“American Heroin” by Melissa Scrivner Love is the second book in the “Lola Vasquez” series. This book does stand on its own, but it would be an advantage to have read the first book, “Lola” to have a better understanding of the background and the characters. Readers are immediately immersed in Lola’s vicious and intense world of drugs, violence, and deception. She is the boss, and she is determined to remain the boss no matter who is in her way.
Love paints Lola as a gritty and yet somehow strong and compelling cartel boss. The pace is fast, the action is uncompromising, and the results are brutal. The language matches her position — graphic, violent, and explicit. It is not a book for the casual reader or for feel-good entertainment.
Love also contrasts Lola’s fearsome presence with the local geography.
“Malibu, this far north of the Santa Monica Pier and the littering tourists that swarm it, the sand is as clean and white as the caps that top the waves crashing and pulling back, crashing and pulling back. Lola wants to get her feet wet, but she knows the water will be too cold.”
I include a caution for graphic language and violence, but it is certainly within the scope of what could be expected from the characters. The story is wild, harsh, and at times very complex, but once readers start, they will be compelled to finish. I was given a review copy of “American Heroin” by Melissa Scrivner Love, Crown Publishing, and NetGalley.