- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleMichael Connelly is well known as the author of the Harry Bosch series (THE BLACK ECHO, THE BLACK ICE, THE CONCRETE BLONDE, THE LAST COYOTE, TRUNK MUSIC, and ANGELS FLIGHT). Although that is a popular and successful series, Connelly occasionally departs from chronicling Bosch's adventures to tell different types of stories, such as 1995's THE POET, about a serial killer who targets homicide detectives, and 1997's BLOOD WORK, a thriller that featured a heart transplant recipient. Connelly has once again chosen to write a stand-alone novel, this time about a criminal tortured by tragic events in her past.
Six years prior to the events of VOID MOON, Cassie Black was involved in a robbery that resulted in the death of her husband, a professional thief named Max Freeling. Apprehended at the scene, she was convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison. Paroled after five years, Cassie set out to rebuild her life, trying to achieve the dream that sustained her during her time in prison. Living from day to day, Cassie prays for enough time to achieve that dream. But fate is not kind to Cassie, and outside forces beyond her control force her to take desperate measures.
Needing a large amount of cash, Cassie decides to return to her past life, contacting friend and criminal go-between Leo Renfro in search of a job "big enough to disappear on." Leo finds a job that should provide an appropriately substantial payoff. There's one catch, however -- her mark is staying at the Cleopatra Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, the very place where Max died, apparently committing suicide by leaping through the plate-glass window of a 20th floor luxury suite. Reluctant but desperate, Cassie takes the job, setting out to rip off high roller Diego Hernandez.
Before she departs, Leo secures her promise not to act during a celestial event he calls "the void moon." He explains that this is an "astrological situation" due to occur during the night she plans to hit Hernandez. "It's a bad luck time, Cass. Anything can happen under a void moon. Anything wrong." As proof, he mentions that Presidents Lincoln, McKinley, and Kennedy were all inaugurated during a void moon. "Clinton, too, and he might as well've been shot, what happened to him."
Cassie remembers his caution when she is trapped in Hernandez's closet after a phone call wakes him during the burglary. Waiting for him to return to sleep, Cassie cannot act until the time of the void moon. Emerging from the closet, she discovers that the money she thought was in a safe is instead in a briefcase handcuffed to her victim's wrist. The action ends as Hernandez stirs, roused by Cassie's attempts to remove the briefcase -- Cassie draws her gun as the scene fades to black.
When next we see her, a distraught Cassie is consulting with Leo, telling him that the job has gone terribly wrong -- instead of the $500K score they expected, the briefcase contained $2.5 million. At first awestruck, the pair quickly realize they are in big trouble. "Sometimes," notes Cassie, "you can steal too much."
Trouble takes the form of one Jack Karch, a shady private detective hired by the mob-connected head of casino security to investigate the murder and robbery of Hernandez, who, unbeknownst to Leo or Cassie, was carrying funds belonging to a Miami crime cartel. Known as the "Jack of Spades" due to the part he played as a child in his father's Vegas magic act, and his habit of personally digging the graves of his victims, the murderous and efficient Karch quickly picks up Cassie's trail, leaving numerous victims in his wake.
Connelly has come up with yet another gem, a well-crafted crime tale that evokes Richard Stark's hard-boiled Parker novels, and, fittingly, OCEAN'S ELEVEN by Jack Finney, to which Connelly provides a specific nod late in the book. There's more, much more, to this plot, but I don't want to ruin the myriad surprises Connelly has in store for his readers. As ever, the author delivers well-rounded characters -- Karch and Cassie are complex, captivating, and convincing. Their individual histories are rich and colorful, furnishing plausible psychological motivation for the choices they make. Connelly also provides telling background for his supporting cast; although they are onstage only briefly, Leo Renfro and parole officer Thelma Kibble often threaten to steal the show. Add to this Connelly's painstaking attention to detail (his descriptions of Cassie's high-tech tools and of the inner workings of Las Vegas casinos are fascinating), and you end up with high-octane entertainment.