23 May 2014

Shoot the Woman First

by R.T. Lawton

There's an ATF Agent I occasionally swap short stories with online. I met him at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Denver a few years back when we were both presenters at that conference. We soon found the two of us had a lot in common. Afterwards, we recommended new authors to each other and/or new books to read. A couple of months ago, he brought up the name of Wallace Stroby and suggested I try that author's later novels. I'd never heard of the guy, but decided to check out one of his books to see if he was worth reading.

First stop was Amazon for Kindle books, where I found Stroby had three novels in a new series: Cold Shot to the Heart, 2011, Kings of Midnight, 2012 and Shoot the Woman First, 2013. I was intrigued by the last title, wondering why the woman had to go first, especially since the series protagonist is female. I calculated that since this one was his latest work, then it would probably be his best and I would therefore soon know whether or not I was wasting my time. Turned out, I enjoyed the 2013 book so much that I felt compelled to go back and purchase the first two in the series. Since each book is a great stand alone read, yet builds on the one before, had I known they would be that good, I would have bought and read them in chronological order.

If you like action/suspense books written fairly true to the world of criminals, then you will enjoy Stroby's three novels with Crissa Stone as the main character in this series.

As Shoot the Woman First opens, Crissa is meeting with three men in a car on the streets of Detroit at night. Two of the men she has worked with on previous jobs. She trusts them as much as she trusts any criminal she gets involved with, which is to say that trust needs to get re-earned on every new job. The third man in the car is cousin to one of the first two men, and him she has real concerns about because he is a college kid, unproven in the criminal world. However, he is also the man with the needed inside information, so he's part of the crew or there is no job.

The four of them are having a discussion in a rented car on a street in the bad part of town while watching a drop car allegedly containing about a half million dollars of drug buy money in the trunk. Between them and the drop car is a vehicle with three armed gangsters whose duty it is to make sure the right people are the only ones to drive away in the car with all that cash.

You, as reader, are right on scene as Crissa devises a plan to distract and temporarily disable the three armed gangsters while the rest of the crew takes the buy money out of the drop car. The job goes as planned with only a couple of minor problems. It's an hour later that everything goes to hell. A corrupt, retired police detective is subsequently hired by the gang leader to find whoever stole his money. Conflicted with loyalty to certain partners and paranoia of who to trust, Crissa runs the tight wire of protecting herself and members of her family from the ensuing retribution.

Bottom line, all three books are good reads. And, if you want to find out why you shoot the woman first, you need to buy the book, or (according to the corrupt detective) you can ask a member of a counter terrorist team.

See ya again on Fortnight Friday.

5 comments:

Eve Fisher said...

I'm assuming that the assumption is that if you shoot the woman first, the other guys will try to help her. Or at least will be so shocked that their distraction will give you time to do something that will put you on top. I'll have to check out the Stroby books. Thanks!

Dixon Hill said...

I read Cold Shot to the Heart a year or two back, for part of my reading club at a local bookstore. Really enjoyed it.

--Dixon

R.T. Lawton said...

Eve, the author said, through the corrupt cop character, that a woman, to be treated as an equal in a terrorist cell, had to be harder and more dedicated than the men in that cell, therefore she was more dangerous and that SEALS and counter-terrorist teams were trained to shoot them first. They couldn't allow themselves to have any gentlemen feelings against shooting a woman.

Dix, any comments on the above opinion?
I've read all three books in the Crissa Stone series, and Shoot the Woman First is his best, IMHO.

Dixon Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Lundin said...

RT, I hadn't heard of Wallace Stroby either, but you've certainly made a great argument to change that!