From Publishers Weekly
Payback and revenge drive Stroby's taut, violent second outing for former New Jersey State Trooper Harry Rane (after 2003's The Barbed-Wire Kiss
). With his wife, Cristina, away in Seattle to think things through after a rough marital patch, Harry seizes the chance to keep a protective eye on Nikki Ennis, who used to work as a dancer at the Heartbreak Lounge in a seedy section of Asbury Park. Nikki's vicious, amoral ex-husband, Johnny Harrow, who's just finished serving a seven-year stretch in a Florida prison for attempted murder, wants to find his young son, whom Nikki gave up as an infant, and heads for the Heartbreak, where he first met his ex-wife. Johnny also has a few scores to settle with some nasty people in Jersey, his home state. The thug's ruthless campaign threatens everyone in his line of sight, and not even Harry escapes his wrath. In the end, Stroby's suspenseful tale of bleak lives in danger offers a few glimmers of hope for those with damaged hearts.
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Harry Rane's parade of murderous misery continues in this follow-up to The Barbed-Wire Kiss
(2002). Working a dead-end security job, the former New Jersey state trooper washes pain pills down with wine while wondering if his girlfriend will return from a West Coast time-out. But even in the depths of depression, Rane's sense of chivalry hasn't died. So when a woman shows up seeking to protect the child she gave up for adoption from his ex-con dad, the taciturn investigator lends a steady if reluctant hand. But the felonious father, ominously named Johnny Harrow, nearly steals the novel with his menacing manner, keen talent for killing, and inclination to make unexpected choices at key moments. Meanwhile, Rane is fallibly human, struggling to make sense of his life, overreacting to threats, accidentally putting innocents in harm's way, and taking some mighty lumps throughout. If he is sometimes so maudlin readers will want to avert their eyes, at least he comes by the raw emotion honestly. Folks who like their protagonists more realistic than heroic will enjoy the refreshing Rane. Frank SennettCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved