Chuck Hogan, . . Scribner, $25 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-6455-6

The dark third novel by the author of The Standoff isn't the fast-paced thriller it's marketed to be. It is, rather, a story of doomed love focusing on Doug MacRay, a Boston-based career thief (he comes from Charlestown, "a breeding ground for bank and armored-car robbers") who becomes enamored with the manager of the bank he and his pals have just robbed. Claire Keesey, who has been badly traumatized by the robbery, later begins to develop feelings for him as well, unaware that a masked MacRay was the lead perpetrator in the heist that turned her life upside down. Hogan then leads readers through a long-winded labyrinth of inner reflection as Doug spends much of the book pondering whether he should quit the criminal life in order to pursue a deeper relationship with Claire. This undermines the suspense that crime fiction requires, and the novel is overlong by more than half. Although some characters are quite lively, most of them (including Doug) are not very sympathetic, and the end brings tragedy for many of them. All the same, the author's original writing style and knack for unusual metaphors can make for engaging reading, and the book's cinematic quality and grittily realistic action sequences bode well for its day on screen (it's been optioned by Law & Order producer Dick Wolf). Agent, Richard Abate . (Aug.)