plot. Also like Holmes and Watson, the relationship between Antonia and Jon is as much a pleasure as the action sequences. This second book is more international conspiracy thriller than police story, and that seems to be the direction the series is heading. It's simply a lot of fun to read.

I'm very much looking forward to the next book.

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This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart


Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Antonia Scott series is set in Europe, in Spain. Antonia and her partner, Jon, are sort of government agency law enforcement but a special program. Jon is gay; he has had some issues with trying too hard to get the bad guys. Rather than jailing him, he works with Antonia. Antonia has a high IQ. She is excellent with deductions and her unit uses special drugs to enhance her abilities.

I like the main characters. We get some of their personal aspects and stories as they work together. Antonia has a son who lives with her father. Her husband was injured and is in the hospital. Antonia is also preoccupied with some loose ends from the last case.

Antonia and Jon are in a smaller town looking for the wife of a Russian mobster. The wife, Lola, is pregnant and diabetic. There is a good chance the mob bosses want to kill her as they have just murdered her husband. In fact, it seems they may have hired the Black Wolf, an assassin to take her out. We follow her journey of trying to hide from killers without money or anyone to trust.

The local cops are not happy to see Antonia and Jon and would get rid of them if they could. It seems odd since Antonia and Jon never take credit and might be a great help. In fact, they do help and learn a lot of things about the mobsters and why Yuri and Lola became targets.

The Black Wolf is another point of view we get. I didn't understand it was her thoughts until later. Her thoughts are mostly historical about the little girl in the ashes. I first thought they were Lola's history. Lola came from a poor place and her chance to better herself was to marry well, which she did. She loved her husband.

There is a huge action scene when all the players manage to get together in a remote location during a blizzard. Plenty of twists in this story. Things are not what one thinks. The very ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, going back to the case from the first book, Red Queen.

There is also a TV show, just starting, based on this series called Red Queen on Amazon Prime.

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BLACK WOLF by Juan Gómez-Jurado (Red Queen) is the second action-packed novel featuring Antonia Scott and it, too, is excellent. Although diminutive in stature, Antonia is a giant in intellect, observation, and analysis; she is trained and manipulated by Mentor in her role as part of a select cadre of international law enforcement. Her partner, Jon Gutiérrez, is a large ("He is not fat ..."), gay, and formerly disgraced police inspector who is very brave and loyal. Together, they are tasked with helping to find a pregnant woman on the run, Lola Moreno. As the body count mounts, Scott and Guiterrez confront the Beast (Aslan Orlov), local leader of the Russian mafia operating in Spain, near Madrid. Lola's gunned down husband was deemed a traitor to Orlov's organization and now Orlov is determined to find and kill Lola, so he calls in the Black Wolf, Chernaya Volchista. Readers will devour this thriller in a few days, appreciating Gómez-Jurado's skills at narration while developing and sustaining suspense. He could easily be describing his own writing when Gómez-Jurado explains, "that's the way it is with Antonia: to get to know her, you have to fit together pieces of the puzzle with the small details you pick up on and don't blink or you'll miss it." BLACK WOLF ends with a cliffhanger and I am eagerly awaiting the third entry in this series, The White King, (due out next Spring). Highly recommended.

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A thriller lover's thriller. The second book in the Red Queen series but WOW!. These characters guarantee an excellent journey from crime to solve and some killer twists along the way. While Juan Gomez-Jurado may not be as well known as James Patterson, his characters and plot lines rival Patterson's best.

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Book Review: Black Wolf, Antonia Scott #2 by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia
Published by St. Martin's Press & Minotaur Books, March 12, 2024

★★★★★ (5.0 Stars!)

For this review, I read the first two books of the trilogy: Macmillan Audio's production of "Red Queen", Antonia Scott #1 (2022), narrated by none other than multiple-award winner Scott Brick; followed by this advance review e-Galley of "Black Wolf", Antonia Scott #2 (2024), courtesy of St. Martin's Press & Minotaur.

