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Sunday, September 14, 2014


4 stars out of 5

When I read the description of this book at, it got my attention right away. The "hero," Jake Stankovic, is a relatively successful thief with a crew of two, but there's a big difference: Jake used to be a police officer. Then when I learned the author is a retired law enforcement officer with a number of writing awards under his belt, I started to think seriously. And when I was able to download it free as part of my trial membership in Kindle Unlimited, well, let's just say I got right to it.

As it turns out, it was a great decision. Jake, it seems, now has been a criminal longer than he was a cop. As the property-stealing business heads into a slump - meaning a big drop in income for the trio - Jake decides to make a move into the drug market with what he hopes is a quick deal. Not only is it not quick, it doesn't go as planned, leaving Jake to try to figure a way to salvage their financial investment. Then, something else unplanned happens: a woman he used to know (yes, in the biblical sense) back in his police days shows up on his doorstep. After spending a few years living a cutthroat life, she says she's come back to "find the good part of myself again." 

As if that weren't enough, the woman is the ex-wife of a detective from Jake's old department - and the detective has never forgiven Jake for stealing "his" woman and causing his ugly divorce way back then. Ever since, in fact, he's had it in for Jake big-time, and now he's caught wind of the drug deal and doubled his efforts to get even by putting Jake behind bars (or worse). As the action heats up, Jake begins to smell another rat; quite possibly it's emanating from one of his partners in crime, who's spilling his guts to the detective.

More details would give away too much, but I will say that there are a number of twists and turns; while some headed down expected paths, the destinations were not. The result? An intriguing, well-written story that's definitely worth reading, and the 246 pages fly by in no time at all. It's good enough, in fact, that I'm now checking out other works by the author (who also writes under the name Frank Scalise).

At Their Own Game by Frank Zafiro (Frank Scalise, January 2014); 246 pp.

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