Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
After enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders stepped in to protect his girlfriend from a local mob boss’s hot-headed nephew, all hell broke loose.

When the smoke cleared, the nephew had vanished, but three goons who had tried to help him lay dying where they’d stood. Fighting for his life, Rico was alive but gravely wounded.

Out of the hospital but not fully recovered, he needed a place to crash – a place where he wouldn’t be found by men who surely would be looking. A place like the cabin owned by lawyer Paul Elliott, whose life Rico had saved more than once. Trouble was, Paul’s girlfriend hadn’t forgotten Rico’s dark history. Or Paul’s fascination with him.

Using Rico’s girlfriend as bait, vengeful killers soon would be coming for him. The only question was whether he would face them alone or with help from Paul.
Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Ed Duncan

9 books40 followers
Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He has recently completed The Last Straw and Rico Stays, respectively the second and third installments in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. All three novels are available in hardback and paperback at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores and retail outlets, and as eBooks from Amazon and several additional eBook sellers.

Meanwhile, Mahalo with a Bullet, a podcast based on Pigeon-Blood Red and featuring Dean Norris of Breaking Bad fame, is now available wherever Readers listen to podcasts.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
12 (16%)
4 stars
48 (64%)
3 stars
15 (20%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews
Profile Image for Veronica ⭐️.
974 reviews198 followers
August 28, 2020
Rico, hit-man for hire, is back in full force in the third and final instalment of Ed Duncan's Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy.

Rico finds himself on the wrong side of the local crime boss after a good samaritan act goes terribly wrong. There are three men dead and Rico ends up in hospital. He now has two men looking for him on a path of revenge.

"He was a killer with a conscience...... he only killed people who 'had it coming'."

Rico always gave his adversaries a chance. Whether they took it or not was up to them.

Rico turns to acquaintance (Rico doesn't have friends) Paul Elliot to help him hide out while he recovers from a gunshot wound.

Rico Stays is another fabulous read in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. There is a lot of character development in this story and we get to know not only Rico's past but also Paul's. The shoot-outs are still there but the characters take centre stage. Paul Elliot features more in this story with a high school reunion and a hook-up with an old flame ending with Paul contemplating what he really wants from life and love.

This can be read as a stand alone with snippets of backstory filling the reader in on previous events. However you will want to read the first two books because Rico is freaking awesome.

The story ramps up to an explosive ending and Rico just may have found his first real friend in Paul. And I could easily see that Paul has a bit of a man crush on Rico.

Rico Stays has everything I have come to expect from Ed Duncan; drama, suspense and a touch of humour.
*I received a copy from the author
Profile Image for CYIReadBooks (Claire).
592 reviews89 followers
June 3, 2021
Richard (Rico) Sanders, a hitman for hire, is yet again embroiled in a nasty feud. This time, it’s with Larry Cosgrove, the nephew of a big time crime boss.

It all started with an accident. A young boy playing baseball in the streets runs into Larry, a two-bit thug with a raging temper. The run in causes Larry to drop his packaged liquor purchases, thus fueling Larry’s uncontrollable anger.

Rico’s girlfriend attempts to intervene, but the fracas has already escalated into a showdown. And Rico has no choice but to take down Larry’s minions. Which leaves three men dead, Rico fighting for his own life, and Larry on the run.

Rico Stays is the last installment of the Pigeon Blood Red trilogy. It is a short novel, but packed with a lot of action. Some readers have stated that each novel could be read as a stand alone. However, I feel that to truly get the flavor of the series, it is best to read all of them in order.

The primary characters in the novel remain unchanged and there are enough new characters to make the plot interesting.

There aren’t too many twists in this novel, but there are enough to keep the reader engaged.

Overall, an excellent end to the trilogy. Full of action and it manages to recoup that “Soprano-like” feel that went missing in the second installment. Five engaging stars.

I received a physical copy of the book from author, Ed Duncan through Book Publicity Services. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Paul.
495 reviews12 followers
June 8, 2020
I was given a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

This is my second time in coming to the world of Rico, last year I had the great privilege of reading the first in this series. It was a book that grabbed me by the collar and dragged me along kicking and screaming for one of the best crime thriller novels I read last year. So when given to opportunity to once again jump into this world I had to jump at the chance. Somehow along the line, I seem to have missed the second book in the series but I'm sure that I will rectify that soon.

Rico is one of those characters you come to love. He may not be the best at dealing with life but he does try his best to look after those he cares for. This as one can imagine tends to lead him into all kinds of scrapes. But as a reader, this makes the books all the more enjoyable to read. It was great to see that his cast of characters was able to expand opening-up Ricos world. It not only allows for some great exchange of dialogue but also gave me a better insight into who his lead character is and was before the events I had previously read about. For me at least I think the anti-hero is a hard one to get right. to much time in the black and you lose the ability to care for them. Too much in the light and you might as well be reading a detective thriller. But once again Duncan proves his ability to have his hero walk a fine line and still have us as the reader cheering him on and praying he makes it out alive again.

Part of the reason I have greatly enjoyed these books is that the author seems to always find ways to shift our hero into new and interesting scenarios. I know you say this would be the key to any good series of books. With Duncan, he never reuses scenarios each time they come off as fresh and enticing. I like that he comes up with these plots and we get to see just how Rico is supposed to fight his way out of each of them. And fight he does, this is a man how does not shy away from the need for violence when it's justified. But this is the thing about the character Duncan has created this is not a man how goes looking for it or for that matter someone who greatly enjoys it. But he is simply very good at it, a fact he has come to except about his life.