"Black Wolf" is best read not as a standalone novel, but as a sequel to "Red Queen", as Book 1 sets the basis for the trilogy and includes key background insights on the development of Antonia Scott and the concept of Red Queen, a lifetime's endeavor no less than 10 years in the making according to author Gómez-Jurado.

This review covers the English versions of both Antonia Scott Books 1 & 2 by Juan Gómez-Jurado.

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"Red Queen", Antonia Scott #1 (2022) by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Translated by Nick Caistor
Narrated by Scott Brick

Set in Bilbao, the Spanish Basque Country, Northern Spain,
and Madrid.

Spain's Policía Nacional led by a Captain Jose Luis Parra investigates the exsanguination of a teenager in an exclusive gated community. The Red Queen unit, in accordance with their charter, simply "observes". It was but the first clue to a conundrum.

Enter Antonia Scott.
Born in Barcelona, she's 30 years old, 5' 2", half British, half Spanish. She's a philologist, a scholar and professor in the study of the history of languages. She speaks and thinks in several languages, using foreign words in her thought processes, from Japanese to Malaysian to Russian, et al.

She can calculate the square root of a number up to nineteen digits without the aid of pencil and paper, and is "...considered the most intelligent being in the planet". (See Footnote 1.)

After a three-year self-imposed hiatus due to a traumatic incident which left her husband in a coma, Antonia Scott hesitantly rejoins the "Red Queen Project". During her period of deep depression, she'd refused to work or even leave her apartment. As a consequence, she lost her job, and lost custody of her son, Jorge, to her father, Peter Scott, Cmdr OBE, UK Ambassador to Spain.

She's drives like an ace, isn't trained on handguns or weapons ("...I'm not a very good shot..."), has no sense of smell, does nightly mental exercises, and regularly needs pills to stave off information overload which puts her body under extreme stress. She's wealthy and owns an apartment building. Thoughts of killing herself still recur "...three minutes a day". She blames herself for the incident that caused the ongoing long-term coma of her husband.

The Red Queen Project.
Antonia is the sine qua non linchpin of the Red Queen Project, an anti-crime initiative undertaken by several European countries, described as "...a secretive organization that works in the shadows to direct criminal investigations of a highly sensitive nature...".

Spain's version has Antonia Scott, as the "Red Queen". Jon Gutiérrez, a police Inspector of the Ertzaintza, the autonomous police force of the Spanish Basque Country, is designated as her "Shield Bearer". The Basque man was disgraced, suspended, about to face criminal charges, and is offered a chance to salvage his career.

"Mentor", based in Madrid, actual name not revealed, directs the team and is their contact to higher-ups. Doctora Aguado, the team's pathologist and researcher completes the Red Queen unit.

Enter Ezequiel.

Stakes are raised when Carla Ortiz, daughter and heiress of "...the richest man in the world.." is kidnapped, and the Red Queen find themselves entangled with an elusive foe who calls himself Ezequiel.

It is when Jorge, Antonia's little boy is abducted that the case becomes personal for the Red Queen.

When the dust settles, Ezequiel remains at large. Even as Mr. Gómez-Jurado ends the book with hints to a hitherto über-mastermind.

"Mr. White".

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// "Black Wolf", Antonia Scott #2 (2024)
by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia

The story moves from Bilbao in the north to southern Spain's Costa del Sol.

Seven months after the Red Queen rescues Carla Ortiz, heiress, from certain death at the hands of Ezequiel (Book 1), six unidentified cadavers are found floating in Madrid's Rio Manzanares.

Meanwhile, in Costa del Sol, Yuri Voronin, a mob boss with human trafficking and Russian Mafia ties is found brutally murdered in his villa. His pregnant wife, Lola Moreno, barely escapes and flees with secret information sought after by very interested parties.

None other than the "Tambovskaya Bratva", the Russian Mafia in St. Petersburg who unleashes their ace-up-the-sleeve.

