If this is any indication of what I have ahead of me with Hard Case Crime, I'm a happy man. Not only is this novel so tightly edited, it's a no-nonsense, straight up page-turner.
When I was hit with the first plot twist, my mouth dropped open. Maybe some people might be able to spot it early on (if you read the plot description, I believe it's in there) but it came to me out of seemingly nowhere. As the novel progresses, you begin to really sympathise with Joe and start to like the guy; rooting for he and Mona to prevail.
Which is probably why the ending had such a strong impact on me. You could have asked me in the beginning to try and predict where this was going to end up and I could say with absolute certainty, there's no way I could've seen this one coming. The ending not only shocked me, it felt like a punch in the stomach. I shouldn't use the word "satisfying" given the events in question but coming across something that dark was pretty refreshing.
Lawrence Block is clearly a versatile writer. He can write longer fiction within a series (his signature Matt Scudder character) as well as short, cut-to-the-chase fiction with this one-off Grifter's Game novel. I'm pleased to see he has more than a few entries with this publisher and can't wait to devour more.