In Wilsher’s debut crime novel, a small-time thief and his estranged daughter go on the run from mobsters and cops who are after his latest haul.
Charlie McCoy knows that helping his friend Moe Baker burglarize mob boss Big Phil Adonis is a bad idea. But he owes loan-sharking meth dealer Goran Ivanov $20,000, and he doesn’t want him to break his other hand. However, the cash in Adonis’ safe isn’t enough to cover his debt; even worse, it turns out that Moe intends to set Charlie up. Charlie gets away with the loot, which includes a stack of CDs filled with incriminating “accounting information” that the FBI wants. Soon, Adonis’ son, Phil Jr., and his thugs are hot on Charlie’s trail, and the police aren’t far behind. The gangsters leave dead bodies in their wake, but the cops attribute the murders to Charlie. Joining the pursuit is a crooked FBI agent, who’s certain that a CD or two could incriminate him if they got into the cops’ hands. Also, it’s Charlie’s week with his 13-year-old daughter, Amy, and his ex-wife, Carol, drops her off mere minutes before mobsters come knocking. Wilsher’s dynamic story has some shades of Elmore Leonard’s work, presenting a world in which good and bad guys are seemingly interchangeable. Charlie, for example, is the hero of the story, but he’s also a criminal and not an ideal father, while the aforementioned federal agent uses his ill-gotten money primarily to care for a bedridden relative. These and other characters are all top-notch, although the relationship between father and daughter is the strongest. Amy comes off as a believable teenager who bombards her dad with questions and is snarky at all the right moments.
A wonderfully offbeat caper with smart characters wielding guns and razor-sharp dialogue.