cover image Fake Money, Blue Smoke

Fake Money, Blue Smoke

Josh Haven. Mysterious, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-363-4

At the start of this exceptional heist thriller from Haven (Hold Fast as J.H. Gelernter), former army sergeant Matt Kubelsky is picked up from an upstate New York prison—where he just served five years for killing an unarmed prisoner while in the army—by his ex-girlfriend, Kelly Haggerty, who’s hoping he might know someone who can pull off a robbery for her. Kelly’s been using skills learned studying art in college to make a decent living at counterfeiting (mostly foreign currency, easily passed in New York City, where she lives), but now she wants to make a big score: paying robbers in fake cash to steal some Klimt drawings, which she can sell to a Qatari gentleman wanted by the DEA for laundering cocaine money for Hezbollah. Matt happens to know a guy from prison, Bob Wharton, who was involved in armed robberies for a neo-Nazi group, and Bob agrees to take on the theft of the Klimts. Haven stitches all this together seamlessly, and just when it seems that the story could be wrapping up, he piles on more action and twists. In addition, the various locales and the little flourishes (executioner’s scimitar, anyone?) raise this to the book equivalent of a blockbuster movie. It’s not to be missed. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Dec.)