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by Wallace Stroby
Minotaur Books, April 2012
304 pages
ISBN: 1250000378

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Crissa Stone is a career criminal who is a skilled thief. At the moment, she needs to launder some money from a heist so that she can use it for bribes to get her lover, Wayne, out of a Texas prison, as well as provide money for her daughter's care. Against her better judgment, she uses someone unknown to her and ends up getting ripped off. That means she needs to do another job to make up for the lost income.

Meanwhile, former mobster Benny Roth is being threatened by a current Mob guy, Danny Taliferro. Back in the day, Benny worked with Joey Dio, who engineered a big job that rumor has it netted him around five million dollars. Dio is dead, and the money has never been found. Taliferro figures that Benny knows where to find the stash. Indeed, Benny has an idea of where it might be. But he has long been out of the life and isn't really capable of doing the job on his own. Benny and Crissa are introduced through a mutual friend and work together to see if they can find the money.

I love Stroby's writing lean yet suspenseful with a nicely developed plot. There was one rather stupid action on the part of Benny that was implausible, but the remainder of the narrative played out well. As always, Stroby does an excellent job of characterization. Although Crissa and Benny are both as hardboiled as they get, they are both motivated by love rather than personal gain. Crissa is a great creation; it's fascinating to spend time in her head as she puts together a plan of action. Introduced in A COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, she's a character that I hope will be the centerpiece of many more books.

Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment herself.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, April 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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