The Big Get-even

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - AN­GELA WOLTMAN

Paul Di Filippo Black­stone Pub­lish­ing (MARCH) Hard­cover $26.99 (306pp), 978-1-5047-8391-0

In The Big Get-even, hard-boiled crime meets a crew of wise-crack­ing ex-cons.

Just out of prison for scam­ming clients and steal­ing mil­lions, Glen Mc­clin­ton is try­ing to ad­just to a life of poverty and ig­nominy. He’s found a some­what sta­ble ex­is­tence liv­ing with his gam­bling-ad­dict un­cle and sup­ple­ment­ing his in­come with a stash of squir­reled-away gold coins. But then he’s ap­proached by Stan, an ar­son­ist with a big plan.

Stan is fa­mil­iar with Glen’s past—and the gold he’s hid­ing—and he makes Glen an of­fer he can’t refuse: help scam a rich spec­u­la­tor out of twenty mil­lion dol­lars; re­turn to a life of riches. Glen agrees and is once again thrown into a life of lies, thwart­ing the au­thor­i­ties, and liv­ing on the seedy side. What he doesn’t ex­pect is to de­velop re­la­tion­ships with Stan and the rest of the crim­i­nal crew or what they will mean for his fu­ture.

Fast-mov­ing and funny, The Big Get-even is as much about its zany cast of ne’er-do-wells as it is about the intricate scam that Glen and his cronies em­bark on. Though each of them has a long his­tory of get­ting up to no good, their wise-crack­ing ways and in­evitably kind hearts are ir­re­sistible. As each stage of their plan un­folds, lay­ers of each char­ac­ter are ex­posed and the bonds be­tween them strengthen. This adds warmth to an oth­er­wise hard-boiled story of re­venge.

Glen’s voice per­me­ates the book. His ra­zor­sharp ob­ser­va­tions of so­ci­ety and crim­i­nal life, paired with his dry hu­mor, are the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the break­neck speed of the plot. Each chap­ter re­veals a new wrin­kle in the scheme and a char­ac­ter who could be ei­ther friend or foe, test­ing Glen’s in­stincts at each turn.

As amus­ing as it is ten­sion filled, The Big Get-even is crime fic­tion at its best.

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