A modern-day crime thriller that intertwines the lives of a hardworking Philadelphia cop and a self-made businessman on the wrong side of the law.
In Tanz’s debut novel, Rick Grosse is the scrappy, smooth-talking co-owner and operator of Full Service Concierges, an all-purpose outfit dedicated to supplying nearly anything—from last-minute hotel reservations to black-market drugs, alcohol and prostitutes—to “those who wanted something and wanted it yesterday.” As the story opens, Rick is still pining for his long-lost girlfriend Brandi, “the one who got away,” and also dealing with his partner Carl Mickels, whom he suspects is planning to turn him in to federal agents. Rick takes Carl out to an abandoned lot and kills him, which sets the plot’s main gears in motion. Rick comes to the attention of Stephen Davis, a team leader of Philadelphia’s Organized Crime Task Force and a straight-arrow workaholic who has to clear his vacation days well in advance, for when “he would not have to be accountable to anyone, barring a national disaster or alien invasion.” As Rick jet-sets up and down the Eastern seaboard and beyond (and Tanz very strongly evokes the seedy joys of air travel), Stephen slowly, inexorably draws the net tighter around Rick’s operations and its shady network of Mafia backers. As the author skillfully ratchets up the pace and tension, the story starts to hinge on Rick’s murder of his partner, which haunts him like Macbeth’s killing of Banquo. The book’s carefully wrought details of small-time racketeering and procedural police work alternate well with the action sequences and descriptions of local color, as when Rick drives to Atlantic City, N.J.: “Blueberry bogs and corn rows were interspersed along the highway, with occasional signs reminding that not wearing a seat belt is a punishable offense. Rick smiled. So is murder.” The inevitable confrontation between killer and lawman is also complicated by an extremely enjoyable plot twist.
A fast-paced, engaging mob-and-cops novel.