KINGS OF MIDNIGHT by Wallace Stroby: Book Review

What starts off perfectly for Crissa Stone as the last in a series of ATM robberies ends with her two partners shooting each other to death.  Not exactly the way Crissa had hoped it would end.

In Kings of Midnight, Crissa is the brains behind a number of successful robberies.   Forced to run after the murders, she now needs a way to launder the stolen money, all $340,00 of it.  So she goes to an old friend, Jimmy Peaches, a former mobster now living in a nursing home, to ask for his help.

At the same time, another mob-connected guy, Benny Roth, has seen his carefully constructed life fall apart after he’s found by some wise guys who think he knows where millions of dollars from a twenty-year-old robbery can be found.  Benny manages to escape, grab his girlfriend and a suitcase, and run.  And, as the plot would have it, he runs to Jimmy Peaches.

Nobody in Kings of Midnight is blameless.  Crissa has been a thief for years and now needs money to support her young daughter, who is living with Crissa’s cousin, and her lover, whom she is hoping will soon be released from prison.  She’s willing to do almost anything to get the money she needs, but she knows she needs to be careful; there are bad guys after her.  “Nothing’s ever easy, she thought.  No matter how much you plan, allow for every contingency.  Things go bad, and then you have to work twice as hard just to get back to where you started.”  But Crissa’s determined to do what she has to do for her daughter and her lover.

Benny is in a similar situation.  Many of the old mobsters are dead, and the ones who are alive want him to lead them to those millions.  Benny needs to protect himself and his girlfriend, not an easy task.  Although he was involved with gangsters when he was younger, Benny was never a killer, but right now he’s surrounded by men who are.

Wallace Stroby has written a thriller that has you cheering for the “bad guys,” hoping they don’t get caught by the police or killed by the really bad guys.  It’s a tightrope act for an author, but Stroby handles it perfectly.  His characters, flawed as they are, have enough humanity in them to touch us and make us like them.  We know they are on the wrong side of the law and that they chose to be there, but we still want them to come out on top.

You can read more about Wallace Stroby at his web site.

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