Page 45 Review by Stephen
The magic of catching fireflies early evening with his son, who dashes through the penumbral woods into a low, golden-orbed sunset... Thats when Conrad Paulson AKA Redmond wakes up. Breakfast smells delicious.
"You're out of bacon."
"Meant to go to the store."
"Just eggs and toast, then?"
"Mm. Sounds good."
"You want some juice?"
"Sure. Oh, and before I forget -- You got a warrant?"
Oh, how I cackled when I read that. This is a book which wont just surprise, it will astonish. Each smartly spliced scene in this classy crime caper has been meticulously arranged in far from chronological order for maximum gasps of I never saw that coming. It is easily the cleverest crime since CRIMINAL, and I love each slithers subheading winks:
What Goes Around.
Or, What Comes Around.
What Got Left Out Last Time.
Or, For Effect.
Where to begin? Oh, right in the middle, I think. Redmond is the most notorious thief in modern American history, and Agent Elizabeth Cohen of the FBI is determined to catch him. That was her making breakfast, by the way, and were going to be calling him Redmond from now on because thats what he wants: the reputation to spread. The problem Elizabeth faces is that Redmond knows how to dance, but shes pretty nifty with the verbal fencing herself. Then finally a golden opportunity falls right in her lap: Redmonds son, who hasnt fallen far from the tree hes a thief too but with much less dexterity: he appears to have two right feet. Busted red-handed with kilos of stolen heroin, Augustus will be Cohens leverage. Wriggle out of that one, Redmond.
The dénouement is one big flash-flash of revelations spinning right back to the very first chapter and youll find yourself headed thataways immediately to re-read the whole thing with hindsight. It is watertight. So here we are, back at that beginning, which I review thus:
I told you back then I didnt need an assistant.
Apprentice. You told me back then you didnt need an apprentice. And you didnt tell me wed be sleeping together.
Were not sleeping together.
But I think Ive made it very clear we could.
Meet young punk and single mother Celia desperately trying to clear her student loan by jacking cars. Redmond did. Meet her, that is. He caught her trying to steal the wrong car with the wrong tools, in the wrong way for wrong fools. The wrong car was his.
So the thief of all thieves gave her a quick lesson in grand theft auto, saved her from being mugged by her fence and told her she should totally give it up. She should do something else. And now he wishes he hadnt, because now she has: shes joined his team of international con artists and, boy, does she relish her roles.
I was asked last week by a most excellent customer whether this was like Brubaker and Phillips CRIMINAL. It isnt this is comedy not noir but it precisely like BBCs The Hustle and I love the art by LUKE CAGE: NOIRs Shawn Martinbrough who plays it cool with most excellent timing. The set-ups from WALKING DEADs Robert Kirkman while the first story arc here is written by FORGETLESS Nick Spencer. Ive been suckered and sucked in and so will you be.