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Black Wolf by Juan Gómez-Jurado

Black Wolf by Juan Gómez-Jurado

Hot on the heels of the release of the excellent TV-adaptation of Red Queen on Prime Video comes the second book in the Antonia Scott and Jon Gutiérrez series Black Wolf by Juan Gómez-Jurado (translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia). The series plays on a fairly standard Sherlock Holmes and Watson format. Antonia Scott is Spain’s Red Queen, a woman with preternatural cognitive abilities who helps solve the most difficult crimes, while Gutiérrez is her squire, a former policeman who provides backup, muscle and, most importantly, humanity. As Black Wolf is a sequel, this review will contain minor spoilers for Red Queen.

Black Wolf opens seven months after the events of Red Queen. Antonia is still obsessed with finding Sandra Fajardo and discovering her link to the mysterious Mr White. But when a mafia money man on the Costa del Sol is murdered and his wife goes on the run, their boss Mentor runs out of patience and assigns the pair to the case. They turn up and find things are far more complicated, and that is before the local mafia boss calls in a deadly assassin known as the Black Wolf.

In Black Wolf, Gómez-Jurado shows once again his ability to deliver a twisty, high paced thriller with heart. Central to the action is the relationship between Scott and Gutiérrez, a professional one that is also filled with plenty of humour and underpinned by mutual respect. Scott puts that relationship under pressure in this outing but that never prevents Gutiérrez from coming to her aid when she needs it.

While Red Queen had to establish much of the lore of this universe, Black Wolf can just get down to telling a compelling story. But the overarching story involving Antonia and a mystery assassin is still going on in the background, impinging from time to time but only really emerging right at the end to set up a cliffhanger lead-in to White King, which promises to be a page-turning finale to this series.

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