Rico Stays is the final novel in Ed Duncan’s Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. As he did in the other two books in the series, Pigeon-Blood Red and The Last Straw, Duncan brings together his two apparently ill-matched characters, the hit man Richard Sanders (better known as Rico) and Paul Elliott, the first Black partner in a large, respected law firm in Chicago.
Although neither is married, Rico and Paul have empathetic, caring women in their lives, and like Rico and Paul, the women too seem ill-matched: Jean Webber is a prostitute, and Evelyn Roger is a college math professor. And yet, in Rico Stays, Rico, Paul, Jean, and Evelyn once again find themselves helping each other out of danger.
These characters were first brought together in Pigeon-Blood Red, when Frank Litwak, a loan shark and small-time crime boss in Chicago, hired Rico to track down a priceless ruby necklace. In Rico Stays, Rico himself is the target of a local mobster, Gus Chakiras.
In Rico Stays, Duncan tells us more about his main characters—their pasts, their relationships, and their loyalties to each other. He also takes the reader on a two-hour road trip from Chicagoland to a quiet hideaway in the woods, where Rico and Jean can chill in rocking chairs on the front porch and share home cooked meals.
I’ve grown to like these characters, whom life has thrown together into dangerous situations. Despite their differences, they take care of each other, even when doing so places them in harm’s way. I’ll miss them and their adventures. I can only hope that Duncan will extend the series beyond his intended trilogy—or spin tales about a new world of characters. I think we’ll be seeing more thrilling books from Mr. Duncan.
Ed Duncan was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, for many years.