Available on Amazon
Camille A. Marino
November 15, 2018
I received Bert Miller’s new book, A Killer in the City, as a gift and, having read his previous work, I was anxious to snuggle up and read it when I had a little down time. This author dips into a multi-cultural palette of characters and their experiences to create a rich tapestry of welcome unity. However, there is nothing cliche or glib in Mr. Miller’s storytelling. Whether negotiating racial slurs such as “nigger” or “Guinea,” the author is unafraid to tap into provocative and uncomfortable themes, identifying the racism that sometimes simmers in ignorance. Through allegory, his latest work goes deeper to explore the mysteries of the human mind, inviting his audience to consider the immense personal powers that may lay dormant in each of us.
In A Killer in the City, we meet Anthony Cartwright as a young boy. Born into an interracial and dysfunctional marriage, he suffers at the hands of an abusive parent. Curled up in his bed fending off blows delivered by his alcoholic father, the raging man is subdued by a seemingly-supernatural intervention; Lenny, Tony’s stuffed tiger delivers a bit of retaliatory justice. As an adult, Tony become a police officer and, along with his partner, Angelo Riccardi, begins to understand that Lenny appears whenever they face mortal danger, killing those who pose the threat. It becomes apparent that the tiger is merely a manifestation of Tony’s own mind — a creation that he cannot explain but learns to control.
With his inexplicable gift, Tony becomes a protector of those who “need it most,” prostitutes who are victimized first by society and then by their pimps. He becomes a superhero of sorts, exacting justice where none seems to exist. But while “the pimps were running scared,” the specter of the vigilante tiger threatens a budding romance with his partner’s sister, Maria Riccardi.
While the action unravels in the crime-ridden streets in the states or the cobblestone walkways of Europe, Tony begins to isolate the hatred and fear bred in his childhood that created his protector and finally understands that love is the only power strong enough to control and conquer hate. As the story closes, Maria and Tony having overcome their own challenges, the cultural exploration is only beginning as they look toward exploring India together.
Vibert Miller has a talent for weaving romance, action, and the human experience into fast-paced stories. The only issue around which I would like to see the author evolve is in his relation to animals. Clearly, Miller recognizes the majesty, beauty, and awe of some animals, but I am saddened that others are seen only as food. Maybe one day we’ll live in a universe that reflects the author’s vision of us all celebrating each other’s differences. I’d like to see that world include a celebration of all animals, human and nonhuman.