Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dead Money Run: Review (and a Look at the Series)

Author: J. Frank James
Genre: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 293
Originally published in: 2013

A fast-paced thriller packed with action, Dead Money Run follows Lou Malloy as he has just been released after spending 15 years in prison for stealing $15 million from an Indian casino. However, even after so many years, the money he stole still remain hidden somewhere – and only he knows where, making him a target for a plethora of shady characters. Not only does Lou need to keep his money (and his wellbeing), but also he strives to find the people responsible for his sister’s death. On this dangerous journey of a man who is both a chaser and a chased one, Lou strikes an unlikely ally in the face of young Hilary Kelly – herself an enigma with a few secrets up her sleeve, she joins Lou from early on in his mission to vengeance.

The writing is easy to follow as all the actions are described from Lou’s point of view, making the whole story pretty straight-forward. However, this also means that all the events are perceived through his prism only and this is exactly what the reader gets from the story. Put in this context, it is no surprising that this is not a complicated thriller full of twists, grand philosophical statements, or complex characters. This does work when you consider that everything is perceived through Malloy’s eyes and through his eyes only. So, you can hardly expect him to spend time thinking or paying attention of anything else but his current situation – which is dealing with mobsters and coming to terms with his sister’s death (the circumstances of which remain unclear for quite a while). Considering this, the novel has to be written in plain language – the language of Lou Malloy as he has just left prison and is spending his newly found freedom on the run.

The author, J. Frank James has an extensive background in law which undoubtedly helps in his writing ventures – and it is obvious when reading Dead Money Run that he knows what he is talking about (as it often happens, it is in the details). The authentic nature of the book is what makes it come to life – while going through the pages, it is easy for the reader to plainly see every action described as if it were before his eyes. Ultimately, it has the feeling of an action-packed crime movie – strongly reminding me of Noise, which had a similar structure.

I was kindly send the prequel to the book, too, which at only 52 pages, gives a good origins story to the character of Lou Malloy, so I recommend if you decide on reading Dead Money Run, you do familiarize yourself with Lou Malloy: The Run Begins, too. Truth is, this is just a part of a series, dedicated to Lou Malloy’s adventures, also consisting of Only Two Cats, Blue Cat in Paradise, Rainbow Games, Two Birds to Kill, Last Flamingo, and Finders, Keepers.

As for The Run Begins, it gives Lou a good introduction as it sees him as a young 18-year-old boy, with ambition in his eyes, but wrong decisions in his mind. How did Lou end up in prison for 15 years? In 52 pages, James manages to explain his motifs and what drove him to commit a crime that would mark his life forever.

If you want to find out more about J. Frank James, you can visit his website or follow him on Goodreads.

I was kindly sent Dead Money Run and The Run Begins in an exchange of my honest review from the lovely Kelsey from Book Publicity Services.

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