Monday, December 9, 2013

Reviewed by James L. Thane
Four out of five stars

Thick As Thieves is a densely plotted heist novel that locks you in quickly at the beginning of the story and then continues to ratchet up the tension as it races to a startling climax.

At the center of the story is an ex-CIA agent named Carr. He's the new leader of a small band of elite criminals who are planning a huge score. The mark is Curtis Prager, a former hedge fund manager who fell from grace and who now launders huge amounts of money for various criminal enterprises. Carr and company intend to relieve Mr. Prager of many of the millions of dollars he's holding for his various clients.

It won't be easy. Prager lives on a huge estate in south Florida and is protected by a network of top-flight, virtually impenetrable security, both physical and electronic. Breaking through those barriers will not be a job for amateurs or for the faint of heart.

If the job weren't tough enough already, Carr has problems with members of his own team. Their last leader, a man named Declan, was killed when the team's last job went south. This is Carr's first time at the helm and other members of the team worry about his ability to get the job done. They all have pretty massive egos of their own, and some of them may have plans of their own that don't exactly dovetail with Carr's. Especially interesting is the beautiful, sexy Valerie who is the team's honey trap and who appears to have fallen hard for Carr.
Or has she? Inevitably in a crew like this, there's always the issue of honor among thieves.

This is a riveting story that travels from Florida to the Caribbean, to Latin America and elsewhere. The details of the planned heist are extremely intriguing, as is the cast of characters. And every time you think you've just figured out what's going on, the story races off in a different direction.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes crime fiction, and I'd especially recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Richard Stark's Parker series. While there are obvious differences between this book and the Parker books, they have enough in common that Parker fans might well want to look for this one.

A Revolutionary Masterpiece!

A Tale of Two CitiesA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hands down my favorite Dickens' I've read yet! It's got love, sacrifice, revenge, revolt and other exciting verbs! I'm a big fan of a solid marriage between character development and action. A Tale of Two Cities is well-wed. Some criticize Dickens for his trite stories and overblown caricature-esque characters. Yes, the man wrote some less-than-perfect books. He wrote them for a wide-ranging public and he wrote for money. High-minded prose eloquently crafted may garner praise, but it doesn't always pay the bills. But here you get the author at his finest, plotting a riveting tale and creating sympathetic characters with empathy up the wazoo. The great descriptions of the rebellion are interesting, but it's the dual nature of the revolutionaries that I really love. Dickens makes you feel for their plight and then twists it around, so that the tortured become the tyrants and your fondness turns to loathing as you witness their despicable deeds. "Feel" is the operative word there. Dickens put a lot of feeling into A Tale of Two Cities.

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