on Tour October 1 – November 30, 2020
I enjoyed all three of the novellas of Third Degree.
In The Fifth Column, there is Jake, a tenacious young reporter with an Ivy League education who wants to do his part during WWII. While he doesn’t get to enlist, Jake stumbles upon an Aryan group plotting to commit crimes on U.S. soil.
Jake was a wise antagonist for someone so young, and though he had high aspirations, Jake had no problem putting patriotism ahead of personal gain. The guy had a “Captain America” feel to me.
In Beaned, I found out there is a hierarchy even among criminals. Some have absolutely no issues with “appropriating” goods and reselling them for a living. However, human trafficking is a hard line many will not cross. They also won’t turn a blind eye to it either.
My favorite in the trilogy was Cut Loose Those Who Drag You Down. The frenetic, dysfunctional friendship between Dick, a never-up-and-coming reporter and Solly, a disbarred psychiatrist, made me laugh. Understand me, this is not a humorous story, but these two men couldn’t get out of their own way.
Dick’s answer for any problem is to get married… eight times. Okay, seven—twice to Amy. He also has a girlfriend he’s been with through at least three of his marriages.
Solly sleeps with his patients—which is what got him disbarred—and ALL of Dick’s ex-wives! Come on! HA! He even married the last one, Mage, and they had a child, Silent Adam, who refused to speak. Of course, the marriage went sour and things didn’t end well for Mage.
But even with this Mount Everest of poor decisions between them, things are complicated even more because they’re both involved with women from mob families, Tanya and Lisa. OMG, those two!
Dick is irritating, a bit arrogant, and unapologetic. Solly is a basket case. I cannot say either held the other back, but I’m almost sure both could have been so much more if they’d never met. Dick introduces Solly in the story as his oldest friend. But they were more like Cain and Abel.
When push comes to shove, Dick is… Dick (and Cain) and the title of the story comes into play. The story ended the only way it could, but it left me with concerns for Silent Adam who didn’t ask for such selfish parents.
The original plots and interesting characters of these three very different stories will take you to different places readers of noir crime and historical fiction are sure to be entertained by.
“Cut Loose All Those Who Drag You Down”:
A crooked reporter who fronts for the mob and who’s been married eight times gets a visit from his oldest friend, a disgraced and defrocked shrink. The man is in deep trouble and it’s clear somebody is going to pay with his life.
After smuggling cigarettes, maple syrup, and coffee, Aggie discovers a much more sinister plot to exploit what some consider a precious commodity: the trafficking of under-aged children for the purposes of sex.
“The Fifth Column”:
Months after America’s entry into World War II, a young reporter uncovers that the recently disbanded German-American Bund might still be active and is planning a number of dangerous actions on American soil.
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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