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Shoot the Woman First (Crissa Stone) by Wallace Stroby
Cover Artist: Detroit at Night by Matthew Minucci; Woman by Steve Gardner
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250000385
Date: 03 December 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Crissa Stone and her friend Larry Black are part of a four-man team that steals 325k in drop-off money from drug kingpin Marquis Johnson of D-Town. They are double-crossed and Crissa finds herself alone toting a bag full of money while wading waist deep through thugs, gangstas, bikers, and junkies. She is dead set on giving Larry's split of the money to his young daughter Haley in Winter Park, Florida. Meanwhile, a former Detroit PD officer, Frank Burke, is leaving behind a trail of corpses as he tracks Crissa, determined on shooting her dead and taking her money.

If you are craving bloody, nonstop violence, I recommend reading Walter Stroby's latest novel, Shoot the Woman First--good book and good advice. According to Frank Burke, if you find yourself surrounded by gangstas, shoot the woman gangsta first because they must be three times rougher than their male counterparts in order to prove themselves worthy of belonging to the gang. In fact, I wonder if Stroby is a gangsta himself. He knows a lot of gangsta jargon and slang; he also knows how to hotwire cars, pick locks, and drop acid. Every piece of human trash and filth is depicted in great detail in this novel. The dude has done his research. Or, he must be a native of Newark, New Jersey.

Crissa Stone has a heart of gold. She is the type of heroine that I strongly admire; she is a thief with moral values. She treats Haley as though she was her own daughter and risks compromising her identity and losing her life in order to make sure the little girl is financially secure and surrounded by loving adults. Crissa could've simply walked away with all the money. No one would've been able to ever find her. Her actions confound and mystify everyone, except me. Sometimes you can't turn your back on someone when they need help no matter how much trouble it may bring upon yourself.

Most of the novel's action occurs around the ghettos and ruins of economically depressed and bankrupted Detroit (a.k.a. D-Town). Many of its slimy characters live in dilapidated, rat-infested apartments. (It makes me want to move out of my apartment complex and into a small house.) I don't wish to condone criminal behavior; however, I must say that a depressed economy encourages crime. It is like someone leaving food scraps on their kitchen counter for weeks and then acting shocked upon discovering a cockroach infestation. Much of our country's crime, in my opinion, is a byproduct of wealthy businessmen moving their companies to foreign countries, such as China, in order to reap higher profits.

With its ultraviolent, fast-paced plot; harsh, gritty locales; amoral characters; and sexy, admirable heroine, Walter Stroby’s Shoot the Woman First is highly recommended for fans of hard boiled noir. I read it in only two days. I was intrigued to learn how the evil Frank Burke was going to track down Crissa Stone. The novel turned into a nail-biting manhunt that kept me glued to my seat. Not only was Crissa's life at stake but so were the lives of a little girl, Haley Black, her mom, Claudette, and her aunt Nancy. Considering the number of corpses that were steadily piling up in Burke's wake, it was highly unknown who would be left standing at the end. Needless to say, I am looking forward to Stroby's next mystery.

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