When it comes to Rico Stays this is not one of those books where you find your self racing to beat the author to work out who did it. This is like those old school Bruce Willis films where you spend half your time wondering if he is going to make it out alive. In many ways, I suppose Rico is like the energizer bunny he just keeps on going no matter what. And while the first book in the series is just like one of those dark Hollywood action films of the eighties and nineties this one turns a bit more introspectively. It's as great to see Ricos need for help, a thing I never thought I would see. It makes him a bit more vulnerable and adds a few more layers to this character. And whilst there is still the usual level of gunplay we also get a much more human side to the series.

Every one of us has been warned about getting to close to a wounded animal, as this is where they are at their most dangerous. It is a fair bet to say the same can be said of our hero. This was a book that took me once again back to the mean streets of Chicago. It is escapism at it's very finest, with heroes to root for and bad guys to fear. Rico Stays has once again delivered all I hope for in one of Duncans books. I can highly recommend this book to all of you.
Profile Image for Chandler.
15 reviews22 followers
January 9, 2021
Much like the previous books, Rico Stays has a film noir, cinematic feeling. It's descriptive and expansive enough to be developed into a film or TV series. The situation our hero, Rico, finds himself in is unique. He may be a hitman but he's just trying to live his life on his day off when he gets into a scuffle with a mobster's jackass nephew. Severely injured from the gunfight, Rico must save himself and the people around him as the nephew seeks revenge.

It's a fairly short novel but Rico and the supporting characters feel developed. Flawed but likeable, Rico is the hitman with a heart of gold. It's impossible not to root for him. His girlfriend, his lawyer friend, and his friend's girlfriend are also fleshed out with their unique set of struggles. The suspense with the mobster world is consistent and intriguing, especially with the third act. The first book in the series is still my favorite but this is a close second. The action-packed trio of books is perfect not just for action fans but fans of good storytelling.
Profile Image for Dana.
683 reviews9 followers
January 25, 2022
Rico Stays is the final book in this action packed trilogy!

I'm going to miss hanging out with Rico - you know, from the safety of my own home! Haha! ;) Book three has another great storyline, a not so unexpected duo that finally comes together, and a solid wrap up to the trilogy.

What I really enjoy about these books is that the writing really pulls the reader into each scene. I could definitely see this trilogy made into a tv series!

Each book can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading them in order. Book two was my favorite of the three.

Thanks so much to Book Publicity Services and the author, Ed Duncan for my gifted copy!
Profile Image for Carla (Carla's Book Bits).
510 reviews126 followers
July 20, 2020
Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Ed Duncan's previous book, The Last Straw and this year, I count myself lucky again to return to this world in Rico Stays. This is the final book in Duncan's trilogy featuring this gangster with a heart of gold.

Like always, I enjoyed Duncan's snappy writing style. Gangster books aren't a genre that I've spent a lot of time reading, but if they're all this easy to read and fast-paced, I'm into it! If I only had one criticism, it would be that I never fully connect to the side characters. Rico as a character, however, is very fleshed out and enough to carry the series as a whole. Regardless, this is worth a read (it can be found on Kindle Unlimited) and it's worth turning the pages for. Ed Duncan can say a lot with very little words, and he always keeps the pace going.

I received a copy from the author himself courtesy of Book Publicity Services.
Profile Image for Diego Sanchez.
88 reviews33 followers
July 20, 2020
I was offered a book in exchange of my honest review.

What a book this was!

Rico Stays is the third installment but I didn’t need to read the previous ones in order to understand this part.

The story is about a Rico, a man who is much involved in different situations where he have to defend either others or himself. He describes his job as “doing some things here and some others over there”. However, he gets in trouble and his girlfriend will be put in risk but we will discover that he is capable to do whatever in order to keep her safe.

The book of course is a crime thriller with a lot of action, we can definitely infer that many typical things in the genre are going to happen. However, I liked the fact that the author knows how to involve every character, in order to give us things that are not very common to find. For example, the mystery behind RIco and the place where he chooses to hide. As well, his girlfriend and how smart she is, plays an important role after making some important connections in order to keep a safe environment for both of them.

While I’m pretty sure there are many fans of the main characters, mine was Cleveland, I think he has the best quotes during the book, but I will rather keep this one as my favorite: “Sometimes… sometimes you live in the jungle for so long, you can’t… you just can’t get out!”. That quote represents all the character, even though I haven’t read the previous two books. On the other hand, as much as I loved the character development, I feel some actions were not very logical, I mean, they took decisions very quick and then something else happens next and is the same thing.

Another thing that I enjoyed the most are the descriptions the author creates without being overwhelmed with them. For example, the descriptions of the cabins, hospital or parks. For me, descriptions are very important in a book, so I felt the author did a good job.

In conclusion, the book is a great read if you love action, thrillers and mystery. The book is short so you can read it very fast and there is always something happening so you can be sure this is a great read. For what I know, this is a great closing of the thrilogy.
Profile Image for Ben Long.
237 reviews52 followers
June 30, 2020
I understand that many genres have tropes that are consistently overused (that’s kind of what makes a genre), but for some reason crime thriller cliches more than others are not my cup of tea. “Rico Stays” certainly has standard elements of the genre, but it also manages to move beyond the routine with certain scenes and characters

I really like Rico and feel like he stands above a typical line up of hitman type characters (more depth and nuance to his personality). The story went in several directions that I did not expect, which was a refreshing surprise. And I also really like how the story focused a lot on the “bad” guys. We really get to learn their stories and care about them, which adds in wonderful shades of gray to what could have been just a black and white story.

