Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The Barbed-Wire Kiss by, Wallace Stroby
Harry Rane is an ex-cop living at the Jersey Shore. His old buddy, Bobby, is in deep to a local crime boss to the tune of fifty large. Bobby asks Harry to get him more time to repay the loan. Harry helps out and gets more than he bargained for; especially when he finds out the boss's wife is an ex-flame he hasn't seen in over a decade.
The Barbed-Wire Kiss is the first novel of Wallace Stroby. It had been on my to-read list for a while, but I didn't pick it up until I saw Stroby on an MWA panel in Chatham, NJ. Before becoming a novelist, Stroby was an editor at The Star-Ledger. His deep knowledge of New Jersey comes through. He captures the feel of the real Shore; the desperation of an area of the state whose survival rests on a few summer months, not the glitzy partytimes of the eponymous MTV show.
There are many scenes whose sights and sounds (and smells) jump right off the page. You'll hear seagulls overhead and feel the sand between your toes, but this ain't no summer picnic. The Barbed-Wire Kiss is hard-boiled to its core, full of the kind of down-on-their-luck losers and sleazy schemers that these stories were made for.
I'm definitely going to check out some more of Wallace Stroby's books.