Professional thief Crissa Stone’s latest heist yielded dick. After paying her contact, her lawyer, and shooting some cash her cousin’s way in return for taking care of the daughter she gave up years ago, said dick is even smaller. (I couldn’t resist!) On top of that, her lover and mentor is rotting away in prison and will probably not survive his full sentence, the thought of him eating away at her daily. So when the opportunity to pay off a parole board member in return for Wayne’s early release arises, she needs to earn the two-hundred grand fast.
Normally, a veteran like Crissa would walk from a job like the mob card game heist offered to her, but the pay-off and timing – high and very fucking soon – are too, too righteous to let pass her by. But when the job leaves a made guy dead and brings ruthless hit man Eddie the Saint to her door, she soon wishes she’d trusted her initial instinct about the sketchy gig.
The Nerd has always meant to get around to Wallace Stroby’s work but you know how it is, dear reader. TBR piles, right? They eventually turn into TBR mountains, amirite? (This is just a taste of my act so come on down to the Chuckle Hutt open mic this Sunday for the full wacky meal!) But now that I’ve scoped dude’s latest, A Cold Shot to the Heart, I am definitely interested in hitting up his back catalogue toot-sweet.
This is some strong shit, dear reader, like let-a-couple-elephants-fuck-on-top-of-it strong. The storytelling is tight and never needlessly complex, all the twists organic and sensible for the authentic-seeming world Stroby has created. The action scenes are fucking crystal clear, the climactic showdown one of the most thrilling in recent memory.
The characters are nicely drawn, even Eddie the Saint, violent-ass thug though he may be, is never less than completely understandable, even when he’s bringing the razor blade down on some poor sonofabitch. Stroby’s depiction of mob and pro thief life is refreshingly stark as well, both paths seeming lamely unglamorous and oppressively workaday.
If you’re a fan of the Richard Stark Parker novels, Tom Piccirilli’s Cold novels or the work of Charlie Stella, you’re gonna dig this shit something fierce. Cold Shot to the Heart is the type of book you want to leave at someone’s cabin, steadfast in the belief that some unsuspecting vacationer will piss away the sunshine and fresh air reading it, the poor bastard just dying to know what happens next.