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#BookReview: Cisco by James W White @Hmwd6 @Incusus @ADenBleyker15 #Cisco #DarkPassagesPublishing

How thrilled do you think I was when wonderful Ariana (amazing Fahrenheit author of Red Hands and Dark Water) approached me to read and review a novella that is due to be published on the 1st of August by her publishing imprint Dark Passages Publishing?! She reeled me in with one hell of a blurb for James W White’s newest novel Cisco – a twisted crime noir that is paving Ariana and her dads way back into the publishing world. I’d like to congratulate all parties involved.

A bit about Dark Passages Publishing before we start. As I’ve already said, it’s a dad and daughter publishing house that aims to give you two brilliant reads a year – they’re completely independent and doing a great job! James W White’s Cisco is an even 88 pages of wow that you can pre – order for paperback from the 1st of July – launch in paperback format will be the 1st of August and e-book launch on the 1st of September. You can keep up to date with DPP news here!


In mid-1980’s San Francisco, a repulsive criminal mastermind and a talented female detective face off, each hampered by their inept sidekicks.

Cisco is a frightening visage of towering strength topped with a face covered in hideous prison tattoos. A cleft palate emphasizes his monstrosity as he spits out garbled words. Cisco has had a long string of successful payoff for child abductions in his past, but this one is not looking good. His new protégé, Jacob, has returned with a too-young kidnapping victim. To top it off, Jacob has left evidence behind. “Weeers hees shoo?” demands an enraged Cisco, when three-year old Henry Peterson is presented to him shoeless on one of his little feet. Both innocent Henry and blundering Jacob are in for a world of hurt very soon.

Cisco orchestrates an unusual method for collecting the ransom in broad daylight and right under the noses of the cops. He leaves Henry behind, but takes Jacob and a vehicle full of hostages with him. McCurda and Bishop find themselves in pursuit blocks away from each other, baffled as to the whereabouts of both Henry and the car with Cisco and his hostages. Danger, threats, gunfire and death conclude the day in the Mission district.

I immediately knew that the main protagonist Cisco was not the run of the mill bad guy, he was pure evil who was desperately in need of a Jeremy Cricket. We are introduced to the sadistic psychopath in the first chapter, where he is keeping a small child captive for no other reason but greedy exploitation. Cisco isn’t just a run of your mill literary character, he’s every parent and child’s worst nightmare. With his undesirably monstrous looks that match his attitude Cisco could be compared to the bogeyman who lurks on the outskirts of society waiting to pounce…. or send his associates to. What sent shivers up my spine, is that these kind of creatures are true to life – James W White quickly engaged me with his valid portrayal of evil.

As we venture deeper into the novella, we become to know Cisco quite well, he comes across as intelligent, yet unstable, cruel and full of rage. As I’ve said, he kidnaps children then he pens ransom notes to the parents, I begun to see a more unstable side of Cisco, he’s filled with rage that’s partnered with a tormented mind. Page by page I could feel the narrative getting increasingly unsettling, at one point I felt that this questionably instable protagonist also possessed feelings of grandeur as he begun to repeat gospel – did he feel like the hand of God in this situation, is that where his power came from? Or was it an ego where he thought he ran the show and was untouchable by God and law? You’ll have to read it and let me know what you think.

The dialogue flicks between Cisco and Detective Helen McCurda, who is the lead detective on the case of a missing child. She is a force to be reckoned with, after fighting sexual prejudice in the police, she doesn’t take a case lying down. DC McCurda is both intelligent and extremely kick ass who is completely driven with a no bullshit attitude. I found like Helen and Cisco were the good and evil sides of the same coin in terms of their wrath and drive – if they had been on the same side of the coin, I think the duo would have been hugely complimentary. I appreciate the lengths that James has gone to, to create believable characters, as well as an adrenaline increasing, twisted read. I could even imagine their voices, Cisco’s echoed as a low predatory growl in my mind that shook me up completely.

I was put through the ringer with this read, emotionally it’s a bloody rollercoaster. I gasped with shock, it pulled at my heart strings, sent waves of chills up my spine and had me glued to my seat. James W White has created a novella of 88 pages that packs a solarplex punch! Cisco has everything a disquieting novella should have, crime, murder, cat – and – mouse chase with fireworks. I am in need of a whiskey on the rocks and a dark room to recover – this is the very first time that I’ve been introduced to the work of James W White and Dark Passages Publishing, but I can safety say that I’m hooked! I can not wait to see what other literary surprises are tucked up the sleeves of the team around this novella.

Thank you again Ariana for the PDF copy of Cisco in exchange for an honest review! It was pleasure! And remember people, you can pre – order the paperback from the Dark Passages Publishing website from the 1st of July.

Happy Reading.


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