Special thanks to author Ed Duncan and Kelsey @bookpublicityservices for a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Heather  Lou Reads.
411 reviews28 followers
October 8, 2020
Thank you to the publisher and author for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review.

Rico Stays is the third installment in this series and is a fabulous concluding novel. As a hit man, or enforcer, by nature, he has found his people in this novel. He doesn't stop until he knows that his people are protected and proves his loyalty again and again.

I thought this was a well-rounded book that feels like an action movie. It has the right amount of mystery, suspense and thrills for the readers enjoyment. I thought some of the scenes could have been better executed with more explanation, but everything came together very nicely in the end.

I enjoy Ed Duncan's writing. It is apparent that he knows what he is talking about when discussing guns, law enforcement, and criminal acts. I appreciate when an author has background knowledge about the topics in their books. It makes it a more enjoyable read.

In the end, I really enjoyed this series. I can't wait to see of this series gets turned into a TV show, or perhaps a movie.
Profile Image for Julia Walker.
662 reviews14 followers
May 19, 2020
Although this is the third in a series, the writing is such that each book stands on its own. Rico is an independent contractor. He is totally at peace with his job as an eliminator. Rico has a personal code of ethics and only rids the world of the unwanted criminal element. He is a pretty fascinating guy with a pension for jazz and long vocabulary words. He carries a gun in a holster; a light blue holster.

When he witnesses a man push a kid down and then an elderly man to his knees, Rico cannot help but step in. In an instant three men are dead and Rico is wounded. Waking up three days later in the hospital Rico is determined to figure out who the guy was (he got away) and protect those he cares about. Rico has been doing this a long time and he knows the mystery guy is coming for him. After all, Rico did kill three of his men.

A solid crime mystery with great characters, some biting action, and intense moments.
Profile Image for Tori.
61 reviews18 followers
January 7, 2021
Thank you to @ricostays @bookpublicityservices for sending me the third book of the Pigeon Blood Red series!!!

This is the third book in the series and i enjoyed it so much!! I stayed up half the night last night to finish it and it was soo good!! As i said in my last post about the series, I believe this was one of the better ones!! I really love the relationship between Rico and Paul even though they don’t classify each other as friends, they’re still so interesting to watch interact with each other!!

I really recommend you guys getting this series and reading it!! The books are fairly short and are really entertaining to read!!
Profile Image for Rajiv.
959 reviews64 followers
August 14, 2020


I am not an avid reader of crime/action books about gangsters, but Rico Stays was really good!

Even though I have not read the first two books, I had no trouble following this story. The author explains the flashbacks from the previous books clearly. The first thing that stood out for me was the action moments, which were just amazing! From page one, the story starts off with a bang where Rico deals with Larry. Rico is like James Bond and Jason Bourne put together. As the story progresses, the way he tackles his foes is pure entertainment, and I loved every minute of it.

The author also did an amazing job with the characters. Most of the characters are very complex and interesting. Even though Gus and Cleveland are supposed to be bad, I really loved them, and rooted for them. I especially loved Cleveland’s relationship with Sadie. Their romance is so innocent and bitter-sweet; my heart went out to them. Larry is a despicable guy and I hated him with a passion. The author paints the characters in such a way that makes you glued to them. I also enjoyed the emotions Evelyn experiences on her opinions of Rico.

However, there are few parts which I felt could have been better. There were some scenes that were unnecessary, like the chapter which talks about a case with Rico and Jerry. Also, I really liked Valerie and thought she was interesting. Unfortunately, she only appears for a short while, and I wanted her to continue in the plot.

Overall, Rico Stays is a very entertaining story to read if you are in the mood for a good crime, action adventure.
Author 6 books21 followers
September 2, 2020
Third in what some are calling The Pigeon Blood Red trilogy, although there seems no reason why there couldn't be more than three in the series. When I was asked if I would like a review copy, I quickly said yes, as this continuing saga grows on you over time.

Although I see in other reviews that Rico takes predominance for many, it's actually more evenly matched between the two main male characters, Rico the hitman and Paul Elliott the straight arrow lawyer who finds himself attracted to Rico's hard as nails character as a kind of alter ego to his own. Both men have girlfriends who are full-fledged characters in their own right, and a good part of this entire series is about the complex interactions between them all and the effects they have on each other's relationships. It doesn't help--or it doesn't hurt?--that Rico has saved Paul's life twice in the previous stories. (This is all recapped in the novel.)

After Rico and his girlfriend Jean survive a parking lot massacre, Jean calls in that debt by asking if Rico can both convalesce and hide out in a remote cabin Paul owns. Eventually, this involves the two couples meeting face to face. It came as something of a surprise to me to realize that over the course of the previous novels, some of these central characters hadn't even been met yet.

There are plenty of side characters--and side hustles--to keep the story from becoming too much about this small group, though. Particularly interesting is the arrival of Cleveland, out on parole and back to take care of his brother's funeral. He of course gets pulled into the criminal goings on of
a gang out of his past. But he's also gotten reacquainted with an old flame and is pulled between these lighter and darker sides of his history.

