A promising debut crime novel about a Renaissance man-turned-reluctant criminal.

Harry Hid It


McKeever (Common Sense for Today’s America, 2014) offers a pleasantly ambling thriller about a talented mechanic and criminal.

Harry Strickland has a massive dog named Max, a small house, and a longtime girlfriend named Sophia, and he seemingly values them in that order. He also enjoys painting and extreme sports, and is a skillful, if occasional, car thief. After nearly getting nabbed on one such heist, the 30-something Harry decides to aim higher and “up his game. Not just a little, but in a way to make himself independently wealthy in five years.” Aided by a thoughtful biker named John and two-bit hood named Ozzie, his usual partners, he methodically executes a series of random crimes, squirreling away the bulk of the proceeds for future use. But the fact that he values friendship over competence comes back to haunt him, thanks largely to Ozzie’s screw-ups. Soon there’s a comely FBI agent, Karyn Dudek, on Harry’s tail, as well as a psychotic, small-time crime boss named Fat Tony, whose arrogant son was accidentally killed when Harry’s trio ripped off his drug deal. So Harry decides to pit the two sides against each other. In this first book of a planned series, McKeever has created a likable crook in Harry, a man who thinks, rather than shoots, his way out of difficult situations. Still, the author leaves few of the supporting cast members standing for future volumes, which is disappointing. However, he offers an added wrinkle, as the book’s subtitle suggests: an offer to readers to figure out the location of Harry’s treasure for a real-life cash prize, with the amount dependent on book sales and the number of correct solutions. Setting aside this gimmick, McKeever has still come through with a yarn that will keep readers engrossed.

A promising debut crime novel about a Renaissance man-turned-reluctant criminal.

Pub Date: May 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9966883-6-9

Page Count: 460

Publisher: Freeze Time Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2016

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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