A story about what happens when power and greed reach insane levels.
They thought they could cover up what an out-of-control trader at a Manhattan brokerage firm did to Olivia Sanchez. She worked hard, played by the rules, but so what? Blackball her from the industry and be done with her.
Who’s going to stop them?
Nobody, until Olivia turns to her cousin Manny, an ex-con, ex-gang leader whose first reaction is to take care of the arrogant bastard who hurt his cousin—permanently. His partner, James Beck, part of a tight clique of ex-cons based in Brooklyn’s Red Hook, convinces Manny to hold off. Things can be complicated in the real world. But even the savvy Beck has no idea what’s really going on.
There’s much more at stake than Beck imagines, starting with enough money to ignite a backlash that can wipe out Beck and his partners. It’s tens of millions of dollars connected to arms dealing for a clandestine U.S. agency.
Beck and his loyal band are forced into an escalating nonstop war against an arms dealer, war criminals, Russian mobsters, and even the NYPD. The only way to stay out of prison and survive is to outsmart, outfight, never concede, and ultimately rob their enemies of the source of their power: 116 million dollars.
PRAISE FOR AMONG THIEVES
"Tough guy James Beck, the star of this outstanding thriller from Clarkson, runs a barely above-the-boards operation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to give employment and a second chance to his fellow ex-cons. Beck tries to protect prison acquaintance Manny Guzman from avenging Olivia Sanchez, Guzman’s beautiful cousin, who was once a compliance officer at a high-powered Wall Street hedge fund. Sanchez claims to have been physically harmed, fired, and blackballed from the financial industry after attempting to rein in a rogue trader at her firm.
Beck pulls together his quasi-gang—which includes a bevy of appealing ruffians, mobsters, and burglars—to correct the wrong. But in doing so, he uncovers a plot to launder tens of millions from illegal arms sales, and he riles psychotic Russian arms dealer Leonid Markov, who now wants Beck dead.
Clarkson’s relentless storytelling drives Beck and his foes toward a satisfying apocalyptic climax. Fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher will find a lot to like."
"James Beck is not a man to cross. After serving eight hard years for killing a cop in self-defense, he is released and, with a fat cash settlement engineered by his lawyer, buys himself privacy and a ramshackle building in Brooklyn, where he now lives with three trusted ex-cons. When one of the three, Manny Guzman, is asked for help by his cousin, Olivia Sanchez, the only relative to stick by him during his prison term, Beck gets involved.
After being threatened and injured by a colleague at her brokerage firm, then fired and blackballed, Olivia needs redress and a job. As Beck goes to her aid, he’s nearly killed by men employed by Leonid Markov, a Russian arms dealer whose large cash accounts keep Olivia’s former firm afloat. Soon Beck is targeted by Markov, the CEO of the brokerage firm, with his ties to the U.S. military, a deadly Bosnian crew, and a gang of Russian mobsters. Beck, physically skilled and smart, commands loyalty from his immediate crew and some contract help, as events lead to a violent climax.
With crisp prose, masterful plotting, and building suspense, this is a real treat for fans of gritty crime fiction, who will want more from Clarkson."
BOOKREPORTER | Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
"Don’t let AMONG THIEVES get past you. There are many worthy books being published on a weekly basis, so it’s difficult to decide what to read.
But John Clarkson’s latest, a hard-boiled and hard-driving crime caper novel, stands out among them.
It has been a while — 11 years, a veritable eternity in the publishing world — since Clarkson has favored us with a novel, and AMONG THIEVES is the perfect vehicle to showcase his return.
The book is set primarily in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, an ideal place for the almost nondescript bar that serves as Ground Zero for most of what occurs.
The establishment is owned by James Beck (his identity well-hidden behind a business entity), an ex-convict who hires and assists fellow ex-cons. Beck is introduced in one of the best opening paragraphs I’ve read recently, which is right up there with THE LAST GOOD KISS by James Crumley and THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE by George V. Higgins.
The jumpstart of the book is simple enough. One of Beck’s friends and associates, a hard case named “Manny” Guzman, wants someone killed. Guzman has a cousin, Olivia Sanchez, who has done very well working for Summit, a New York investment firm.
Olivia is special to Manny, having been his sole visitor and contact with the outside world while he was doing a long and difficult prison stretch. Olivia has now come to Manny in dire straits, reporting that she has incurred the wrath of one of the firm’s partners, Alan Crane, who runs one of the firm’s most successful hedge funds.
After becoming aware of some questionable transactions that Crane was making and mentioning it to Frederick Milstein, the firm’s owner, Crane violently confronted her. By the time the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Olivia had broken fingers and was out of a job.
LORENZO CARCATERRA | New York Time Bestselling author of Sleepers and The Wolf
“AMONG THIEVES is an adrenaline-fueled rush of reality and James Beck is one of the badest, boldest, brashest creations ever seen in the pages of any thriller. It’s a rock ‘n roll, foot-stomper of a book and once you start you cannot stop reading. You can’t ask for more out of a crime novel than you get from Among Thieves. It is as good as good gets.”
“Like Ocean's Eleven meets Mystic River, Among Thieves is a high-octane thriller from a writer at the top of his game.
Strong storytelling. Highly entertaining."
THOMAS PERRY | Author of Butcher's Boy and Vanishing Act
“John Clarkson’s Among Thieves is an intense, well-written thriller about tough, cunning men whose conflicting schemes turn Brooklyn into a battlefield.”
Listen to Audio Clip Narrated by Peter Berkrot