This is a fast paced, violent novel, but one thing I enjoy about the series is that the characters consistently probe their own motives and ethics, as well as those of others. I don't know if there will be a fourth in this series, but I do know that I'll want to read it if there is. Gotta find out what happens next...

Profile Image for Katherine Williams.
143 reviews18 followers
June 12, 2020
I was given a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Make sure to check out more reviews at Katherine's Book Reviews.

Rico Stays is a book filled with action that will keep you on your toes until the story’s finish. This is the third book in the Pigeon-Red Blood series but can be read as a stand alone novel. Sometimes when it comes to reading a series of novels, especially with the third book, the characters and plot can start to feel stale and re-used to a point where you have no interest in reading it anymore. I do not feel this way about this series. My favorite part of this novel is its characters, especially the protagonist, Rico. Rico means well in all that he does but usually always finds himself in some sort of trouble. He is strong and courageous; he continuously proves that he is there for others and I was glad that in this novel he started to focus more on himself. I always root for Rico and firmly believe that other readers will come to love him as well, whether you are seeing him for the first time in this story or have already gotten to know him like I have.

I like this book. Ed Duncan’s writing is great; he especially does a great job at keeping a fast pace which is needed for a thriller like this one. The plot is interesting and I did not feel myself getting bored of the story at all. In fact, it is exciting and all along the way you are left wondering what is going to happen, and it is hard to pull away from the story until you do. The characters are interesting, and although not all of them are fleshed out completely that is not needed to understand and appreciate the narrative. The descriptions are done mostly well; some of them are long winded which did slow the story down for me a little bit. However, it did not distract me from knowing what was going on and did not make me want to stop reading. I suggest this book to anyone who is interested in a good, old fashioned crime novel. This book teaches you that although things may seem hard sometimes, if you try your hardest and never give up you can win any battle.
Profile Image for Jodie (whatjodiereads).
450 reviews12 followers
January 26, 2021
After rating the previous book in this series only 3 stars, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Again, I really enjoyed reading about Rico. I feel like each book has made me like Rico more and I actually felt sorry for him at times during this book. In each book we learn a little bit more about Rico, although he’s still a very secretive character. In the previous book I really struggled to like Evelyn, however I did like her a little bit more in this one. I found her to be less whiny and annoying. She was definitely a stronger character in this. This book was very easy to read and at times hard to put down. The storyline was interesting and definitely had me hooked. With non-stop action right from the start, it was a great read. I would definitely read any future books in this series, if the author decides to write more. I’d love to know what Rico gets up to next.
331 reviews190 followers
August 9, 2020
"Does Rico always find trouble, or does trouble just come searching?"

This is the third and supposedly final part of the Pigeon - Blood red trilogy, although each book is a neatly self- contained unit, which can be read as a stand alone story. Yes! there is a backstory which lies in the background of all three books and draws them together into a series, however the author does an amazing job of filling in the pertinent details at just the right time, so that the continuity of the story and the narrative are never compromised. I never felt that I was missing out on anything, even if I hadn't read all three books in double quick time, as the series grabbed me and soundly sucked me in!

As the result of a seemingly innocent accident, Rico is back in the action, which kicks in right from the first few pages and continues on relentlessly throughout the book, although there are plenty of short 'down time' moments, when I could examine the characters more closely, as they interacted with one another, before yet another incident kicked off and it was 'back to business' as usual! The ending was as I like them to be, decisive and conclusive, although Ed cleverly managed to combine that finality, with just enough glimmers of hope that 'normal service' might be resumed in the future, as these two couples from very different sides of the track, yet more alike than they had realised before, vow to remain arms-length friends.

The by now compelling and familiar format of the storyline, which is both equally plot and character driven, blends Rico's self-styled form of justice and unwritten code of ethics, which will always only ever see him accept a contract on someone he deems to be worthy of dying, with his desire to keep all that he holds dear, safe and never to target directly, or indirectly involve anyone he sees as vulnerable, unless his back is so far up against the wall, for it to be an unavoidable circumstance. He tries his best to avoid collateral damage, but accepts that as one of the shortcomings of his volatile lifestyle.

The mature narrative and dialogue was always relevant, crisp and clean and kept everything moving along at a pace, whilst at the same time, the great use of visual language and descriptive words, drew me in so that I was always part of the intense action and right there at the scene, as the bullets were flying all around and the bodies piled up! I never needed to take time out to try and work out who did what, to who, why and when. I only needed to decide who was going to make it out alive to fight another day and who was hopefully going to get what they deserved!

Ed has manufactured a great cast of four complex and dynamic central characters, who for all their differences in ethics and life experiences, gel so well together as a team. I think that all the way through the series, they have each uncovered their own vulnerabilities and have individually been searching for a sense of belonging, however with the closing of this final case, the synergy between them has been so strong, that they have each discovered a purpose to their lives, which may re-define them in some small way.

Rico, with his fascinating contradiction of traits, is learning that he doesn't need to be a loner all his life, although the very nature of his job means that is sometimes an inevitable consequence. He is learning to give as well as to take, although I get the feeling that he will never change his lifestyle completely, as it is all he knows and he is good at it, so he realises that he cannot afford to become too soft, or he will not be able to operate at his best, making him vulnerable, which may ultimately put his own life and that of others, in danger! He is definitely an anti-hero, who even against my better judgement, morals and ethics, I have in a strange way, come to connect with, like and admire.

