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Rainy Faces

Clarion Review (4 Stars)

We’ve got three murders and a freaky woman motorcycle club that’s gone haywire. No I’d say that’s not an accident.

In Rainy Faces the perfect long-distance biker caravan features individuals who sacrifice for the good of the group keep a relative lid on the partying and leave no rider behind. This at least according to leader Ron Mason’s sensible plan for a hundred-plus bike journey from Boston to Daytona. But these reliable building blocks of organizational stability tumble into disarray when the nocturnally aggressive women of the Lost Souls motorcycle club join the ride. Within pages Ron’s goals start looking pretty lofty.

The Lost Souls are led by Margaret McCarter a skilled rider who is irresistibly attractive but viciously hostile. Author Cabrera makes her nearly invincible so confident when attacking that she sings out the Doors song “Strange” as warning. The group’s origin goes unexplained with Margaret probably turning the others to their current forms. Indeed her attention tends to precede an early demise or a hellish transformation:

When you are the subject of the affection by the soulless cannibal female there is no hope for you.

A born-again bike mechanic named Ken O’Gara stands between conflicted ingenue Robin McManus and her vulpine stalkers. Ken will do anything to protect Robin from peril but he’s equally committed in his responsibilities to the caravan. Robin is from idyllic Cape May and lived with her widowed mother until the Lost Souls reeled her in. Robin’s association with them is not entirely on a voluntary basis; it is less an accident than a sleeper reaction to murky events rooted in her family’s past.

An element of hyperbole is present but it doesn’t get out of hand. There are instances of repeating established facts and the handful of male characters who act basically as valets to the women of the Lost Souls are undeveloped. A colossal understatement occurs after the second and third riders are eviscerated decapitated and torn limb from limb. By then Ron Mason “…was beginning to suspect that they had a murderer in the ranks.” Nice breakthrough Ron. He gets much practice answering questions for state troopers who plan to get to the bottom of things you know whenever.

As the violence shifts to high gear the author himself loses track of the body count. That doesn’t seem to matter much. Cabrera executes bikers and plot twists at a rapid enough pace and is able to create interest in the outcome. A caution: descriptions of human entrails are colorful enough that sensitive readers may want to put Rainy Faces down during mealtime. Expect more camp than philosophy as subtext issues of faith and freedom are touched on but not fully explored. With that view in mind this somewhat imperfect but entertaining book may fit the ticket as an unconventional beach read.

Five-time novelist Eralides E. Cabrera is a Cuban-born bankruptcy lawyer with practices in New Jersey and Florida. Previous works include Lost Generation and I Need A Miracle.