Two convicts recently released from prison may be looking at a big score, one that everyone seems interested in getting their hands on, in Lomax’s crime novel.
Lawton Gibbs and Roy LaHood had once been such proficient burglars they were known as the Four-Minute Gang. But after they’ve both served time, for different transgressions, it’s Roy’s estranged wife, Roberta, who’s got a gig lined up. She wants them to rob her boss, Ronnie Harrison. His safes, at home and in his gentlemen’s club, are reputedly filled with millions. Lawton and Roy aren’t keen on working with Roberta, but that doesn’t stop others from hearing about the purported scheme. Sure enough, someone gets a hold of Ronnie’s goods, and the inevitable accusations of thievery ultimately lead to more than one murder. The novel brims with criminals and seedy types, which Lomax offsets with his two sympathetic convict main characters. Lawton, for one, upon his release, meets up with elderly widow Kathy Johnson, whom he had essentially wooed years earlier—in the midst of burglarizing her home. The courts, meanwhile, reversed Roy’s murder conviction based on the stand-your-ground law; he shot and killed a man beating Roberta. Most characters, however, revel in callousness, from club bartender and drug dealer on the side Marty Bannister to Lawton’s perpetually contentious daughter Julia. There’s a lot of stealing going on, but it’s all gleefully diverting and never convoluted since it’s generally clear, at any given time, who’s got the loot. There aren’t many surprises; double crossings, for example, can’t happen when no one genuinely trusts (or likes) anyone else. But Lomax knows to keep the plot moving, despite a dialogue-heavy narrative. The clipped prose hums along, generating a blunt, edgy mood. A highlight is when Clarice, a dancer and Ronnie’s live-in girlfriend, storms off from the unsavory club owner: “The bedroom door slammed. The front door slammed. Her car door slammed.”
A heist goes bad in entertaining fashion.