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No one can write about cops-and-robbers like a real police officer. When they are good, they are very, very, good and Captain Neil Low is good as he magically captures another era in his new book: Thick as Thieves. Reading it is akin to stepping into a film noir, shadowy, smokey, and shocking. No one is whom he seems to be, and each unveiling heightens the pace of high tension. How could the Lindbergh kidnapping be connected to Seattle? Low's vivid imagination makes one wonder... Why did the loyal son, bent on revenge, allow himself to sink into the enemy's quagmire of betrayal and violence? This is a great book, alive with action, sometimes shocking in its scenes of forbidden sex, and unremittingly true in its characterizations. Set aside a few days to read it because you won't want to stop! --Ann Rule, author of Too Late to Say Goodbye, Green River, Running Red, and The Stranger Beside Me.
Murder and justice. Sex and love. Greed and honor. This is a morality play in the tradition of Shakespeare's 'Richard III' in which the line between right and wrong is as blurred as when one looks through the gray rain at twilight over Seattle's somber hills. Neil Low, a veteran Seattle cop, has seen it all. --Lowen Clausen, author of The River
An inside look at the dark side of law enforcement from a bygone time. --Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske
About the Author
Neil Low is a captain with the Seattle Police Department and is the agency's first commander of its new Ethics and Professional Responsibility Section. Other areas he has commanded include: Homicide and Violent Crimes, International Affairs, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. He is a Vietnam veteran and a cum laude graduate of the University of Washington 's Bothell campus, where he also wrote for the school's weekly newspaper, The UW Bothel Commons. A Seattle native, he now lives in Everett with his wife and daughters.
File Size: 1164 KB
Print Length: 360 pages
Publisher: Kristen Morris: Tigress Publishing; First edition (September 15, 2008)
This novel has so many great strengths. First and foremost, the author delivers a solid story, simply written; a highly readable book. I was engaged from the beginning to the end. It's a period piece, set in 1940's Seattle, well delivered in the Noire style, which to me means that while there are clear protagonists and antagonists-solid characters I'll add-there are no good guys in terms of many of their actions. The author's frequent references to Seattle landmarks, neighborhoods, and streets resonated with me, being a 25 year resident in and around the city. Those unfamiliar w/ Seattle will develop a mental picture which may not match the actual locale, but will well convey the action none-the-less. The incorporation of the Lindbergh kidnapping was well done and added much interest for me. The reader is best to spend a few moments on the Internet familiarizing themselves with that to fully appreciate this element. The book is soundly researched in terms of historical events effectively woven in (The crime of the century, pre-WWII Europe and Asia, 1940's era Seattle). Simply put, this is a great Noire style Mystery set in 1940's Seattle.
Mr. Low's writing of Alan Stewart's becoming an adult is persuading, where you cannot feel for the character and his plight. Moving through each fast pace chapter after chapter, the reader is involved, and can emphasize with the illegal decisions Alan makes through happenstance - one major choice after another.
His father, a union detective in Seattle, Washington, is murder. This is the starting point of Alan's self-imposed resolution to avenge his father's brutal killing by local thugs. In his quest, he investigates the coming and goings of his father, leading him to the union's door.
He resolves that they are not the culprits, after kind honest encounters with Mr. Brinkman, the union's boss, who turns out to be a very important key in Alan's development into adulthood. And here is where he meets Vic, his father's ex-partner, who becomes Alan's mentor in street smarts, sex, crime and murder - all on a higher moral standard than the real criminals that are out to get them.
Of course there is money involved. Greed and power are the motivators of the thugs' leader, who is one of Seattle's finest and can't shake his Prohibition persona. In those days, the moral ground was falsely taken by the police. He is after thousands of gold certificates that he believes Alan's McAlister and Vic have - a true sub plot that brings about the clashes of the law against the union.
How does this un-ravel? Does Alan avenge his father's murder? Well, I'll let you read this exciting collision of good vs. evil - not legal vs. illegal.
Mr. Low does leave you hanging in a good way on a couple of minor points so you'll read his sequel. It's on my book-to-read list. Alan Stewart's transition from young man to a young detective is a story that is a must read for Law and Order lovers. For Mr. Low's links, see his interview below.
Fun read for me and most likely other readers who enjoy noir.
I felt like I was reading through a lens of a black and white movie from the 40's. I've read Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillaine so I am familiar with and love the noir genre and this book fit right in. It was a different age and things were different with graft in police departments (probably still some of that somewhere) and unions not wearing a white hat well and certainly not at all times. There was a constant power struggle. The writer cleverly brings in historical information such as Henry Ford's support of the German Nazis and the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping.
There's enough similes to make the reader enjoy the book and the descriptions of the characters are so clear and vivid you can see them in your mind's eye. I enjoyed one particular sentence so much that I remembered it for this review: "Benny floating, dangerously resembling a channel buoy clad in tweed." Now how much fun is that to read?
Never been to Seattle where the action takes place but the characters take clear turns in Ford Coupe, the Packard or the Hudson all over the city with nice explanations and descriptions of how specific areas came about. Not sure if I was dropped in Seattle that I could get around easily but certainly feel I would recognize different landmarks.
With no clear delineations of the good guys and the bad guys, it reminded me some of Elmore Leonard's writing, which is not a bad thing at all. To the reader, the good guys can be bad, and the bad guys have some reason to be good.
It was definitely a different time when 21 year olds grew up to become a "man" much faster than today. That's what happened to Alan Stewart who apparently had an uncanny resemblance to his father who was murdered at the opening of the book. Alan wants vengeance early on and with his good (hum, good?) fortune, opportunity comes knocking. Fortunately his dad's old partner Vic pals up with Alan and shows him the ropes of becoming a detective, like his dead dad. Alan begins his adventure as a naive and unknowing driver of a bakery delivery driver and winds up a more worldly and sophisticated detective. It happened in a short time frame but hey, things moved fast and were different in the late 30's and early 40's and yes, as Americans, we were a bit naive. Remember history? The mood was, it's their war; we're not getting into it.
I loved this book. From the very beginning, I was enthralled from the story's setting of the time right after the Great Depression. The intrigue develops as the author portrays the feel of that time. Just as Hammett, Chandler, and Spillane brought the shady underworld of crooked unions, corrupt cops, and seedy politicians into the mix, so does this author but in his own unique and signature way. The story makes you feel you're watching it on the big screen, and you become totally involved with every pitfall and shocking dialogue throughout it. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to read the others in the series. 5 STARS HANDS DOWN*****> Author & Screenwriter>> John Peter Ferris