In a recent Guest Post, published here at Fiction Books, author Ed Duncan revealed that he has already written three screenplays with corresponding storylines to those in each of the books in this amazing trilogy.

If Ed can now only be persuaded that a trilogy is not nearly enough coverage for the excellent characters and storylines he has created, then the series definitely lends itself amazingly well to being optioned for a television series, with accompanying feature film!

So Ed, if you are listening to your readers! ...
Profile Image for BeccaJBooks.
358 reviews24 followers
August 22, 2020
Rico Stays is the third instalment in this thrilling series from Ed Duncan. Although, I've not read the other two in the series, I don't think that hampered my enjoyment of this fast paced crime novel.

Easily read as a standalone, this one gets a solid 4 stars from us here at The Beautiful Book Break.

Our story beings with Rico defending a small kid from a bad man. An altercation over some spilt drinks, causes Rico to get involved where perhaps he should have just left it. 3 dead men later, and wounded Rico wakes up in hospital with the bad guys on his tail. We follow him through the story, hiding out and trying to keep himself and those around him alive.

I liked this book. It's short, coming in at 180 pages long, and it is very fast paced. I enjoyed that aspect as it kept me enthralled and turning the pages so that I read it in one evening. The writing is well crafted and there aren't any dull moments in this book. We are constantly rooting for Rico to come out on top, even though he isn't the most innocent of characters.

Conflicted about our emotions for this anti-hero, we can appreciate the situation he has got himself in, as it seems that he only really kills men who deserve it.

There are more moments in this book that are tense and suspenseful, than there aren't. And I can guarantee that if you like some of this book, then you will like all of this book.

We were kindly given a free copy of this book by the author and want to thank him for that. I will absolutely be checking out the earlier books in this series at some point

Profile Image for Steve Tannuzzo.
313 reviews46 followers
July 25, 2021
Ed Duncan's crime trilogy wraps up with Rico Stays. Hitman Rico Sanders is recovering from gunshot wounds sustained while protecting his girlfriend from a mob boss's reckless nephew. He recuperates at the cabin of Paul Elliott, the attorney from the previous Rico Sanders books. But Paul's fascination with Rico may find him on the other side of the law as Rico must defend himself and others from a vengeful mob.

Rico Stays is a satisfying conclusion to this trilogy, and I was especially impressed with Ed Duncan's ability to mix light moments into the gravity of what was at stake for the characters.

I read somewhere that Ed Duncan is creating screenplays for each of these novels. Let's hope the Hollywood treatment is as entertaining as their source material.
Profile Image for Mike Siedschlag.
389 reviews16 followers
July 2, 2020
Author Ed Duncan provided a print copy of Rico Stays the third book in the Pigeon-Blood Red series.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in this series; Pigeon-Blood Red and The Last Straw, I was glad to get to check out this new chapter in the story of Richard aka "Rico" Sanders, the hit man with his owns set of morals.

Rico is definitely not the man to mess with, as we learn again. This time he is protecting his girlfriend from the idiot son of a local mob boss. Even the boss knows better than to cross Rico. Of course if he left Rico alone we wouldn't have much of a story would we?

Lots of mafia-style action and violence. We meet up with characters from the previous books. There is a romantic story line (actually two). Basically a story of right versus wrong within a setting of organized crime. I had more than a little of a noir feel to me.

Author Duncan does an excellent job of fleshing out his characters and if not necessarily endearing them to us, at least engaging us to root for them. Some of the characters' machismo overrules their intelligence. Kind of like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where Bugs would say, "If I do it, I get a whipping, ...I do it" These characters say "If I mess with Rico I die... I mess with him." You can guess the outcome. But a good twist at the end keeps us on our toes.

All around, a good example of mafia noir crime action. Enjoy!
Profile Image for ForTheThrillofBooks.
667 reviews16 followers
June 29, 2021
When Rico steps in to protect his girlfriend from a hot headed thug who also happens to be the crime boss’s nephew, he is gravely injured. Needing to lay low and recuperate, he find himself at a secluded cabin which belongs to an old friend. But peace is not something he’s going to get as the vengeful killers have other ideas. I am a big fan of Rico, he’s a great character who never fails to entertain. This series is a great mix of action, drama, some humour and a touch of romance. The author has created a hit man with a bit of heart in this fast paced, adrenaline fuelled and entertaining series.
Profile Image for Stuart.
216 reviews52 followers
October 9, 2020
Part three of Ed Duncan's Pigeon-Blood Red series, Rico Stays, is a tense, urgent and morally charged thriller centred around stoic, hardened yet merciful killer-for-hire, Richard 'Rico' Sanders. Ed Duncan is not messing around with Rico Stays, it gets out of hand really fast and remains so until its fierce and manic finale. This series has such a solid cast, who all return full force, and as the threats to their lives get increasingly ugly and unpredictable, we get to see more of their motivations, principles and survival instincts than ever before.

Rico is a badass, usually in control and ahead of the game but this narrative sees Rico weak, vulnerable (though he does his best to hide it) and concerned for the safety of those he surrounds himself with. The plot begins with Rico being gunned down during an altercation between a kid, an old man and the sleazy hot-headed nephew of the local mob boss. The nephew, Larry, had armed friends in the neighbourhood that decided to get involved in the matter and Rico, thinking on his feet, manages to take them down but not before they critically injure him in process.

