Ciaran Richards’ father was a soldier. A hero.
But now he’s dead. Or is he?
His Newark, New Jersey neighborhood is under siege in a bloody turf war that has spun out of control, and he is caught in the middle. In a landscape filled with desperation, anger, and futility, there are only violent choices, and one of them is Twist's: as one of the leaders of the Skulls, he is the architect of his gang's decision to kidnap an organized crime mobster in a last-ditch attempt to end the war. But the plan doesn't turn out as expected. When the negotiations deteriorate and the violence escalates, the only recourse left is the execution of the hostage. As a volatile situation grows more explosive by the hour, the lines between right and wrong blur. And for Twist, resolution comes with a price. Still Black Remains captures the struggle to realize the American Dream against a violent backdrop, when the only choices are to do whatever it takes--and through any means possible.
Offbeat, daring, and convincingly original, Still Black Remains proves a nerve-rattling read in the best of ways with moments in Michaels’ narrative that are absolutely chilling. As an engrossing read, it really is quite irresistible and it’s clear from the start that Michaels has a gift for developing insightfully nuanced dialogue. Most books, even well-known bestsellers, are quickly forgotten when we return to the real world but not this one as Michaels pens a sharp and visceral urban tale that’s wrought with social insight. On this level alone there’s reason enough to begin reading with the mood of his characters lingering long after the last page is turned. They are simultaneously engrossing and repellent but where he ultimately makes his mark is with his ability to make us understand Twist’s feelings. This brings a presence and stability that underpins the whole narrative whilst offering us a glimpse of a struggle few of us will ever know beyond the realms of fiction.
Powerful and thought provoking, contemporary fiction, Still Black Remains demands to be read and marks Michaels as an author to keep a close eye on. It is recommended without reservation.
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About Kevin Michaels
Kevin Michaels is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel LOST EXIT, as well as two entries in the FIGHT CARD BOOKS series: HARD ROAD and CAN'T MISS CONTENDER. His collection of short stories entitled NINE IN THE MORNING was released in April 2014. His short stories and flash fiction have also appeared in a number of magazines and indie zines, and in 2011 he was nominated for two separate Pushcart Prize awards for his short stories. Other shorts have been included in the anthologies for SIX SENTENCES (volumes II and III) and ACTION: PULSE POUNDING TALES (2).
In April 2017 his latest novel STILL BLACK REMAINS was published by Literary Wanderlust LLC.