Kensington, Nov 2007, $15.00
Now thirty eight and in the business for years with his psychotic partner Malik “Mal” Dumont, half Jewish half black Ezekiel “Izzy” Levin wonders why his job is titled Stickup Kid and never Stickup man; he ponders whether life expectancy in his line of work is so short that one can never be a man. Still while he muses about his profession of robbing criminals and leaving no witness behind, he relishes the subway World Series as his passion is baseball and his two favorite teams are playing for the championship. However, to even his shock at a bar to watch the game, he becomes more interested in a woman who is also there. He persuades Eva to go out with him in a couple of nights.
Mal and Izzy head to Queens accompanied by their client’s “agent” Benny. As Mal cleans house, Izzy fails for the first time to make the closer save (like Mariano Rivera always does) by killing her. The witness is Eva whose cousin is lying dead from a knife wound. Understanding the rules of kill all or be a victim, Izzy saves Eva’s life, but now Mal is after them to finish the job.
As this reviewer read this fascinating crime thriller, I kept thinking of Nova Swing (Harrison): “It starts with a dame” combined with paraphrasing the best man’s comment at the wedding of my nephew Marc the cop as his “vocation is the dreams of a Jewish mother”. Izzy grips the audience as he is obviously intelligent yet his profession as a criminal closer is not what one would expect of someone with his intellect. On the other hand the over the top of the Empire State Building Mal is crazy enough to be a closer. This is one tour of the Big Apple that will grip readers who, like the police, will follow the corpses as High Noon comes to New York City when a woman coming between two former partners.