As opening hooks go, “I had my throat slit in the back corner of Alistair’s Pub.” forces you to sit up and take notice. You just know this is going to be a fast-paced, wild and riveting ride. Ryan Wick’s debut novel “Safecracker” features an unlikely hero – Michael Maven is a professional thief who has mastered his craft of lock-picking. No ordinary thief is Michael. He has principles that guide his behavior, actions and reactions. Arguably an antihero? Don’t be too sure of that.
Hired to steal a rare coin, Michael’s meticulous planning flies out the window when his mark unexpectedly comes home with a woman in tow, interrupting his heist. He’s hiding in a closet as he watches in horror as the woman calmly kills her “date” and then proceeds to cut off his finger to open the sophisticated safe where the coin is stashed. Gory enough for you? Well, hang onto your hat ‘cause you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
The opening gambit gets Michael involved in a complex plot involving some really bad actors from the infamous Sinaloa cartel and others who are even more depraved and twisted. They’re guilty of unspeakable cruelties and acts of violent imagery that jump off the pages and grab you by the throat. But like coming upon the scene of an accident, you can’t not look. You watch in horror as your conscious mind tries to digest the visuals. Such is the power of Wick’s prose.
This is writing that is crisp and clean. No fluffy fillers here. Every word is necessary for keeping this complex plot moving along like a high speed bullet train. Maven’s specialized talent may be picking locks but he also has advanced martial arts expertise and some other tricks up his sleeve that prove his prowess under the most adverse conditions. Does he always come out on top? No, but so far he’s managed to stay mostly in one piece, unless you count having his throat cut. Five shiny gold stars!
My thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to preview this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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