Book Reviews by Allison Constantino for Crime Wave Press

Count Down by Matt Phillips

ISBN # -13: 978-1-948-235-84-6

If you like crime-fiction, this one’s for you! A deep dive into the “legal” marijuana business where cash is more readily available than an ATM and two gutsy war vets are determined to get a piece-of-the-pie!

“With the legalization of marijuana in California and the federal illegality of the drug, there’s a teeny weeny money problem. You can grow weed. You can sell it. You can smoke it and you can eat it. You can do just about whatever you want with it. You can’t put it in a bank because the IRS will start asking important questions. So, what do you do with it?”

Ten thousand a day. Every day. In cash! You can MAKE it, but where can you PUT it?

Set in San Diego, this book reads like a really low-life “American Greed!” Two war vets back from Iraq (a.k.a. EYE-RACK) are looking for their next gig. One-half of the dynamic duo starts his own marijuana “security” company! He’s got the guts and the firepower!

All these marijuana “dispensaries” need a place to store their cash while it’s being “laundered.” That takes time and in the mean time, the cash, thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of cash – just sits there for the taking! Somebody has to pick up the cash every day and “store” it!

“Storing” thousands of dollars every day in duffel bags in a storage unit is a recipe for disaster! With those kind of high stakes, everybody is looking for an angle to get rid of their competition. This is a dog-eat-dog world! Every guy is in it for himself!

So, who better to rob the dispensaries than the guy(s) set up to “secure” them. Enter the other half of the duo. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned and these two hard-luck soldiers lead you down every seedy back street and dive in San Diego.

Our war vets for one reason or another, one-by-one end up with the short end of the stick! So much for the best-laid plans. Guts will only get you so far, and in this case, our heroes are picked off one-by-one.

Three Hours Past Midnight by Tony Knighton

Reviewed by Allison Constantino for Crime Wave Press

Published by Crime Wave Press December 2017

ISBN -10 9881493854

ISBN-13 978-9881493859

If you enjoy a 50’s style, no-nonsense crime read, you’ll enjoy this fast-ride connecting-the-dots in Three Hours Past Midnight.

You’re in for the ride of your life, as you go from one low-life place in the seedy under-belly of Philadelphia, to the next, with a veteran violent thief as he tries to track down his money lost in a job with his partner, a retired cop, who ends up dead!

This book gives new meaning to the phrase, “all-in-a-days-work,” as our thief looks all over Philly trying to find his loot and meets up with every unsavory character imaginable, including corrupt politicians, every low-life thug in the neighborhood and even illegal immigrants.

I ended up knowing a lot more than I wanted to know about how to be a good thief, honor amongst thieves, and how crime really does pay!

I loved the author’s quotes:

“His eyes told the truth. They were dark, and hard, and they never stopped moving. He looked at my face, my hands, around me, through me, frisking me with those eyes and coming back to me again. Raco would make a point of remembering everything.”

“What do I always say? If you want someone to believe your story, they have to tell it to themselves.”

“…He was right. This business was all a matter of attitude.”

From a reader’s perspective, I knew nothing about Philadelphia and even less about the every-day life of a veteran, violent thief, so it was an education for me on all levels. At every turn there seems to be a judge or politician on-the-take, a cop that “went bad” and a job that went south.

It’s a tough way to make a living, but that’s the way things are when you’ve chosen to be a career thief.

Taking the life of another person is just the cost of doing business, nothing more, nothing less. You do what you need to do to get what you need to get!

Tony Knighton is a 30-year Philadelphia Fire Department veteran and has lived in Philly since his early childhood. He definitely has his fingers on the pulse of Philly and passes that knowledge on to his readers.

Tony also played music semi-professionally for years and I personally enjoyed the way Tony weaved his love and knowledge of music into the plot seamlessly!