Wednesday 14 January 2015



A cool, calm, and collected bank robber—with two kids at home—heads a fascinating cast of characters in Duke City Split, the first in a trilogy of white-knuckle thrillers from Max Austin, for fans of Breaking Bad and the bestselling fiction of Don Winslow and George Pelecanos. 
Bud Knox isn’t your average bank robber. He’s happiest fixing a nice lunch for his wife on her lunch break or watching his two young daughters play soccer. He leaves the boldness and brawn to his partner, Mick Wyman. In the past fourteen years, they’ve hit nearly thirty banks all over the West—everywhere but “Duke City,” their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
So when Mick calls him about the perfect job, Bud is less than convinced, because the target is on their own turf. But with the potential to haul in millions, Bud simply can’t say no. If they do this job right, Bud may never have to work again.
As it turns out, the heist is the easy part. Holding onto the money while evading everyone from the FBI to the Mafia to the low-life criminals who want a cut will be the hardest thing Bud Knox has ever done—and it might just cost him his life.

Max Austin is a pseudonym for Steve Brewer author of over 20 mystery novels

Max Austin (aka mystery novelist Steve Brewer) serves up a taut tale of robbery here with a couple of cool, calculating and likeable career criminals, falling foul of a couple of their golden rules – don’t pull jobs on your own doorstep and if you are breaking this rule don’t exacerbate the problem by allowing an amateur on board your tight-knit team.

After scoping out the job brought to them by a local guy, Johnny Muller. The gang successfully relieve the local bank of the weekend takings from the out-of-town casino. However unbeknown to our pros Mick and Bud,their third wheel has revealed an identifying tattoo to the Hispanic security guard at the bank.

With the cash stashed and cooling off our weak link in the chain, Muller is targeted by the bank’s security guard and his hefty girlfriend who fancy a cut of the cash themselves. Muller’s expectations of an easy haul and an upturn in his prospects have just taken a nosedive. His two partners assist in resolving this problem, but with the casino having mob funds behind them – another cloud has appeared on the horizon in the form of Vincent Caro from Chicago, an enforcer who intends on making a few inquiries and securing himself a share of the robbery proceeds at the same time.

Throw into the mix, an oddball FBI couple who are investigating the robbery and have a lead that links our dynamic duo of Bud and Mick to 30-odd other bank robberies. Add in another couple of local crims with a blood thirst and their own monetary ambitions and the heat is rising in Albuquerque.
Thrills, action, pace, violence, death, robbery, ambition – in abundance. Slightly less in character depth, but I’m not too bothered.

Best book I've ever read – no, but I loved it all the same.

More from Max Austin/Steve Brewer – hell, yes.

Duke City Hit is the second in Austin’s proposed trilogy. I would say I’m looking forward to it, but I have already read and enjoyed it. Review to follow sometime in the next month. Roll on number 3!

Verdict on this one – 4 from 5

Steve Brewer has his website here and you can catch up with him on Twitter - @BrewerRules

Bought on Amazon kindle late last year. Read and enjoyed December 2014  



  1. I was going to say, 'glad you've got a whole trilogy to look forward to' but you're already two-thirds of the way through. Look forward to more reviews. This does sound good, I like the set up, it could well go onto the list.

    1. Moira cheers. A touch of BIFF, BASH, BOSH about it, but I do like books that entertain and make me turn pages, as opposed to weightier tomes imparting life lessons and educating me. Sometimes anyway. KAPOW!

  2. Col - Oh, I like the setup for this story, too. In a way it reminds me of Robert Pollock's Loophole. Sounds like there are some interesting characters there.

    1. Margot thanks. I did enjoy it.
      I have looked up Pollock's LOOPHOLE as it wasn't on my radar previously. It is now! Thanks for the heads-up, I think. I have just about managed to keep my wallet in my back pocket but my resolve was sorely tempted. It seems a really intriguing book and the sort of thing I love.......for now I will try and stick to my 2015 - acquisition plan!

  3. Glad you liked this. It sounds like fun, but I have too many other books to add this one. Glen has a "box" of comic e-books with one of his Steve Brewer titles in it.

    1. Tracy, I have reached the tipping point more or less with adding more books, though I'm always tempted. I think I have the same comic e-book as Glen.....Brewer, Paul Levine, Parnell Hall, Bill Fitzhugh and another guy I haven't heard of.

  4. Col, I like the sound of this book, more so because Bud Knox is a family man and I'd like to see how the writer weaves that angle into the crime aspect of the story.

    1. I liked Bud and Mick. I would think you would enjoy this caper Prashant.