Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BARBED-WIRE KISS by Wallace Stroby

THE BARBED-WIRE KISS

By Wallace Stroby

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-30034-4
Publisher: Minotaur

Harry Rane has been leading a slow-and-slower kind of life. Once he was a cop on the fast track, a senior detective with the New Jersey State Police Department’s major crimes unit, but that was two years ago, before the tragic death of his wife—and before a bullet took him down, forcing him into early retirement. Now an old friend in trouble lures him from his hermitage. As the result of a drug deal gone sour, Bobby Fox owes money to an ill-tempered crime boss named Eddie Fallon. Bobby, who went to high school with Harry, knows he’s done something stupid, knows bodily harm lurks, and appeals to his friend for help. Harry, glad to be in play again, thinks that paying Fallon his $50,000 is all that’s required to avoid a more bruising payback. And he’d be right if it weren’t for the complication embodied in Mrs. Fallon. At 18, Cristina and Harry were desperately in love. Circumstances parted them, and he hasn’t seen her since. A single look, however, is enough to slap king-size handwriting on the wall. “I lost her once,” he says. “I don’t want to lose her again.” Bullets fly, blood flows, body bags fill, and Harry becomes unpopular on both sides of the thin blue line. When the smoke clears, though, will the star-crossed, double-crossed lovers still be standing?

All the familiar hardboiled elements are managed competently in this fast-paced debut, but prepare to have your VQ—your Violence Quotient—challenged to the max.