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Black Wolf


Black Wolf

It was such a treat to meet Antonia Scott, the unique and engaging crime fighter from the mind of Juan Gómez-Jurado, in RED QUEEN. It also was so much fun to watch the series on Prime Video, where the horrific crimes Antonia worked were brought to life.

Now, Antonia and her partner in the Red Queen project, Jon Gutiérrez, are back on another case at the behest of their leader, Mentor. Antonia’s brain is not wired like normal people. She can see and hear on multiple plains simultaneously, which makes it extremely difficult for any clue or motive to get past her. However, this skill set also has its drawbacks. She is constantly on special medications to regulate the bizarre things she sometimes visualizes, typically a bunch of wild monkeys. It has taken such a toll on her mentally that she takes solace in spending three solid minutes a day contemplating different ways of killing herself.

"This might be the first time in Antonia’s life that she is truly scared because she is facing a foe who not only is ruthless but also appears to be completely soulless."

At the start of BLACK WOLF, Antonia meets up with Jon, who has just fished out a female corpse from the Manzanares River in Madrid. As usual, she arrives a little late but quickly takes charge. She assesses the situation and starts to figure out what the first detective on the scene and the forensics squad failed to catch.

Before they can get caught up in this investigation, Mentor lets Antonia and Jon know that they are being reassigned to another case six hours away that is a high priority. It also has something to do with the Russian mob, which is an ongoing battle that groups like the Red Queen project must face. A Russian group known as the Orlov Gang has gotten themselves into some sort of deadly feud that has left former police officer Anatoly Oleg Pastushenko dead as he was gunned down while guarding his boss’s wife, Lola Moreno. Lola was married to Yuri Voronin, a big player in the Russian mob who was murdered in a separate incident. The very pregnant Lola is now on the run in her native Spain and is not sure who she can trust.

Antonia and Jon are to immediately locate Lola and bring her in before she is silenced by whoever is attacking the Russian clan she married into as a young trophy wife. The individual who is spearheading this total elimination is not someone to be trifled with and has spared no expense in hiring a special assassin to finish the job by killing Lola --- a vicious executioner known only as Black Wolf.

It might surprise some readers to learn that Black Wolf is a Russian female operative and assassin who has some things in common with Antonia. She is having trouble focusing due to the pain in her spine as the result of a mishap on a prior case. As such, the first time we see Black Wolf, she is waking up in a room in Madrid. It takes a bit of time before she realizes where she is. She then is visited by a man who proceeds to deliver painful injections into her lower back and spinal region that will provide her with the temporary relief necessary to complete her mission.

Gómez-Jurado deftly sets up an extended version of cat-and-mouse that will ramp up each chapter until someone or several people are dead. Antonia has to use different skills in BLACK WOLF, like code-breaking and figuring out some of the shenanigans the Russian mob has been involved with regarding spyware, but nothing will prepare her for Black Wolf. This might be the first time in Antonia’s life that she is truly scared because she is facing a foe who not only is ruthless but also appears to be completely soulless.

This outstanding trilogy will wrap up with the release of WHITE KING, which I hope will be published as soon as possible. Hold on for another wild ride!

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 22, 2024

Black Wolf
by Juan Gómez-Jurado

  • Publication Date: March 12, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250853699
  • ISBN-13: 9781250853691