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Book Reviews

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 9/1/2010, 5:10 p.m.

"Tempted by Trouble" by Eric Jerome Dickey

Times are tough. You've tightened your belt so much that you don't have any notches left. You've cancelled everything cancelable, given up all but the necessities, stopped going out and started going desperate. You don't know what to do next to save your un(der)employed self. It's decision time.

How up-the-creek are you? Would you pick up a gun to pay the bills? In the new book "Tempted by Trouble" by Eric Jerome Dickey, a man learns that firepower is not foolproof.
There was once a time when Dmytryk Knight and his wife, Cora, were bringing down a six-figure income between them. But that was before Detroit's factories started laying off workers, before money dried up and entire neighborhoods were bulldozed. It was before Cora started dancing naked in gentlemen's clubs, just to pay the mortgage.

When Eddie Coyle came to the club and took Cora to Canada for the weekend, Dmytryk was ashamed and jealous until Cora told him that Eddie Coyle needed help. Coyle was looking for a trustworthy wheelman to travel with his team of bank robbers, someone who thought fast and kept his mouth shut.
Eddie Coyle needed someone steady. Dmytryk needed a job.

The work was easy and the money was good - for awhile. Dmytryk and Cora caught up on bills and did a little traveling. When money ran out, there was always another job. Another trip to another city for another brief wait in the car, while Dmytryk's teammates, Robert and Sammy, coolly walked in to a bank and walked out with cash.

Yes, the money was good... but it wasn't enough for Cora, and when Dmytryk came home from a job one night, she was gone. That distracted Dmytryk some, but he had no choice but to work. He needed the money to find Cora, and besides, Eddie Coyle would never let him off the team alive. Dmytryk had seen too much. No witnesses, Coyle said.

But there were plenty of witnesses when the Los Angeles bank job went sour. Plenty of people saw Sammy take a bullet to the face and Robert, one to the chest. But nobody saw Dmytryk as he sped away from the bank, or as he drove to Georgia toward another job and another devastating surprise.

Though I've read other novels by author Eric Jerome Dickey, I'll admit that I'm not always a fan. For me, his work runs hot-or-cold. With this book, I just about burned my fingers. "Tempted by Trouble" sizzles.

I loved that this book felt like a paper equivalent of Reservoir Dogs or a 1930s noir movie, with action that's bullet-fast. I loved that this novel's characters act like real people (albeit violent, immoral, brutal ones) in situations that aren't beyond belief. And I loved the ending of this book, which is so perfect it took my breath away.

Throw out your bookmarks, cancel your plans, and settle in this weekend with this first-rate crime novel. Once you start "Tempted by Trouble", you'll have a tough time letting it go.