cover image Shady Cross

Shady Cross

James Hankins. Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, $14.95 trade paper (334p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2098-8

This outstanding crime thriller from Hankins (Brothers and Bones) grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck and never lets go. When second-rate crook Stokes ransacks a wrecked car that’s run off a country road near Shady Cross, Ind., he discovers that the dead driver had a knapsack stuffed with $350,000; the bad news is that Stokes also finds a ringing cell phone that announces the money was ransom for the dead man’s little daughter. His first impulse is to ditch the phone and run with the cash. Instead, Stokes plays along with the kidnappers over the phone, trying to figure out their plan and save the child. He has no experience as a hero, and the new role forces him into situations that are deadly dangerous and grotesquely hilarious—while the kidnappers keep calling every hour to threaten the girl. Hankins skillfully keeps the story from going warm and fuzzy as Stokes gropes toward redemption. [em]Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Feb.) [/em]