AMONG THIEVES by John Clarkson


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A bad guy–versus–bad guy thriller in which the best outcome might be for everyone to die.

Olivia Sanchez is a hardworking, ambitious employee at a Manhattan brokerage firm. When she apparently uncovers financial malfeasance, an irate colleague pounds his fist on her desk and breaks her fingers. Much worse, she's fired. Ostensibly to get her job back, she enlists the aid of her cousin Manny Guzman, an angry ex-convict who thinks that respectable Wall Street types “look at us [ex-cons] like cockroaches.” Guzman in turn lines up James Beck, a convicted cop killer who was later exonerated. The conflict quickly gets out of control as small armies of thugs line up for and against Sanchez. Beck really owns the story, as one character’s stated goal is to “wipe this Beck and all around him off the map of life.” Beck is believable when he threatens to starve one of his enemies to death and run the man’s skinny remains piece by piece through a meat grinder and feed the mush to a pack of dogs. Fans of grit and action will appreciate all the bullets and f-bombs that pepper the story, though the latter get old after about the hundredth eff-splosion. And heroes—who needs stinkin’ heroes? No one is sympathetic here, although one might find vicarious delight in Sanchez (no nun, that Olivia) and Beck as they spend one vivid scene in bed. The story rarely stalls in its battles, bloodletting and betrayals, yet it still feels too long. At some point the reader may think, yes, that twist was good, that fight was exciting. Now enough already: Let’s wrap this adventure up.

Readers who want a likable protagonist to root for won’t find one here. Yet it’s a well-told, over-the-top tale long enough to keep a passenger occupied on a coast-to-coast flight.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-250-04724-3
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2014


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