Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo

Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo
Published by: Joseph Rinaldo
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Genre: Murder Suspense Thriller / Contemporary Fiction

About The Author:

Joseph Rinaldo, born in Illinois, spent most of his formative years in Kentucky. He currently resides near Nashville, TN. He attended The Ohio State University and is an avid Buckeyes fan. He currently works in finance, is marries, and is the father of a wonderful young woman with Down syndrome. He has written nine books, and is self-publishing each through Amazon's KDP program.

GET THE BOOK: Hazardous Choices

Disclaimer: At the request of the author, a PDF edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review. 

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Wednesday, November 30, 2011, Joseph Rinaldo participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.

Prior Book Review on Jersey Girl Book Reviews: A Spy At Home Book Description:

After surviving life in a violent Chicago street gang through his high school years, Darnell Jackson's future appears promising. A football scholarship gives him the chance to escape the thug lifestyle.

During his first year in college, Darnell safely resides in a small Kentucky town, playing Division Two college football and trying to make something of himself. Adjusting to the new surroundings proves tough, but a tough teammate and a girl give him hope that his future will be better than his past.

In the summer after his freshman year, he returns to the old neighborhood to be with his mother. The gang reasserts its hold on him, and the leader orders Darnell to kill a member of a rival gang. Nearly dying in a gang fight, Darnell shoots an enemy gangbanger. This forces Darnell to re-evaluate his future. As a result, he lies to the mercurial leader of his gang, claiming he completed his assignment. After "doing work" for his gang, Darnell receives permission to head back to school and the security of small town life. 

When the head gangbanger learns of Darnell's lie, the small Kentucky town isn't so safe anymore.

My Book Review:

Growing up in a Chicago ghetto neighborhood where street gangs ruled everything, a kid had two choices: either join the gang or endure daily beatings for refusing to become a gang member. There was only a few ways to escape gang life: die, become a professional sports player or a professional musician. For Darnell Jackson, Division II college football was his ticket out of the gang lifestyle ... or so he thought .... that was until his two worlds collided due to his Hazardous Choices.

Darnell Jackson was recruited to play wide receiver for Western Kentucky State University Bobcats Division II college football team, even though it was alleged that he had gang affiliation and had an actual criminal record for petty theft. For Darnell, attending WKSU in small town Owensboro, Kentucky, was his chance to finally escape the treacherous Chicago ghetto gang lifestyle. Darnell desperately tried to keep his two worlds separate, but nothing could stop the fact that when college ended for the summer after his freshman year, he would have to rejoin the Knights of Neptune gang in Chicago. The unwritten gang rule was that no one was ever allowed to leave the gang lifestyle unless you died, joined a professional sports team or became a professional musician. For Darnell, that summer back in Chicago would leave him no choice but to obey Slice, his treacherous gang leader, even if it meant that he had to kill other gangbangers. Darnell felt an overwhelming oppressive tension of being part of the gang life again, and his reluctance to kill or be killed, led him to decide to escape back to his other life in Owensboro by lying to Slice about a "completed" mission. That lie would later come to haunt him, as Slice sent his henchmen to Kentucky to confront Darnell for the Hazardous Choices that he made. What happens to Darnell and the sleepy little Kentucky college town will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. 

Hazardous Choices is an action packed story full of suspense that kept me intrigued and turning the pages to see what would happen next. Author Joseph Rinaldo does a great job of describing the differences in both the reality of street gangs and college football lifestyles. As a football fan (college and pro), I enjoyed the thorough description of what makes a college football team work. The author also provides a very realistic description of ghetto life and the gang lifestyle. The characters in the story (college and gang) were realistic and engaging, it was very easy for me to get caught up in all of the characters' stories. The only thing that I didn't quite like was the rather surprisingly abrupt ending of the story, I thought it left the readers hanging, which is a shame. Nonetheless, fans of suspense thrillers will definitely enjoy the roller coaster ride that this book provides.




  1. Thank you so much, Kathleen, for your candid review of Hazardous Choices. You have given me much food for thought! I appreciate the "spotlight" you afforded me on your blog (again), and I would very much like to quote your review in other venues.
    Joe Rinaldo

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hazardous Choices! You may certainly quote my review on any site of your choosing! :)