Books & Literature

Book Review: The Stakes, by Ben Sanders

NYPD robbery detective Miles Keller thinks he’s found a good strategy: rip off rich New York criminals and then retire early, before word’s out about his true identity, but someone wants revenge.

An intricate and multi-layered piece that has the reader re-reading sections to make sure they have read it right! Ben Sanders has penned a book that twists and turns on itself, giving question to the ethics of certain characters and providing elements and insights that keep you turning the pages as you seek to unravel the puzzles placed before you.

This is the story of a crooked cop who, in his own way, is working within strict ethical guidelines that cause him many life-threatening predicaments as he runs the gauntlet of legal and underworld activities. Miles Keller was destined to have a complicated life, being born to parents who were mediocre bank robbers. His brother is doing time for unsuccessfully carrying on the family trade but Miles got out and became a police officer. He places himself in the centre of this tale when he goes to the aid of an old informant and is at the scene when she shoots a man through a misunderstanding of intent.

There are several smaller characters who add to the suspense but, by far, the evil of greed and manipulation comes in the form of Nina, a beautiful cut-throat thief who entrances those around her into doing what she wants. She has Bobby, an associate of her LA crime boss husband, Charles Stone, attempting to return her to him as she negotiates the sale of his assets and has several back up escape plans, utilising both Bobby and Miles as pawns. Her greed sees deception, death, kidnap and mayhem occurring around her. As the story unfolds we are given the view points of the main characters either as a chapter heading or a subheading within the event being described.

Miles has decided to find a peaceful place, take his profits and relax. His plans become complicated and appear to be unachievable, especially when it becomes apparent that Lucy (the informant who carries oxygen tanks with her as she has stage one emphysema) will need to come with him.

This is a masterful piece of writing and will appeal to anyone who enjoys an ethically challenged story of intrigue. It is a book well worth having in the Detective or Crime section of your library.

Reviewed by:  Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: February 2018
RRP: $29.99

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