Unlike some lawbreakers, professional robber and occasional killer Crissa Stone is capable of cutting her losses and walking away if there's serious trouble. ("I don't care who started it, I said STOP!") She's careful about the jobs she takes, and she doesn't kill when she doesn't have to. Mom would be appalled by Crissa's occupation ("Who taught you THAT? You didn't learn that in this house!"), but she would applaud Crissa's attention to detail, resourcefulness, and toughness, as well as her love for her young daughter and loyalty to Wayne, her lover and mentor (we won't tell Mom he's in a Texas prison). Her goal is admirable: a big enough score to get herself out of the crime business, reunited with her daughter, and Wayne out on parole.
|Frank and Marquis, this is not my mom!|
Stroby reminds me a bit of Elmore Leonard. His lyrical writing, characterization, and spot-on dialogue can put a spit polish on any old plot vehicle, but his plot never drives like it's old. This one careens like a bat out of hell, thanks to Frank Burke, an ex-cop with nothing left to lose, who talks Johnson into hiring him to recover his money. ("You can't find it? Well, if you'd put things where they belonged, you wouldn't have this problem.") Watching Frank methodically tracking down Crissa, whose sense of responsibility makes her linger in Florida, reminded me of that relentless semi driver after Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg's 1971 movie, Duel. A heckuvan original heroine, a villain out of your nightmares, and a pedal-to-the-metal look at good vs. evil and the role of fate in our lives. Whoa, Mama.
Ihaka is "unkempt, overweight, intemperate, unruly, unorthodox and profane." In other words, he's a maverick like Ian Rankin's John Rebus. ("So what if John's mom let him do it? If John's mom let him jump off a cliff, would you want me to let you do it too?") Ihaka is also an absolute whiz at solving cases, much to the appreciation of enigmatic Auckland District Commander Finbar McGrail and DS Johan Van Roon, Ihaka's protégé and only cop friend. It rankles DI Tony "Boy" Charlton and DS Ron "Igor" Firkitt, because they hate Ihaka. There is prejudice against Maoris and and elbowing for position in the Auckland force. Like Rebus, Ihaka has a practical attitude about maintaining productive relationships with certain criminals and dispensing informal justice to those whom the law doesn't reach. ("You must think rules are made to be broken.") Women find him very attractive.
Whether you're a mother yourself or remembering your own mother today, I hope your Mother's Day is a wonderful one.