Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Book Review: Brooklyn

By Sara Steven

Brooklyn Melody James has finally gotten the punishment she deserves after leaving a web of lies, heartache, and betrayal behind her. As her life slips away, Brooklyn remembers the events that shaped her into the cold, calculating creature she became.

Brooklyn learned the art of hustling from her parents who used the church to get money. Idolizing her father and despising her mother, Brooklyn’s determined to be the type of woman who makes her own rules. When her back’s up against the wall, she sacrifices her family, takes the burnt offering that remains, and runs away. In NYC, young Brooklyn charms her way into the inner circle of hustlers and stick-up kids, learning tricks along the way. She catches the eye of a major player in the drug game, Hassan, and they have a breathless love affair. Brooklyn becomes integrated into his operation, earning the trust of Hassan and his associates. But when she gets the keys to the kingdom, driven by unfettered ambition and a ruthless desire to survive, Brooklyn snatches the pot of gold, leaving bitter retribution promises behind her.

From DC to Maryland, Brooklyn burns bridges and breaks hearts. What she doesn't realize is that someone is prepared to end her reign of terror. As she faces her killer and her fate, Brooklyn’s stunned that justice comes from the least likely place. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

It’s not often an author can get their reader to heavily sympathize with a primary character that is as heavily flawed and antagonistic as Brooklyn is, but Tracy Brown did it, and did it well. At first, Brooklyn’s motives seem easily justifiable, given all she’s been through and the path of outward destruction that has led her to her ultimate demise. Yet, given more time and the closer we get to the end of the book, the truth is revealed, which lends into questioning Brooklyn’s truth. Has she really been so misunderstood? Are her motives pure, or is there more beneath the surface? It made me question everything, which was an amazing experience!

As for the killer–I had my suspicions on who it would be, particularly with the way that Brooklyn set fire to her life, burning bridges with everyone, even the loved ones who did everything they could with no expectation of getting anything in return. But it ended up being someone that had completely come out of left field! Not that there wasn’t a good motive behind it–I just didn’t think it would be that person. So, that was a shocker. 

The entire experience with Brooklyn kept me absolutely riveted. From the get go, she was an explosive character who didn’t hold back, despite the want and need to do so from other characters. The relationship she has with her mother–I mean, the foundation of that spoke volumes on the decisions Brooklyn decides to make in her young life, doing everything she can to be the antithesis of what her mother wants her to be. The underlying sensations of control and manipulation fed into all of it, blurring the lines between Brooklyn the protagonist, and Brooklyn the antagonist. Many times, I couldn’t decipher between the two, making Brooklyn one of the most memorable characters ever. The subject matter was heavy and painful, only adding to the layers needed here to provide more grit and rawness to Brooklyn. This was a definite five-star read.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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