Mysterious Press/Open Road, PB $14.99, 286 pages, ISBN 978-1-5040-4461-5
The MBR is kicking off the New Year 2018 with one of the best caper novels to come our way since The Sting was made into a movie back in 1973. It features one of the most unique bad guys in current crime fiction. His name is Finn and he’s a professional thief who calls himself the last of the hard hats, that’s because he only steals big things . . . like a tractor-trailer load of new luxury automobiles, or heavy machinery . . . even a couple of railcars full of exotic ores for processing high strength steel. Finn’s a guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, knows how to operate anything with a motor and has a hand-picked crew of men with calloused hands, dirty fingernails and larceny in their hearts. We meet them all in The Downside, by Mike Cooper. Finn is fresh out of prison and flat broke. He’s contacted by a beautiful woman named Emily who’s the executive assistant to a shady Wall Street billionaire who wants to finance Finn’s next job. It’s easy . . . all he has to do is break into a high security commodities warehouse and make off with fifty million dollars worth of the precious metal Rhodium. Big and heavy, it’s right up Finn’s alley. He reassembles the very same crew from his last job, the one that put him in prison for seven years, and prepares to tunnel into an unbreachable vault. His only problem? Somewhere in his crew of construction workers is a turncoat . . . the rat who put him in prison. Determined, focused, and wary of everyone, Finn lays out a plan and starts buying heavy equipment to do the job. This novel moves at breakneck speed and never slows down, with a blue collar anti-hero you’ll be rooting for, long before the novel comes to it’s dynamic conclusion. The MBR is fascinated by Finn, and looking for more of him from the award winning pen of Mike Cooper, which is the pen name of author Mike Weicek.