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Rocks Beat Paper: A Wilson Mystery by Mike…

Rocks Beat Paper: A Wilson Mystery

by Mike Knowles

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When someone uses the term “hardboiled”, you generally think of novels featuring a gritty PI who ponders the evil men do while saving a dame in distress. Wilson (no 1st name) in not a PI. He’s a thief. And his deep thoughts are reserved for planning a job. But hey, he makes a good living so if it ain’t broke…..

Wilson was invited to be part of a gang with plans to liberate a bag of uncut diamonds from a high end jeweller. But when their inside man suddenly died, so did the job. He wasn’t comfortable with the size of the crew anyway & decides to amend the plan & go for it. All he needs are 2 carefully selected partners: Miles (the conman) & Monica (the driver).

Good thing he’s a determined guy because although he doesn’t know it yet, there are others with the same idea. Stealing large sums of money can be tricky but diamonds are easier to move & hold their value. Or to quote Wilson, rocks beat paper. He, Miles & Monica put the scam in motion but have no idea what or who they’re up against.

This is a gritty, fast paced story that skates past noir to the hardboiled end of the genre. The lean narrative & sparse dialogue keep things moving as the plot zigs & zags in directions you never see coming. We spend most time with Wilson & his crew but there is a small peripheral cast that pops in & out of the story. The result is we’re never quite sure where the threat is coming from. Even as the bodies begin to fall, you may be surprised by who’s left standing at the end.

Most of the action occurs in New York’s meaner neighbourhoods lending a dark, brooding atmosphere to the story but everything revolves around Wilson. He’s an interesting guy. Smart, blunt & pragmatic, he’s a gun for hire who prefers to avoid any personal ties. He has the ability to assess the schematics of a job & find the weak spots. At the end of the day, he just wants to do a job & walk away a few dollars richer. If someone has to die for that to happen, well…such is life.

Don’t go into this expecting an MC who falls into the “charming rogue” category. He’s as unsentimental as it gets. But he’s also brutally honest about who & what he is. I enjoyed his clever scams & ability to quickly come up with a Plan B when necessary. Some characters in this genre can feel derivative but with Wilson, the author has created one that is original & distinct.

This is book #6 in the series & sure to be a hit with fans of cleverly plotted crime drama. ( )
  RowingRabbit | Mar 28, 2017 |
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