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Kings of Midnight    by Wallace Stroby order for
Kings of Midnight
by Wallace Stroby
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kings of Midnight follows Cold Shot to the Heart as the second in Wallace Stroby's excellent series starring an engaging felon, Crissa Stone. She executes well planned capers to support her daughter Maddie (who lives with a cousin the child believes is her mother) and to pay lawyers to help her mentor/lover Wayne win early release from a Texas prison.

Of course, nothing goes as planned, either in her first adventure or this one. Though Crissa earns a 'Nice nest egg' as the story opens, she then has trouble turning her earnings into working capital. After the heat from her last job, Crissa's usual contact is afraid to be involved. He gives her a name, one that he's uncomfortable with, for good reason. The deal goes south, and the police are involved.

As in Cold Shot to the Heart, readers are introduced to other players before Crissa meets them. This time, it's Benny Roth, who testified against his mob boss twenty-five years before, after he learned that the man planned to have him killed. Now Benny's been found by gangster Danny Taliferro, who believes he knows the whereabouts of the pickings (an amount in the millions) from a huge airport heist. Soon, Benny and his young girlfriend Marta are on the run from Taliferro and his goons.

When Crissa visits Wayne's old friend Jimmy Peaches, she meets his grandson Anthony, who seems interested in her. Jimmy introduces Crissa to Benny, who's looking for help in going after the airport money. Cautious at first, she starts working with him, but of course Taliferro is still in play, leading to more violence.

Kings of Midnight is just as good as Cold Shot to the Heart. Though Crissa is a criminal, she's a pretty ethical one, who holds to her standards and avoids violence. You have to feel for her as Stroby makes one thing go wrong after another in her life - she deals. I'm looking forward to more in this great series.

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