Sunday 25 August 2019



Esmeralda works for a housecleaning service during the day and as a restaurant hostess at night. Just out of high school, she is the sole support for her mother and two young siblings. 

She has drive and ambition. What she doesn’t have is money. 

She knows of a home in the upscale town of Mendham, NJ, that will be empty for more than a month. The rich people who live there go away the same time every year to spend time at their vacation home. Having cleaned the house, she also knows it contains a fair amount of cash and valuables. 

One night sitting with Ray, one of her co-workers, she casually mentions a “what if” scenario; Ray tells Skooley, a white trash drifter who recently moved to New Jersey from south Florida, and a plan is hatched. 

It isn’t long before Esmeralda finds herself trapped by both circumstance and greed, forced to try and defend herself against one of her partners in crime, who she quickly discovers is far more dangerous than she ever thought possible. 

Praise for THIEVES: 

“A chilling portrait of a psychopath on a murderous rampage. One hell of a debut for Steve Russo.” —James Hayman, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Bridge 

Torture, thievery, home invasion, a falling out, a drunken pick-up, a quiet conspirator having regrets, a bar fight, some consequences, a battle for the upper hand and a helluva lot more.

I really enjoyed this tale of a falling out among thieves. Ray, one of them thinks he's a bad ass. Skooley shows him what a bad ass really is and Esmeralda regrets dreaming up the whole scheme. That said there's no turning the clock back and she wants her share, despite her fear of Skooley. Skooley himself has other pressing matters to worry about. A bar fight and his picture in the paper, means the boys from South Florida will be heading his way.

Violent, funny, entertaining, with home cooking, Spam, guns, beer, a walk in the woods, shopping, conversation, disagreements, poor decision making, recklessness, secrets, ambition, a dream of a better life, a trip to the Big Apple and a decent finale.

Interesting characters, not especially nice people but never dull. A decent pace. A tale of a career criminal and an almost accidental one. My kind of book.

4.5 from 5

Thieves is Steven Max Russo's debut novel and came out last year. His second book, The Dead Don't Sleep publishes later this year.

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2018
Page count - 280
Source - Book Sirens review site, courtesy of publisher Down and Out Books
Format - ePUB file


  1. That's a really appealing setup and premise for a good story, Col. The pacing and timing sound good, too. I'm not much of a one for torture in the novels I read, but the rest of it sounds well-paced and interesting.

    1. Margot, maybe borderline re your sensibilities. It had a lot of plus points for me.

  2. This isn't the first very favorable review I've read of this novel. Not sure when I'll be able to get to it, but . . .

  3. OK, many appealing features but is it too violent for me? What do you think?

    1. HMM, it does have a strong female character which may enable you to give it a bit of leeway.

  4. I am encouraged that you liked this book so much but home invasion and torture are things I avoid in my reading. I like the way the book cover is done, but that alone scared me away from reading it.

    1. Maybe one to avoid, Tracy. The cover does exude menace doesn't it?

  5. Thieves sounds interesting. I acknowledge it will not be a priority.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Bill. I hope you enjoy it if you ever find the time.