The "Black Wolf".

Meanwhile, the Red Heart unit find themselves at loggerheads once again with the police, this time with the UDYCO-Costa del Sol, the Spanish police drugs and organised crime unit.

Enter Irina Badia, originally from Chkalova, Ukraine. She too, an assassin. "...We had a farm. They wanted me and my sister. They killed our parents, abducted my sister for their human trafficking ring. I escaped. Then I grew up and killed them all. The perpetrators and the people who gave the orders. One by one..."

Except Irina Badia says she isn't the "Black Wolf".

The Red Queen is suddenly faced with one who could match wits with her. Someone with nothing to lose. Or are there two Black Wolves.

Then, as though the ensuing skirmishes, ambiguities and melee weren't enough, author Juan Gómez-Jurado throws that last minute curve ball.

And nicely sets up his final book in the trilogy...

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Footnote 1. The thinking behind strong female protagonist Antonia Scott.

In Book 1's epilogue, Juan Gómez-Jurado reveals that his heroine is based on three woman in the annals of history noted for high intelligence. Hypatia of Alexandria, circa 350-415 AD, who's been described as a universal genius. She was a Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. Marilyn vos Savant, born 1946, an American magazine columnist, IQ 228. And, lastly, Edith Helen Stern, born 1952, an American inventor and mathematician and former Vice President for Research and Development at IBM, IQ 205.

// Nota bene. On February 29, 2024, Amazon Prime Video released Red Queen, Season 1 with 7 episodes, starring Spanish actors Vicky Luengo as "Antonia Scott", Hovik Keuchkerian as "Jon Gutiérrez" and Alex Brendemühl as "Mentor". //

Ten years in the making, an endeavor of a life. A must-read trilogy!

Review based on an advanced reading copy courtesy of St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley.

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"The black wolf isn't the bogey man. She's the one you call to kill the bogey man."

...and her target is the smartest woman in the world, with an IQ over 200, Europe's covert agent Red Queen. In the nonstop action packed high body count Black Wolf (Antonia Scott book 2) by overly talented author Juan Gomez Jurado, we start right back with our Red Queen (book 1), Antonia still (not) dealing with the tragedy of her husband, and an emotional wreck from the lost relationship, and custody, of her son from the first book.

Just like in the first book, there are a few events that seem unrelated that happen throughout Spain, from a murdered Mafia boss, his pregnant wife, Lola, escaping the killers and on the run, a cargo crate filled with nine dead suffocated women and a report that the Russian assassin Black Wolf has entered the country with one target, Antonia.

Once again, the award winning voice actor Scott Brick brings these intense, emotional, and surprisingly often humorous characters to life. My favorite character, Antonia's partner and handler (she tends to lone wolf it while having emotional breakdowns), Jon is his usual gay self deprecating clever one liner self with lines like, "He was so deep in the closet he couldn't see the door for the coat hangers."

This smartly executed translated from Spanish crime thriller can be a standalone but why would you not want to know the Red Queen's origin story (now a Prime Video series!)? Look for my book vs TV series post on it soon. The sly twists at the end will have you howling at the Black Wolf.

I received a free copy of this book/audiobook from the publishers via #NetGalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Lots of twists and turns

Antonia Scott, the Spanish Red Queen, and her sidekick Jon Gutierrez are back in this second book of a Spanish thriller trilogy, working behind the scenes to solve high profile crimes.

The pregnant wife of a murdered Russian Mafia figure is on the run from an assortment of dastardly characters, including a contract killer known as the Black Wolf. Lots of gruesome deaths including a shipping container of dead trafficked women makes this not so light reading but I did enjoy it, even more so than the first book in fact. I thought it flowed better and was nicely paced.

I am looking forward to the third book in the trilogy coming out but meanwhile I highly recommend this book and Red Queen.

I received this Digital Review Copy from Minotaur Books through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review. This is that review.

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