From Publishers Weekly
The dark third novel by the author of The Standoff
isn't the fast-paced thriller it's marketed to be. It is, rather, a story of doomed love focusing on Doug MacRay, a Boston-based career thief (he comes from Charlestown, "a breeding ground for bank and armored-car robbers") who becomes enamored with the manager of the bank he and his pals have just robbed. Claire Keesey, who has been badly traumatized by the robbery, later begins to develop feelings for him as well, unaware that a masked MacRay was the lead perpetrator in the heist that turned her life upside down. Hogan then leads readers through a long-winded labyrinth of inner reflection as Doug spends much of the book pondering whether he should quit the criminal life in order to pursue a deeper relationship with Claire. This undermines the suspense that crime fiction requires, and the novel is overlong by more than half. Although some characters are quite lively, most of them (including Doug) are not very sympathetic, and the end brings tragedy for many of them. All the same, the author's original writing style and knack for unusual metaphors can make for engaging reading, and the book's cinematic quality and grittily realistic action sequences bode well for its day on screen (it's been optioned by Law & Order
producer Dick Wolf).
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*Starred Review* If Blood Artists
(1998) was a weak follow-up to his crackling 1995 debut Standoff
, Hogan is back on track in this moody, resonant thriller that cleverly begins and ends in the same place. Doug, Dez, Jem, and Gloansy have been tight since childhood, growing up tough and street-smart in a rough, working-class Irish enclave where "bringing home the bacon" means stealing it from a local bank. Like his father, Doug is a thief, planning ever more sophisticated gigs for his buddies--as much for the high as for the money. The local bank should have been a piece of cake, but Doug's falling in love with bank manager Claire Keesey wasn't part of the plan. Nor did Doug expect a romantic adversary in the person of robbery investigator Adam Frawley. It's not entirely clear why both men fall for Claire, who's barely on stage. But there's no doubt about Hogan's ability to blend weighty emotions with riveting shoot-outs as he depicts a complicated man, noble and villainous by turns, trapped in a life he desperately wants to change. Stephanie ZvirinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved