Mattson mines unpredictable mystery and intrigue from this cast's uncertain motives and morality, while layering in a touch of whodunnit tension, all with the added urgency of an impending storm about to deal an "all-out assault on the entire southern Florida coast." True to Mattson’s genre, the dialogue is clipped, crisp, and realistic as these sharply developed characters face a variety of tense situations. Mattson’s fascinated by the nuts-and-bolts of corruption, convincingly detailed gunplay, bursts of jolting action, and the question of just how far these desperate people will go.
With a strong sense of Miami’s dark streets and flooding boulevards, its cop card games and diverse populations, Mattson keeps the surprises coming but also underscores the far-reaching repercussions of these characters' decisions and ethical dilemmas. This serves as a cautionary tale about remaining loyal to one's principles and the destructive power of greed and corruption. Readers of thrillers involving murder, drugs, and moral murkiness will find this well-crafted plunge into a world of vice engagingly seedy.
Takeaway: Spirited Miami noir of cops, corruption, a big score, and a killer cast.
Comparable Titles: Dennis Lehane's The Drop, Carl Hiaasen.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A
In this thriller, theft and corruption saddle a Miami police precinct while a hurricane ravages the city.
Mattson fuels this taut story with a swift, unwavering pace. It takes place in the span of one day, and characters rush and race against the clock.
At the same time, the pounding, torrential storm sets a delightfully moody atmosphere and elevates suspense. Descriptions of Hurricane Ellen’s intensity are vivid—traffic clutters the streets; heavy wind and rain shake roofs and knock down power lines; and flooding traps some people in their cars.
As double crosses pile up, Mattson regulates the ensuing violence; the tale focuses on the tense, rain-soaked confrontations with unseen shooters and bullet-riddled action scenes. Later twists convincingly shake things up...and ultimately spawn a satisfying, albeit predictable, denouement.
A riveting and enjoyable Southern crime tale that runs full tilt.