Larry, unable to kill Rico then and there, escapes the chaos and begins plotting his bloody retaliation for this act of unforgivable disrespect. The uncle has an existing relationship with Rico and orders Larry to leave it. Larry can't forget it, Rico needs to die and Larry has the perfect person in mind to help him do it. Rico's girlfriend Jean, knowing he's too proud to do it himself, asks their lawyer acquaintance Paul Elliott for help hiding Rico until he can recover enough to deal with whatever is coming his way.

The two impatient killers begin their hunt for Rico by murdering an innocent friend during an attempt at getting information about his whereabouts. Despite his injuries Rico is forced to get involved before more people suffer because of his actions. Rico Stays is an impulsive, quick-fire and well paced thriller populated with intriguing (and unsettling) characters and strong morale themes that is a worthwhile novel for all kinds of readers. I wanted even more!

My chief complaint is that Ed Duncan could have gone into way more detail and I would have been even happier with Rico Stays. Though for readers who want an almost bite-size narrative this is perfect. There are so many great moments, ideas and interactions between characters that could have gone on for longer. Newcomer Cleveland Russell is a classic example of this. Cleveland goes through way too much too quickly and it would have been great to see more of his plot points have been explored and fleshed out. Ed Duncan has an impressive knack for creating memorable characters. Characters you want to invest in. The whole series has focused on individuals like Rico, Jean and Paul but I still want to know more about them. I certainly hope that this is not the end of this story as I am not ready to abandon this cast just yet.

Ed Duncan's emphasis on moral choices and ideals are interesting and consistent throughout each instalment of the series. In Rico Stays there is a constant focus on good vs bad and its impact on each characters lives. Lawyer Paul Elliott battles with his impulse to be a fervently good person all the time and when that goodness gets in the way of his relationship with Evelyn, leading to an even worse decision, he has to reflect on his desire to be more like Rico. It's that kind of character development that is so engaging and hard to resist.

The Pigeon-Blood Red series is not re-defining the thriller genre by any means but each story is a great example of quick witted, action packed and accessible thrillers that you can consume one after the other with ease. Ed Duncan is passionate about the thriller genre and his efforts at writing decent, grounded and intense crime fiction are most definitely worthy of our attention. It is very satisfying to see Ed Duncan evolving as each instalment of the Pigeon-Blood Red series comes out and based on the chaos present in Rico Stays, the next book will be uncomfortably intense. I hope so anyway!
Profile Image for Allison.
23 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2020
This is the third book in Rico's story, written by Ed Duncan. While reading the first two books isn't completely, 100% necessary to reading this book, I would recommend it. The characters are familiar from other books, and the earlier story lines are referenced multiple times. There's just enough backstory in "Rico Stays" for someone to keep up if they haven't read the others, but, let's be honest: knowing the whole story will make it easier to appreciate and enjoy this book.

For those who aren't familiar, Rico is an independent contractor in Chicago. He's very good at what he does (*cough*-hitman-*cough*) and likes to pick and choose what jobs he takes based on his own moral code: no kids, preferably no women, and nobody who doesn't deserve it. Because he is the best at what he does, he's able to remain independent and is not loyal to any gang or mob; conveniently, because he's the best, the bosses leave him alone and don't expect his loyalty. It's a win-win for everyone.

I hate to call them secondary characters, because they're front and center in this one maybe more so than the other books. Rico's got his girl, Jean (of questionable career choice but solid values) who I like more and more with each book. Paul (an attorney who's been accidentally pulled into Rico's world more than once and doesn't hate it) and Evelyn (Paul's girlfriend, who's been accidentally pulled into Rico's world more than once and does hate it) both play significant roles.

The book wastes no time: it took three pages to set the stage for something to happen, and then nine more pages for shit to hit the fan. With Rico in the hospital, and despite Evelyn's strong objections, Jean takes some initiative and works with Paul to find a safe place for Rico outside the city to recover. Alas, even the best of intentions can sometimes go awry (for both the good guys and the bad guys in this story), and it doesn't take long before Rico has to return to Chicago. Granted, he doesn't really have a choice: either he wraps it up or he'll get killed himself, and Rico is not cool with the second option. As he tells a guy in the first chapter, he's "pretty attached" to his own ass.

I like Ed Duncan's writing style. There is minimal fluff, very little unnecessary verbiage, and Rico has a dry sense of humor that I really enjoy. If you're looking for something with flowery language, or really descriptive paragraphs about the emotions in a scene, this isn't for you. The author gives us everything we need to understand what's going on, throws in some humor, and off we go. It makes for a quick, solid read. Because the writing style is so precise, it is a little more obvious when something isn't quite so precise, which is probably why it stuck out. It only happened a few times, though, and wasn't enough to distract from the story.

While I liked the story, sometimes the ladies in the book were a little . . . I'm not even sure what word I'd use. Their reactions to certain scenarios just weren't what I would have expected. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't give specifics. Just know sometimes I questioned a character's response.

As with the other books, point-of-view changes constantly throughout. I personally like seeing all the different viewpoints because it gives an extra dimension and helps explain some of the characters' thought processes. And because we know all the people involved, and literally see things from their perspectives, it's interesting to see how they all interact with each other. It's like watching a chess match: you can see all the pieces, and you know each side has some kind of strategy, but you're not quite sure how it'll all end up.

Overall, this is a great addition to the series. There are a few ways to continue the story in a fourth book and I'll be curious to see which way the author decides to take it.
Profile Image for Hannah May Book Reviews.
313 reviews14 followers
January 19, 2021
Title: Rico Stays
Author: Ed Duncan
Pages: 180
Rating: 3.5/5 (Rounded up to 4)

A huge thank you to the author and Kelsey from Book Publicity services for providing me with a copy of the book to review.


