Friday, June 2, 2017

Another Great Entry in the Crissa Stone Series from Wallace Stroby

I'm a huge fan of Wallace Stroby's Crissa Stone series, and even though I've owned this book for ages, I've put off reading it because there's not another one in the series to look forward to, at least not yet. I finally couldn't resist any longer, though, and basically devoured it in one sitting.

For those who haven't yet made her acquaintance, Stone is a professional criminal. She most often works as part of a crew, and trouble almost always ensues when one of her carefully-planned jobs doesn't come off quite as expected. She's been described as a female Parker and the description is apt. She's a tough, no-nonsense, hardened criminal and every one of the four books in which she's appeared thus far has been a great read.

In this case, Crissa has been laying low for a year or so following her last job. But she could use some excitement and another payday is always very welcome too. Accordingly, she listenes to a pitch from a wealthy art collector in L.A. The guy has come into possession of some antiquities that were smuggled out of Iraq during the confusion surrounding the war there. But the authorities know that he has them and have demanded their return if the guy wants to avoid prosecution.

As fate would have it, just at that moment another wealthy collector has made a nice offer for the pieces. The guy in L.A. would much rather sell the antiquities and ship them overseas rather than having to return them and gain nothing for all his time and trouble. The pieces are being stored in a warehouse in Las Vegas. The collector is supposed to move them to California and from there the pieces will be repatriated.

Rather than do that, the guy wants Crissa to put together a crew and steal the antiquities while they are enroute from Vegas to the coast. They will then deliver the pieces to a dock where they will be shipped to the overseas collector. The collector in L.A. will tell the authorities that he's very sorry the pieces were stolen, but it was hardly his fault. In the meantime, he'll pocket a very large payout from the overseas collector. Crissa's payout promises to be huge as well, and the job will be simple as pie. Save for the planning, the actual heist will only take a few minutes and will not be at all dangerous. What could possibly go wrong?

Crissa is a very compelling character and it's fascinating watching her plan the heist. The way she's worked it out, the job does seem extremely simple and foolproof. Watching the way it all plays out is even more fun. This is a very good hard-boiled novel that should appeal to practically anyone who enjoys their crime fiction with an edge to it. And I hate the fact that I don't have another one of them waiting in the wings.

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