“Smash and Grab” by Joe Albanese

Joe Albanese and his characters specialize in a cynical sort of irony. They know their lives are crappy and they never expect anything to turn out well. Which is a good thing, because several of them turn out dead. 

The problem with cynical irony as a cornerstone for a novel is that there isn’t a whole lot of emotion involved. If you basically have no hope, then, well, you don’t get your hopes up, and neither does the reader. This leads to a lack of suspense. We expect nothing to go well, and then it doesn’t. Whee.

The saving grace of this story is the twisty plotline. Back to the cynicism again; when you expect something to go wrong, the most fun is when it goes wrong for a reason you didn’t expect. Or maybe you did expect. In this case, it’s a matter of reading the characters. The moment you say, “Oh, he/she would never…” then that’s what happens. The art of the double-double cross. The lengths people will go to in order to get what they then discover they never really wanted. 

And the last laugh is on the reader, but I’m not going to tell you the ending. 

Recommended for fans of the cynical, the sly laugh, the middle-finger-to-fate attitude. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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