Book 47 of 52: Shoot the Woman First by Wallace Stroby

Shoot the Woman First (Crissa Stone Novels)is the third book in Wallace Stroby’s series about career criminal Crissa Stone. I’m not really into mysteries or thrillers, but I read another of the Criss Stone books when I wrote about Stroby for New Jersey Monthly, and I was hooked.

Yes, Stone is a career criminal, but she doesn’t target people who would miss the money, or focuses on bad guys. In Shoot the Woman First, she’s involved in a heist from a drug dealer, and things go wrong (if things didn’t go wrong, this wouldn’t be much of a book). The story flips between Stone, who is trying to give a part of her take to relatives of her partner, and Burke, a former police officer who is being paid by the drug dealer to track down who hit his operation.

Crissa Stone a variation of a hooker with a heart of gold type story. She does bad things, but to bad people. She’s living by her own moral code, and that makes her a sympathetic character. Stroby’s done his work, too. When I interviewed to him for New Jersey Monthly, he talked about how he built the Stone character based on interviews with female criminals, and that most of the heists are based on actual events.

And this is why genre fiction can be good. This book feels real because it’s based on fact, and the book is so well written. It’s so good that Showtime has a Crissa Stone series in development.

I’m glad I looked beyond the title – I admit! – I don’t like, and spent a few days in the world of Crissa Stone.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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