When Rico tries to step in to save a young boy from a hot-headed, sleazeball who is the nephew of the local mob moss, he is gunned down. Rico didn’t go down easily however, making sure he took down three of the cronies before losing consciousness. Larry, the sleazeball luckily managed to escape, but Rico embarrassed him and he begins to plot his deadly retaliation and finish off Rico once and for all. However, his mob boss uncle demands he lets it go, knowing how dangerous Rico ca be, but Larry is blood thirsty. Rico needs to recover and quick, so Jean, his girlfriend takes it into her own hand and asks lawyer Paul Elliot to help. Soon Rico and Jean are hiding out in the country but he can’t rest for long. An innocent man and a close friend is killed in order to force Rico to come out of hiding, Rico has to step in before anymore innocents suffer, he isn’t fighting fit but he has no choice.

Rico Stays is the third instalment in the Pigeon Blood Red series and all of them are fantastic reads! I connected with Ed’s writing style straight away, just like I did with the other two books. I had high hopes for Rico Stays knowing the other two books were action packed, and it’s safe to say I wasn’t left disappointed.

I felt that Rico Stays looked at the characters in a deeper level and we really got to understand Rico and Paul. I really enjoyed how they came together in this book to form a likeable but unlikely alliance. Rico Stays shows there is a lot more to the charming Rico than just what you see. Despite him being a professional killer and his choices being questionable you can’t help but like him and I’m glad we had a good fix of him in this book.

Once again, the story kicked off with a bang and we are thrown back into the action again. I found it crazy how things escalate quick in the story, the reactions of some characters do seem over the top when it could be avoided, but this is what I found interesting in the Mobster world. There is plenty of backstabbing, sneakiness and double crossing throughout and once again I learnt how important it is not to get attached to characters Ed Duncan creates because you never know what is going to happen. What I do really admire about Ed Duncan is his ability to create likeable bad guys!

This read is a short pacey read with short snappy chapters, I do really enjoy Ed Duncan’s snappy writing style. There is a perfect balance of suspense and action and you are kept hooked in from start to finish. I found it really helped how Ed also provided us a back story in this book just to keep you on top of the story, this also meant this book can be read as a standalone, however I do seriously recommend if you want to get to know Rico do it from the very beginning. I found the ending to be a good closure but I am slightly sad that my journey with this series has now come to and end, thank you to the author for action packed, mobster series.
Profile Image for Emily Kathleen.
148 reviews12 followers
January 26, 2021
I received a copy of Rico Stays in exchange for an honest review.

I decided to give Rico Stays three stars.

This book follows Richard Sanders aka Rico, an enforcer, who steps in as a good Samaritan to help his girlfriend in an altercation with a local mob boss’ nephew. The situation goes wrong and Rico winds up in hospital after a shoot-out between the nephew’s friends and himself.

After a speedy recovery from his near fatal wounds, Rico needs a place to stay for a while as he continues his healing. A place just like Paul Elliot’s cabin – a lawyer whose life Rico has saved more than once before. But how long can Rico lie low until people want revenge for the killings of their friends and family.

One thing I really enjoyed with this book is how action packed it is and there is never a dull moment in the plot. This meant it was sometimes hard to put down which is always a sign of a good book. The overall plot for me was great and even though it’s not that long, it still had everything it needed to have in it. I liked Duncan’s ‘to the point’ writing style and it made the book feel a lot more fast paced.

I also loved the character of Rico and found everything he did gripping and fascinating so I completely understand why Paul would help him, despite his girlfriend’s protestations.

However, it did take me a while to get into the book. I was struggling to really connect with it until I was about fifty pages in. Because it took me a fair amount of time to get into the story, it brought down my rating a little bit. Three stars, though, is still a good rating from me. I also felt that there were references to the previous books in the trilogy which I didn’t understand. I knew going into this that it was the third book and I’d say you could easily read it as a standalone but I think I’d have given it a slightly higher rating if I had read the first two in the series and had a bit more of a back story to the relationship between Rico and Paul and the necklace which was mentioned.

Overall, I think this is great book for anyone wanting a fast-paced thriller/crime story and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the genre.
Profile Image for Erica Robyn Metcalf.
1,159 reviews62 followers
June 30, 2020
Rico Stays by Ed Duncan is the third installment in this fast-paced and revenge filled storyline. Just like the other two, this was quite the nail-biter! Phew, what a wonderful ending to the trilogy.

When this story begins, we see Rico watching a baseball game. Soon, he gets a phone call from Jean- she needs him to come pick her up, so off he goes.

As Rico is waiting for Jean to come out of the grocery store, he sees a pick-up game of baseball being played across the street. One of the boys runs to make an incredible catch, but unfortunately bumps into a man coming out of the shop, causing him to drop the booze he had just purchased. But this isn’t just any man. It’s the nephew of a mob boss, and he is a total loose cannon… This man flies off the handle in anger and when a good samaritan steps in, things turn physical.

Before you know it, bullets are flying. And from there, the story is off and running, and it doesn’t let up until the very end.

As this is the third book in the series, I will keep this very light!

Per usual, I have to say that that Ed Duncan’s writing style is just so wonderful! It’s very easy to read and wicked realistic. The action and suspense is so well done that I found myself holding my breath more than a few times while reading this one.

