Book Review: Caina by Joe Albanese

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If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read as the days of summer dissolve into fall you can’t go wrong with the novel Caina written by Jersey native Joe Albanese.

Lee and Grant Tolan are identical twins, but apparently in looks only. Whereas, Grant is hugely successful with a thriving career and a finely-tuned Jaguar as his car, Lee is a ne’er do well and over-shadowed by Grant. Lee is mixed up with various gangs and less than savory behavior.

Up to his eyeballs in debt, Lee decides to swallow his pride and crawl back to Grant hoping to reconnect after years of estrangement.

However, Grant dies under mysterious circumstances. And Lee, after making a life of bad decisions, decides to assume Grant’s identity and finally live a life of respectability and success (not to mention, also drive a Jag).

But people aren’t always what they seem and this is true of Lee’s late brother. Posing as Grant, Lee finds himself caught up in a world of mob activity, dealing with the DEA and other malfeasance.

To survive all this Lee enlists the help of his friends and they all get caught up in death with the Irish and Italian mafia, drug dealers from Mexico and quite a few other activities that test their mettle. Lee also begins to realize Grant wasn’t what he seems. And if Grant wasn’t what he seemed, may Lee can isn’t what he seems and can redeem himself. Well, if he doesn’t end up “sleeping with the fishes.”

I found Caina to be fun and fast-paced, with interesting characters and dialogue. I often found myself seeing this as a movie or a TV show. It has elements that made me laugh and made me cringe, and despite Lee and company’s bad decisions, I truly wanted them to win in the end.

Caina is a good read by a very promising young writer.