Book Review: The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

They say you can’t go home again, and man this book drives that point home with a gun shot to the gut.  This book was released in 2013 and has been on my radar for sometime.

Our protagonist is Ray who has left his hometown 10 years ago.  We slowly learn through out the book why he left in little flashbacks to the fateful time.  Ray has some military experience, and I felt this was important to the character’s background.  This explains why his boss hired him to begin with, his sense of loyalty to his family, and his never die attitude.

Tom is Ray’s cousin and is also an interesting character.  He was the Sheriff of Coronado, New Mexico our hero’s hometown.  He was kicked off the force 10 years ago and has been trying to get back on the police force ever since.  We soon find out the 10 year mark that we see Ray leave town and Tom lose his job are because of the same event.  Tom and Ray are the same age and though they are cousins they grew up very close and are more like brothers.

This story starts out with Ray taking one last job, classic last words in the world of noir.  Ray is to do one last heist with his bosses inexperienced nephew.  They are to heist a large amount of drugs near Coronado, this will give Ray a little money to start fresh back in his hometown and the 10 years away should have been enough time for things to blow over.  When the heist goes down, Ray recognizes the driver and soon realizes things are not going to be as easy as he imagined.

As Ray tries to finish his job so he can start over and get his family life right, things just continue to go wrong for him.  We also find Tom torn between doing the right thing so he can work his way back onto the police force or helping his cousin do what he needs to.

It took me longer then normal to get through this book, partly due to spring activities and partly because I could easily tear myself away from this book to do other things.  This wasn’t the page turner I was hoping for, this took some effort to read.  The story is very good and so is the story telling, but it did take me some extra effort for the payoff.  I think this is for fans of  people who like Cormac McCarthy.  I’m not the first to say this about Waite and maybe that stuck in my mind, but it seems to fit.  This book is in development to be made into a movie.  I hope this isn’t put in development purgatory like a lot of great books out there, because I think this could make a great film in the right hands.

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