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Among Thieves    by John Clarkson order for
Among Thieves
by John Clarkson
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an interesting - and sizzling with action! - take on a noir thriller, John Clarkson's Among Thieves. The lead, James Beck, served time in prison for manslaughter. Now he surrounds himself with - and helps - ex-cons in a building he purchased with the proceeds of his wrongful conviction settlement in Brooklyn.

As the novel opens, Beck is dismayed to hear that his friend 'Manny wants to kill somebody.' Manny Guzman being the former head of a Dominican street gang, Beck takes this news seriously. Turns out that Manny's gorgeous younger cousin Olivia Sanchez, has been treated very badly by a Manhattan brokerage firm trader. Olivia stuck by Manny through everything, visiting him regularly in jail. So when Manny learns that Alan Crane broke his cousins' fingers, threatened her, and then lied about what happened, he doesn't take it lightly.

To avoid the mayhem Manny would embroil them in, Beck takes charge of the situation and starts digging. Turns out that Crane is investing money for a Russian arms dealer named Markov. He and his goons get involved as does an ex-cop who works for Olivia's former boss, a hacker on Beck's payroll, U.S. Army Intelligence who are working with Markov, and the NYPD. There are lies and betrayals, and little is what it seems to be. Strings are being pulled in all directions but who will succeed in manipulating events, and who will survive all out war on the streets of Brooklyn?

I don't usually enjoy thrillers in which the bad guys are the good guys, but this one works well. If you're ready for an engrossing, action-packed read with surprisingly sympathetic characters, then dive into Among Thieves.

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