Cupid’s Got A Glock
Cupid’s Got A Glock encompasses multiple genres, with plenty of anti-heroic unlikable characters to go around.
The main story is about a man named Giovanni Sortino, who lives in Philadelphia. While many men in Giovanni’s Philadelphia neighborhood are overtly involved in gangs, Giovanni flies under the radar as a sort of vigilante. His tactics are exhibited when he strangles a man and leaves him to float on a raft in his pool with a burning stack of papers in his mouth. He leaves his card, a black valentine, at every crime scene.
Things go awry when at one of his killings, that of a drug dealer, Cree, who terrorizes the neighborhood. He’s unwittingly accompanied by a young woman named Neesha. She has a vendetta against Cree because his antics led to her 5-year-old sister’s death. The pair, plus another woman, Nikki, drive away from the crime scene in a cable repair truck. On the way, they rescue a baby from a dumpster. Giovanni sends Nikki to Georgia, making her swear not to tell anyone he’s killed Cree. He takes Neesha back to her home, and he keeps the baby.
Neesha, having grown attached to the baby in a short period of time, sets out to find her. Eventually she does, and she takes the baby for a short time, but Giovanni finds out and kidnaps Neesha and the baby. In the meantime, investigators try to find out who Black Valentine is. They’ve also heard from Tasha, the mother of the baby. As it turns out, she was a junkie in a poor emotional state when she dumped her baby in the dumpster. When she was sober and returned for her, she witnessed Giovanni and Neesha rescuing the baby, and she wanted her baby back.
If this whole story sounds completely preposterous, it’s because it is. Somehow, Giovanni and Neesha fall in love, get married and raise the baby together. Giovanni believes he and Neesha are meant to be together and raise the baby together because he saw it in a dream.
The dream quickly fades as the story ends. Cupid’s Got A Glock includes themes of false redemption and change, and the book tackles this theme with gusto. Many characters seek to improve themselves or make a fresh start, but continue to fall back into their same habits. Not only do we see this with major characters Giovanni and Neesha, but some of the minor characters, such as JoJo, an addict, display this behavior as well.
The book also makes statements on race relations, though I thought it was addressed a bit indelicately. I felt like the struggles of being a racial minority were spelled out through painfully obvious dialogue rather than character actions. Yet, the characters acted with all of the stereotypical caricatures of their racial and ethnic groups, which could be problematic to some readers.
The book is billed as “A Very Unusual Love Affair,” should probably be changed to “A Very Serious Case Of Stockholm Syndrome.” Neesha falls in love with Giovanni because he’s there, she’s vulnerable, there’s a child in the mix, and Giovanni can pin her with a major crime, if she refuses to play along with him. The elements of strength, power and consent make Giovanni and Neesha’s relationship a thoroughly unromantic one, no matter how many times Giovanni professed to wanting to be a good father and husband. The whole thing was a farce with a four-carat diamond and a big house in suburbia plastered on top of it.
The pacing of Cupid’s Got A Glock was a little slow. After Giovanni professes to end his life of crime and he and Neesha settle down, the whole thing grinds to a halt. Some scenes in the book hammer home the idea of false change in a gilded life, but other than that, they’re unnecessary.
Overall, I appreciated what Cupid’s Got A Glock was trying to do. I’d definitely recommend the story to those who want something different from their crime novel. Rather than wondering who committed a crime, readers will sit on the edge of their seat, wondering when everything will come apart, and that can make for some of the most satisfying and interesting reading of all.
Black Rose Writing