Teddy Rinaldi, an ambassador to a Persian Gulf king, gets a call from his wife Christina explaining that their 8-year-old son Toby has been kidnapped while flying from NY to San Francisco. With no sign of their son anywhere, and nowhere else to turn, Ambassador Rinaldi asks the king his “boss” for help. The King’s secret chief of intelligence, Turnbull, is enlisted and get right to work.
Snatch is one of two kidnapping novels by Gregory Mcdonald reissued and newly out from Hard Case Crime in a single 400 plus page volume called Snatch. Mcdonald wrote the books back in the 1980s, and is best known for his funny Fletch series. These Snatch books are a welcomed addition to Mcdonald’s body of work. The Snatch books are a fun and fantastic ride full of strong passages of storytelling, great dialogue, and an intricate plotting.
Things are not what they seem in Snatch. We soon find out that the motives for the kidnapping are complicated and personal. People double cross, don’t always tell the truth, and it is fun to watch how Mcdonald strings out the intricate but never convoluted plot. The story becomes bigger than the moment, slipping into a multigenerational saga that drives the current action, but Mcdonald handles is all really well. Nothing gets lost or feels forced.
Safekeeping is the second story in this book and uses the same setup as Snatch to drive the narrative. This time an 8-year-old British boy named Robby Burnes is kidnapped while traveling home to England from his New York Boarding school. While it might seem a dull endeavor to read another book with a same setup as the first, it was surprisingly not. Mcdonald’s writing is tight and well paced. He knows how to build tension, write dialogue, and create scenes. The result is a second book that stands as a welcome companion to the first.
Gregory Mcdonald’s Snatch is a strong and wonderful addition to the Hard Case Crime imprint. You can’t go wrong with either of these books. You will breeze through the 400+ pages in no time. Recommended for people interested in late pulp and Contemporary noir. Readers of Lawrence Block, James Crumley, and Robert Stone will love Snatch.
Philip Rafferty is a teacher in Portland Oregon where he lives with his wife, the writer, Summer Neville and their daughter Ocean. Philip's poems, stories, and criticism have appeared in various online and print publications such as "Beatdom," "Black Heart Magazine," "Typehouse Literary Magazine," "Cacti Fur," and "Montage."
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