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After Matt Caine loses his wife in a car accident, all he has left is his daughter, Anna. But just as the little girl — who survived the accident — finally starts thriving, Matt’s former in-laws threaten to take her away via a bitter custody battle. Desperate to keep Anna and in debt to some dangerous local thugs, Matt has no good options. But he does have Jay, one very bad ...
After Matt Caine loses his wife in a car accident, all he has left is his daughter, Anna. But just as the little girl — who survived the accident — finally starts thriving, Matt’s former in-laws threaten to take her away via a bitter custody battle. Desperate to keep Anna and in debt to some dangerous local thugs, Matt has no good options. But he does have Jay, one very bad friend.
Just out of jail and plagued by drug addiction, Jay tempts Matt with a foolproof kidnapping scheme. But what sounds like the perfect solution to all his problems eventually leads Matt through a nightmarish maze of betrayals and reversals, pushing him to his breaking point — and beyond.
Now, with his entire life hanging in the balance, Matt makes a pledge of brutal payback
Verdict Written in a spare, laconic style reminiscent of Elmore Leonard or Robert B. Parker, this fast-moving, bleak thriller driven by the economic realities of modern America will appeal to fans of suspense fiction from the grittier side of the mean streets.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
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Posted August 27, 2013
If you'd like to delve into a modern Shakespearean tragedy where the dead bodies pile up faster than firewood and the inside of an incinerator never sounded so good, then you'll want to give OUT OF THE BLACK a go. Although it's all blackness all day long with nary a star in sight. Most of my reviews, this one included, are a bit more of the untraditional variety. But with writing, you go with what you know.
Matt Caine isn't a superhero, but if he and I ever met in real life, I'd ask him for his lotto numbers, or his picks on the ponies, and then play the exact opposite, probably netting myself a nice chunk of cash in the process. If unluckiness were a job, he'd have the market nailed down cold. And if writing bad dudes were a religion, John Rector could take command of the pulpit with ease. Like James Lee Burke before him, he knows bad, and then he makes it worse and worse, taking his readers on a journey through the depths of hell without even bothering to use a map or GPS. If I had friends like Matt's--Jay and Roach and Brian Murphy--and in-laws that show as much caring and compassion as a pet viper, I wouldn't need enemies. And I'd already be dead, pushing up daisies from six feet below, in some wooden box in some unmarked grave. But Matt's a survivor, even if he isn't always the smartest one in the police lineup.
As for the pace of the story, it reminded me of a swift jaunt on the interstate. If that jaunt involved a 2013 SRT Viper, cruising along at a cool 100 MPH, with six cop cars behind me, windows down, long hair whipping in the wind, as I gave the fuzz the one-fingered salute with my eyes pointed dead ahead, dodging through traffic like some meth-induced frog.
There are a few holes--not of the Swiss cheese variety--but still plot holes nonetheless. But if you focus on the ride, and don't look down at the speedometer, you'll find yourself having a grand time, as you sing along to AC/DC or Rage Against the Machine. And you may just outrun the cops long enough to reach the end of this tale.
I received this book for free through NetGalley.
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator