Saturday, January 23, 2010

“Among Thieves” by David Hosp

A BagelBards Book Review

“Among Thieves”
By David Hosp
Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY price $24.99

Reviewed 1/19/10 by Paul Steven Stone

“Among Thieves” is the fourth in a series of attorney-centric thrillers written by David Hosp. Its fictional portrayal of the notorious Isabella Gardner Museum heist of 1990 offers an interesting, if perhaps excessively violent, framework for the still unsolved crime whose purloined booty is reputedly worth billions today.

Fast-paced and interesting in its premise, the novel suffers from characters drawn with little depth, as if the novelist was relying on the reader’s efforts with similar novels and similar characters to round out his offering. The novel’s hero, attorney Scott Finn, works in concert with a former Boston cop turned detective, Tom Koslowski, and a single associate, Lissa Krantz, in a corporate arrangement more suited to detective fiction than commercial reality. The story opens in the past with the chilling murder of a family in Northern Ireland, then quickly spans 35-years and a quarter of the globe to overtake the modern-day murder of a high-ranking member of Boston’s criminal underworld.

Attorney Finn enters the story on Patriots Day on his way to a Red Sox game when he stops by the Nashua Street Jail to visit a client, Devon Malley, a small-time thief who may have been, as the novel later reveals, involved in history’s biggest and most audacious art theft. Malley not only convinces Finn to talk with local gangsters who might be of help, but also gets the lawyer to take charge of his angry, wise-cracking and inevitably hungry-for-love teenage daughter. Before Finn can contact either of Malley’s criminal colleagues, they are tortured to death by a vengeful and relentless IRA terrorist. It soon becomes clear that Malley and his daughter may be the next victims on the list unless Finn and the police can run down the murderer and find the stolen artwork in time.

“Among Thieves” is an interesting tale told by a highly capable writer who perhaps should have spent a little more time on developing his characters. The City of Boston, as well as one of its most notorious sons, Whitey Bulger, play key roles as events and narrative unwind. The story unfolds crisply, with at times excessive violence, and ends with an interesting, if not surprising, conclusion. Readers of crime fiction will enjoy “Among Thieves” even if it doesn’t make the list of top-tier legal/lawyer thrillers.

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