Tuesday 6 August 2019



A searing crime novel that introduces an exhilarating new voice in noir fiction that’s as sharp, cruel, and relentless as the story’s unforgettable hero.

Hobbs is an aging, professional thief who chases one last, big score into the eye of a Florida hurricane. He emerges a broken man, hell-bent on revenge while out-running his own mortality and a ruthless FBI agent gone rogue.

"Richard Stark fans will relish heistmeister Hobbs in this well-plotted tale of robbery, murder and revenge." Publishers Weekly

"A dark, funny, pitch-perfect take on the heist novel and worthy of comparison to Richard Stark and Garry Disher." Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest

"The Soak is tense, fast moving, intricately plotted and layered with the moral ambiguity of the best crime fiction." Garry Disher, multiple Ned Kelly Award winning author of the Wyatt novels 

Well two authors who I have enjoyed in the past - Scott Phillips and Garry Disher liked this one and I'm not going to disagree. McLean's The Soak was definitely my cup of tea.

An armoured car heist, a long in the tooth professional thief, Hobbs - with a life partner wanting him to retire, a young gun with an idea, a trusted villain - someone Hobbs knows from jobs before, a financier and a couple of FBI agents - one stable, one a borderline psychopath, a visit to Florida and a hurricane ...... what's not to like.

I really enjoyed this one... the planning, the execution, the outcome, the investigation and the aftermath. It's quite a short book at a little over 200 pages and the action moves quite quickly, but McLean also has the time to develop the main characters and give us their back stories and motivations. Not so much their plans for the future - our heist doesn't end well for many of the participants from both sides of the fence. 

Plenty of snappy exchanges and verbal jousting on display. Lots of black humor. Great dynamics between the two agents - one male, married and steady though suffering from career limbo, one female, attractive, angry, unpredictable and unstable. They made for a lovely couple with a bit of wild sex thrown into the mix as well.

Pace, story, character, action, setting, outcome. All ticks in the box. 

I wouldn't mind seeing Hobbs put off his retirement for one last job.

4.5 from 5

Previously I have enjoyed Patrick E. McLean's short story - The Lucky Dime.

Read - July, 2019
Published - 2017
Page count - 216
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Col The setting definitely appeals to me (although, of course, not the hurricane part). And sometimes, PI characters can be terrific. It sounds as though the character dynamics work here, too.

    1. Margot, I haven't encountered that type of extreme weather in real life thankfully. It must be incredibly scary to experience. Lots here for me to like, including the visit to Florida!

  2. Another one that looks like a must-read! Could you stop doing this, please? Luckily for my sanity, my local library system has never heard of either this or Joe Clifford's The One that Got Away . . . so onto the Amazon wishlist they've both gone instead.

    1. Quid pro quo sir. I think there have been a fair few that have come down the pike towards me. I hope you find this and the Clifford agreeable to your reading palette if you catch up with them.

  3. Hello, Col – I am back from a bit of a break and now catching up with your posts.
    McLean’s THE LUCKY DIME was terrific. I will definitely read THE SOAK. Thanks for the review.
    Also, robbing an armored car is a bad idea. Just ask the guys who tried to do it last week in Philadelphia.
    Check this out:

    1. Elgin, wow, I kind of thought these were a thing of the past. I hope you enjoy THE SOAK when you get to it.

  4. I like heists and I have enjoyed the Richard Stark novels I read, so I will put this on a list to look for.

    1. Heists is one of my favourite sub genres within crime. I love the Richard Stark books.