Crissa Stone is a pro. Ever since she left her tiny Texas hometown, she's made a living on the wrong side of the law, under the tutelage of her mentor and lover, a career criminal and professional thief now doing a long stretch in state prison. These days, Crissa never works too close to her New York City home, rarely signs on with the same crew, and never rushes a job. She's stolen a new life for herself, one she'll fight to protect. But the robbery of a high-stakes Florida card game puts her in the sights of an ex-con and freelance mob enforcer named Eddie The Saint. Eddie's a pro as well, of the lethal variety, and he could use the work, not to mention all that money...
Praise for "Cold Shot to the Heart"
(click on links for full reviews)
"Just when you think that you can't be surprised anymore, a writer like Wallace Stroby ups the ante."
- LAURA LIPPMAN, author of I'd Know You Anywhere
"Another fast, taut winner from Stroby ... Crissa Stone may be crime fiction's best bad girl ever."
"If you like this sort of fast action, cool character, high drama fiction, nobody is doing it better these days than Stroby. And I mean nobody ... Stroby rules New Jersey crime."
"COLD SHOT TO THE HEART moves at a break-neck speed ... Stroby's sturdy plot is augmented by his intriguing look at how money corrupts and how even a crook can have a moral compass. Fans of Elmore Leonard and George V. Higgins' 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle' will find much to like."
"With each novel, Stroby's demonstrating he's got the literary muscle to be shelved with the big guys - Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson and Richard Stark."
""George V. Higgins meets Dutch Leonard meets John Sandford, but with (his) own arresting voice. ... Great characters, tough, lucid, clean and honest writing."
"This guy can write ... The beauty of this tightly plotted little book is that nothing is as it appears. COLD SHOT TO THE HEART is a riveting page turner."
"Wallace Stroby should be a household name... You won't stop for ANYTHING during the last 50 pages or so... If you like crime fiction, or dark literature regardless of genre, this book is an indispensable, required read."
"Stroby pits a resourceful crook against a ruthless killer in this well-crafted crime novel. ... The action builds to an inevitable and exciting showdown."
"As he achieved in the excellent 'Gone 'Til November,' Stroby writes so smoothly and makes his characters so real that the pages seem to turn on their own."
"I read this book in one sitting, which is a rare thing... I embraced (Crissa Stone) and will be surprised as hell if a strong actress doesn't grab the movie rights to what I hope will be a long-running series based on this character."
"A slick, fast-paced, straight-forward thriller with great characters."
"A straight up, raw, old school crime caper. The staging of the heist is intricately detailed, the action comes fast and furious, the violence is brutal and unforgiving, and the dialogue crackles with authenticity."
"Raw, hard-edged, noirish ... The scenes of preparation and execution are chilling. The clashes are cinematic. Stroby has been called a nascent Crumley or Pelecanos. He shares their sense that cynicism is the last pose left to the romantic."
"Stroby has kicked off the year in crime fiction with a knockout ... He matches a riveting heist scenario with volatile and electric characters who never let the pace slow, not even for a second... Meticulously paced and inventively plotted, its ensemble cast of well-rounded, compelling characters really takes it to the next level. "
"Another excellent outing for Stroby."
"A breakneck, action-packed narrative where the situation quickly spirals out of control and the bodies quickly pile up ... Stroby's ability to create convincing and sympathetic female leads, so prominent in 'Gone 'til November,' is on display again."
"Stroby evokes memories of the best of Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) Parker series ... The characterizations are strong and convincing, and the pace is swift and assured... Stroby has shot right to the top of dark-tinged crime authors worth noting and following."
"Told in a taut style that doesn't waste a single word, Stroby's latest features an interesting anti-heroine. (It's) the straightforward story of two criminals on a collision course, (but) Stroby softens Crissa's rough edges by allowing her to give way to her vulnerabilities now and then."
"Crissa is a great character ... The book has a noir sensibility, but offers some rays of hope along the way. Stroby is an excellent writer."
"This thriller staked on a robbery gone wrong at a high-rollers' poker game comes up all aces in every suit."
"Absolutely terrific ... Stroby has a big talent for intricate plotting and finely-tuned characterization."
"Barry Award finalist Stroby's latest hard-boiled novel is a compelling blend of greed, violence, and the need to survive that will appeal to noir aficionados."
"Stroby writes old school: no frills, all action, the gritty reality of life and death that characterizes this level of criminal enterprise. ... Stroby writes clean and hard."
"A terrific story of criminals and crime ... An entertaining, well-put-together exciting read."
"Part gangster movie, part atmospheric thriller .... Compulsive prose ... a ferocious narrative."
"Terrific thriller ... a masterful story of a woman who has been thrust into the life of a loner and who handles that, and the complications of a heist gone wrong, with the calm cool of a Sergio Leone anti-hero."
"Terrific writing, fast pace, intriguing characters...
- "Beach Reads" LONG BEACH ISLAND (N.J.) BEACHCOMBER
"Stroby's book deftly immerses readers in the bureaucracy of crime ... At the end of the day, slips are red, not pink. I found this tale well-plotted, suspenseful and fast-paced - I hope there's a sequel."
"A terrific taut tale."
"Well-written, suspenseful page turner... Hard to put this one down, and I think I was holding my breath a few times."
"The action is lean, but there's still room for layers of complexity ... The book moves fast and without mercy, like a chill wind through a bullet hole."
"Don't miss COLD SHOT TO THE HEART ... I devoured it in one sitting."
"At 80 pages the story hit a patch of black ice and slammed me to the ending."
- THE TRAD BLOG
"A damn fine book ... If you like hard-boiled, noirish reads and kick-ass female protagonists, find this book. You won't regret it."