Smash And Grab by Joe Albanese

Smash And Grab by Joe Albanese
Publisher: Books To Go Now
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (56 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

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Wick and Kenny are both in a bind – desperately needing money but with no real way to earn it. So they hatch a crazy plan. Wick works in a convenience store, Kenny in a liquor store. They arrange for each to rob the other and share their proceeds. Can they get away with their smash and grab plan?

I found this story to be a really interesting premise – and while not all that unique, the freshness of the characters and quick pace of the storyline had me turning the pages eagerly. I really enjoyed the author’s voice – finding it modern and a little bit gritty. The characters and pace of the action made the story feel a bit too young to be described as noir – but it left me with that sort of feeling, as if the characters had been middle-aged men or the scene more grey and dreary, rainy, it could easily have been a hard-boiled, noir style of story. Regardless, Wick and Kenny were mysterious, interesting characters I found myself almost immediately curious about and the fast pace of the story kept my attention throughout.

The plot was simultaneously simple and more complicated than I originally assumed. Two young guys, broke, working dead-end jobs and desperately needing money isn’t unexpected or unique. But the fact it’s so very relatable and easy to understand is what drew my curiosity. The reasons behind why Wick and Kenny both needed the money was far more complicated and helps give depth and layers to the plot that I felt really helped round out the story into being something more enjoyable than an easy heist story. I also really enjoyed that there was a strong cast of secondary characters, all interwoven with each other. This careful meshing of various characters all with different agendas and outlooks really helped deepen the story to my mind.

This is a strong mystery-style of a story, and I felt Wick in particular was a complex and interesting character – a fairly young, regular guy caught up in a difficult situation and wanting to do his best with the hand he was dealt with. I think readers looking for a modern and well-written, quick mystery read should find this to be a good choice.

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