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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

REVIEW: Thieves by Steven Max Russo

by Steven Max Russo

Thanks so much to the author for this copy. Debut novels are tough to put out there and I appreciate the chance.

Publisher: Down & Out Book
Publish Date: November 12, 2018
Kindle Edition
Genre: Crime Fiction

Esmeralda works for a housecleaning service during the day and as a restaurant hostess at night. Just out of high school, she is the sole support for her mother and two young siblings.

She has drive and ambition. What she doesn’t have is money.

She knows of a home in the upscale town of Mendham, NJ, that will be empty for more than a month. The rich people who live there go away the same time every year to spend time at their vacation home. Having cleaned the house, she also knows it contains a fair amount of cash and valuables.

One night sitting with Ray, one of her co-workers, she casually mentions a “what if” scenario; Ray tells Skooley, a white trash drifter who recently moved to New Jersey from south Florida, and a plan is hatched.

It isn’t long before Esmeralda finds herself trapped by both circumstance and greed, forced to try and defend herself against one of her partners in crime, who she quickly discovers is far more dangerous than she ever thought possible. 

My Review:

There is so much that I wanted to like about this book. The beginning is strong with the fingers in a pickle jar and OUCH... where is this going to go from here?? And then we pretty much see nothing of this again until about the 80% mark or so. Where were the bad guys this entire time? Still, I'm extremely intrigued.

Stooley, Esmerelda and Ray… well, one thing I can tell you is that I'll never forget their names. They were used SO much throughout the book and unfortunately, this happened a lot in conversation and people just don't speak this way. I found myself getting very irritated every time this happened and I think it took away from my enjoyment quite a bit. Personal preference maybe? While the synopsis gives us a world with Esmerelda, she felt a secondary character next to Stooley - it's Stooley's mind we are in most of the time and she's right, he's a RAT!

These characters, they talk.. and they talk a LOT. If names hadn't been used it would've been a bit hard to distinguish between the characters and their speaking styles. Then there's one particular character - I'm confused as to why she's even a plot line. It only added to Stooley's character, yes, but otherwise it seemed misplaced for the read.

There were also parts that didn't quite make sense - HOW are they getting away with this and that and then the ending part where... well, I can't tell you or I'd spoil it but whattttt…… I found it a bit hard to believe.

Now, before you think I'm ripping this apart, that's not my intention. I enjoyed the smarminess of the characters and once I started reading it as more of a "parody" (for lack of better term), it became fun to see which side was going to come out on top and how.

What I do know is that I won't be eating chili for a while now and I certainly will be giving my cleaner the side eye. (Good thing I'm not rich.) This is a debut novel and I do like where Russo was heading to with the storyline. I think with more to come it'll become more seamless and have more continuity.


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