Harry Rane's longtime friend, Bobby, has gotten himself into deep
trouble and now he's bringing that trouble to Harry. He needs help
cleaning it up. Once a New Jersey State Police trooper, Harry still
has some valuable contacts and knows how to use them. But Bobby's
trouble is with an organized crime figure, Eddie Fallon. Eddie's
not a good person to mess with. It seems Bobby figured that maybe
he could strike it rich with a one-time drug deal. Unfortunately,
he's come up short --- short of the drugs and about $50,000. And
Eddie isn't a real patient man. Harry has some pretty good moves,
but he also has one very bad one, a near-fatal one. It turns out
that Fallon's wife is Harry's ex-girlfriend. Eighteen years ago,
she left, pregnant with Harry's child and never returned --- until
now. Harry's judgment has been impeccable up to this point, but
Cristina is just too tempting to resist. To complicate matters
further, members of the department he once was a part of are
breathing down his neck over some bodies that have turned up.
Wallace Stroby has hit the mystery scene like a steam engine racing
along at full throttle. He knows how to grab your attention and
never let go. Fast-paced and engrossing, THE BARBED-WIRE KISS
delivers a satisfying punch.
It came to a nice, tidy wrap-up and I was pretty happy with it.
Then I realized I still had 20 or 30 pages left in the book. Stroby
just doesn't let go. Even at the last page, I had the feeling it
wasn't quite over yet. Harry has another chance, but what's in his
future from here? I wouldn't mind seeing where he goes and what he
does --- and soon. You've just gotta love him, especially when he's
throwing caution and reason to the wind and letting his heart and
mouth guide him. I read, cringing, wincing and shaking my head. I
think I even cried out "Don't do THAT, Harry" a couple times.
This is an exceptional first novel. If you love a mystery and crave
action, give THE BARBED-WIRE KISS a few hours. You won't need more
than that and you'll agree it was time very well spent.
Note: Strong language, violence, minimal sexual content.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 21, 2011