by John Clarkson
Cover Artist: Shadows of Men by Eduardo Ripoli / Arcangel Images;
Puddles by Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova / Shutterstock;
back cover by Janis Smith / Shutterstock
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250047243
Date: 03 February 2015 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Author John Clarkson begins a new series with Among Thieves. Among Thieves features lead character James Beck and his group of friends who operate out of a private bar in Brooklyn. Beck's past is colorful, as he served eight years in prison for murdering a policeman, when the killing was really in self-defense. Eventually exonerated of his crime, Beck received a huge settlement from the City of New York and now serves as a modern-day Robin Hood helping those who need help. Beckís friends at the bar are his former prison mates, each of whom has his own colorful past.
Manny, the cook at the bar, has a distant cousin Olivia, who is his only remaining relative in the world. Olivia Sanchez is an auditor at a Manhattan investment firm. Recently, Olivia had approached one of the firm's brokers, Alan Crane, about some trading she considered suspicious. An argument followed, and during the heat of the argument, as Crane was pounding his fists on the desk, he managed to hit Olivia's hand and break two of her fingers. Shortly afterward, Olivia was fired from the firm and blacklisted from finding any other job in the financial industry.
Olivia knew her cousin Manny had connections and sought his help. Beck and the group immediately took her cause, and began researching the story to help Olivia. More interesting characters surfaced, as it turned out the Crane was also handling accounts for a Russian arms dealer who also ran guns for the CIA. Nobody, financial or Russian mob, was happy that Beck and his men were poking around in the investment firmís accounts, and Beck and his men followed a very bumpy road to sort out the mystery and help Olivia.
The plot in Among Thieves is well-developed, full of action and has of many twists and surprises. On the other side, the violence is graphic and plentiful. That is not bad or good; it just depends on your taste. In the broad spectrum, Beck performs for the greater good, but he leaves a trail of violence and his efforts are not always legal. I routed for Beck throughout the whole story, but he is kind of a hypocritical good guy.
The characters are great in Among Thieves as Beck and each of his team in Brooklyn has a great backstory. Beck has an additional network in New York that helps him solve his cases. Some perform surveillance, another is a doctor that patches everybody up, one is his lawyer who helped exonerate Beck of his murder conviction, and another is his computer hacker that helped him get details of the financial accounts throughout the story.
I am glad that I found this series on Gumshoe. I recommend Among Thieves and I am looking forward to the next novel.