Jim's Reviews > The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey
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Mar 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: chicago, police-and-thieves, non-fiction
Read in March, 2009

This is Marcus Sakey's debut novel, and it's even more impressive for that fact.

The protagonist Danny has built a nice life for himself, but all of this is threatened when his old buddy shows up. Evan had gone to prison after a botched pawn shop robbery, during which he savagely beat and shot two people. Danny had run away and Evan took the rap, keeping his mouth shut. Now he figures Danny owes him.

Evan forces Danny to help pull off one last big job, kidnapping the son of Danny's boss for ransom. Things go wrong for a lot of reasons, one of which is that Evan is a psychopath.

Evan doesn't merely want the ransom; he also wants to punish Danny, and the kidnapping is a means to destroy his comfortable life. Danny decides he has to make things right, even though he knows the danger Evan poses and that he will probably try to kill Danny's girlfriend if he suspects any opposition on Danny's part.

Sakey utilizes a lot of the conventions of crime thrillers. In less skilled hands, it might have come off as cliched, but Sakey makes it compelling. I don't think it's too much of a risk to compare him to Elmore Leonard.
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