In The Devil’s Redhead, Corbett takes us into the underbelly of the drug trade, bringing to life intense characters desperate to escape and make changes.
I mostly read crime novels written from the point of view of a law-enforcement professional (homicide detective, FBI agent, etc.) and so it was refreshing to read a novel where you’re with the ‘criminal’ who also happens to be an honourable and good guy just trying to make things right.
The novel centres on Danny Abatangelo, a man involved in the drug industry in the 1980s, when it was almost respectable. Not the average crim, he’s also a talented photographer and lives a life very much removed from how he actually makes his money — smuggling drugs. However, two years after meeting the love of his life, Lachelle (Shel) Beaudry, things go wrong and Danny winds up in jail.
After this short set up, we’re taken to the day Danny is released from jail with only one thing on his mind. No, not revenge…he just wants to get Shel back. But it’s not always a straight path to love, and Danny finds out that the world Shel’s involved in now is a whole lot more dangerous than the drug trade of the early eighties. He’s a man displaced from his world, a man trying to adjust to life on the outside. But everything’s changed.
Corbett’s writing style and characterisation jumps off the page…taking you right into the heart of his protagonists’ journeys. Danny, a man who wants to walk the straight and narrow path but will do anything for Shel. Shel, a woman who’s been dragged down by her lover, Frank. And Frank, a man whose tragic choices get a whole lot of people into trouble.
A sense of the characters’ desperation and the plot’s suspense drives this novel forward, from the first page to the last.