Strays of Rio


After surviving for a few months on the streets of Rio as a child, Lisa was locked up and viciously abused.  Her past colors everything: from relationships with others, to her job, to her vigilantism for street kids. Not even the powerful can escape once she decides on their guilt - and they’re not guilty without reason. Tony is just there to set up a branch of a business in Rio, not to fall in love, or aid and abet vigilante justice.


"Strays of Rio" is a complex and often painful look at reality in the famous city.  Edith Parzefall's story is rich, but not gory. Details make life abundantly clear without being stomach turning; the violence poignantly normal, but not horror-ridden. The budding relationship woven into the tale, however, is held off by Lisa’s actions and desire to see justice done in a city where only the rich seem to get it.  Multifaceted characters surround her, with drug dealers behaving better than the cops, cops being worse than murderers, the rich invoking scenes from "The Most Dangerous Game," and the American businessman being the good guy. The pacing is quite frantic, shifting often between characters in mid-thought, and though written purposefully, sometimes the abrupt shifting of people and places is confusing and hard to follow. A warning to readers: the incredibly realistic details of abuse and rough street life might be difficult to handle. The ease of detailed life, good and bad, is both wonderful, and terrifying – making a journey no one will forget.


Julie York