Reviewed: The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey
There is a brilliant writer in America somehow flying under the radar of public knowledge. His name is Marcus Sakey and he has written four enormously enjoyable books, the latest being The Amateurs. He composes novels that are full of unexpected plot turns and are inhabited by people who get involved in situations that are completely alien to their normal lives.
In The Amateurs the four lead characters take actions that are so unlikely that the result is Hitchcockian. You have ordinary men and women becoming totally immersed in criminal occurrences with shocking results. Does that make for good reading? You betcha!
The four main characters in The Amateurs are Jenn, Mitch, Alex and Ian. They have forged a friendship even though each is totally different from the others. Ian on the surface is the most successful, but he has a dark side and some secrets he does not share with the group. Alex tends bar at the club where they meet. He once had a bright future but an early marriage and birth of a child took that away. Now he is divorced and trying to keep up with his child support payments.
Mitch works as a doorman at a hotel and pines for the beautiful Jenn. She seems to only have eyes for Alex and this drives Mitch crazy. He knows if he gets the right chance he can make her notice him. Jenn, meanwhile, is stagnating in her job as a travel agent. She wants some adventure in her life and is open to being as daring as possible.
This is the setting when a chance to steal some big money comes their way. Ordinarily they wouldn't think about doing something this illegal but because of where they are in their lives they do consider the impossible. They think it will be a victimless crime with no possibility of anyone being hurt, but in robberies there are always risks.
Sakey writes his story in such a way that this departure from the ordinary rules of their lives is something plausible. This is where his talent is at its best. He gets inside the heads of these people and shows how one word or one turn can lead them away from the safe and narrow and into a full blown nightmare.
Each book written by Sakey has reportedly been optioned for the movies and The Amateurs would make a classic "film noir." It has all the requisite elements. Plus it has four strong leading roles, not just one.
Marcus Sakey is an author waiting to be discovered by the general population. Once word of his strong writing style gets out, the rush to the bookstores will begin. It is not a case of "if" it will happen; it is a case of "when."
The Amateurs is a book that is intriguing, engrossing and totally readable. You will race from page to page wondering what is going to happen to these ordinary people as they are overcome by events occurring in their journey to the dark side. Don't you want to know? Well get a copy of this amazing book now.
The Amateurs is published by Dutton. It contains 384 pages and sells for $25.95.