I also really enjoyed the relationships between the characters and loved seeing how much they developed both over the course of the trilogy as well as over the course of the events in this book. I think that may actually be my favorite element when it comes down to it. I just loved each of their personalities and how they interacted with one another!

I loved that the author provided bits of information within the story that helped recap what had happened before as it both helped readers of the series get caught back up, or it filled new readers in if they had missed the first two. Of course, I would definitely recommend starting with the first book and reading these in order so you can really get the full picture.

My only slight irk was that there was cheating involved here, which is a big no-go for me in any capacity. However, I will say that the way it was handled here was wonderfully refreshing. I especially appreciated the honesty that was brought into the situation and how the two handled it. Well done, Mr Duncan!

My Favorite Passage
One rule I live by is I never threaten to do somethin’ I’m not prepared to do if I hafta.

My Final Thoughts
I said it at the top, but I’ll say it again- this was a great third book to end this trilogy! I felt like it concluded in such a lovely way, and it made me hope for all the best for the four characters.

I also recently read that Ed Duncan has written screenplays adapted from each installment in the trilogy. MY GOODNESS. I would LOVE to see adaptations of these books!
Profile Image for Michelle Stanley.
279 reviews11 followers
July 24, 2020
Rico Stays is an action packed thriller from the Pigeon Blood Red series by Ed Duncan. Richard “Rico” Sanders disciplines Lenny, a thug who bullied his girlfriend Jean, and a kid in a parking lot. But things go wrong when the thug’s gang joins the fight. Rico is seriously injured, gets a visit from Gus, local mob boss and Lenny’s uncle. Gus knows Rico is a gunman no-one should mess with, so tries to make peace with him. But peace isn’t on hothead Lenny’s agenda and he wants revenge. So does Cleveland, an ex-con whose brother was killed by Rico.

Jean asks attorney Paul Elliot for a favour, much to the disapproval of his girlfriend, Evelyn. She dislikes Rico and cannot understand why Paul will not disassociate himself from him. Rico once helped Paul protect a teen who witnessed a crime. Evelyn feels their lives will always be in constant danger whenever Rico is around. Plus, Paul seems to emulate the hitman, which annoys her a lot.

Rico has a cool, no nonsense approach when it involves his profession. He also has a compassionate side seldom seen by most people. He’s selective about the jobs being offered, and only targets persons who “has it coming.” The other main characters got their fair share of attention too. I guess my least favourite is Evelyn, yet I understand her concerns.

Ed Duncan's writing is strong and very detailed. That’s why I don’t skim through pages because a character’s action, thoughts or a detail, no matter how irrelevant it seem, may lead to something significant. It often does, which makes the story more engaging. Rico Stays is book 3 from the Pigeon Blood Red Series. I liked it as much as the second book, The Last Straw.
Profile Image for Danielle Urban.
Author 15 books138 followers
July 11, 2020
Rico Stays by Ed Duncan is by far a great thriller. It's a combination of The Jason Bourne Series and The Godfather in some ways. Action-packed crime fiction-this is a must a read! I liked the twist plots and the edge-of-your seat suspense. I never what the main character, Rico, would get himself into next. Deadly, intriguing, and satisfying-Ed Duncan caught my attention with this latest book. There were plenty of times, I didn't think Rico would make it alive. He's like a cat with nine lives. As a reader, I just never knew when the final moment would come, if ever. Rico is a bad-ass kind of guy. He knows how to use his weapons and use them well. He has his own rules of what makes someone bad or good. Rico rids the world of the bad guys. Overall, I enjoyed reading this fast-paced tale. Ed Duncan proved once again that he writes well-crafted fiction.

I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.
Profile Image for Jamie.
640 reviews
August 21, 2020
Rico Stays is the third installment in this thrilling series from Ed Duncan. I read Pigeon-Blood Red first but missed the second book but I didn't need to in order to read this one. It can easily be read as a stand alone, in fact I liked this one best!

The book begins as our hero Rico defends a small child from a bad man. 3 dead men later and Rico wakes up in a hospital with the bad guys hot on his trail. We follow him as he hides out and tries to keep himself alive.

This book is short and I read it in under 2 hours, its so fast paced, I don't think I moved from the couch the entire time I was reading. It's nice to have books that are easy to read in one setting.

There are tense and suspenseful moments in the book but I love Rico and hope there is more from him.

Thanks to Book Publicity Services and Kelsey Butts for my gifted copy.

Profile Image for Jessica.
39 reviews1 follower
July 7, 2020
The third in a crime thriller trilogy, Rico Stays can be read as a standalone novel. I haven't read the other titles and did not at all feel at a disadvantage.

The positives? Firstly characterisation; Rico is the perfect anti-hero, yes he doesn't always make the right decisions but you can't help but root for him because ultimately his intentions are good. The pacing is spot on, the book neither drags or feels rushed. Instead it feels as though everything happens as it should and when it should. The plot is clever, well constructed and not obvious. It fits the genre perfectly without feeling recycled. In fact it is much the opposite, it is a refreshing book that you won't find yourself comparing to other titles. It more than holds its own, which is testament to the writing style of the author.

Rico Stays is absolutely worth a read, it's pretty short in length so could easily be finished in only a couple of sittings. I'll certainly be checking out the other titles after enjoying this one.

*I received a complimentary electronic copy in exchange for my honest review*
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.