John Perich, “Too Late To Run” (2014) – the adventures of Mara Cunningham ratchet up a notch in this, the latest and to date last installment of my friend/comrade’s Boston-based crime-thriller series. She has to cope with arsonists, militia dudes (out in Worcester County, natch), smarmy crooked FBI people, and the occasional fuckboy.
Looming behind it all is a big bank! The normal subprime shenanigans weren’t enough for one banker, so they go a few further notches into open criminality, setting off a chain of events involving deadly arson and the taking down of a local crime boss with whom Mara had a tense but reasonable relationship. She winds up caught between her day job at a dying newspaper, her side gig working with the crime boss’s charming retainer trying to figure out what happened, and an offer to work at something like buzzfeed. She’s got a lot on her plate, and people keep burning stuff down around her.
I’d say this latest volume is the best in terms of having a lot of bravura scenes. I especially liked Mara leading a crowd of Occupyish protesters to chant the name of an evil banker she needed to flush out, and a scene where someone tries to arsonize the main character on a MBTA train car was memorable, considering how much time I’ve spent on them. There’s a lot of interesting facets and characters, which I like. I’m a little foggy as to exact details of the scheme Mara stumbled upon- this happens with me and crime fiction sometimes. But the main gist is that Mara, and a number of ordinary people, are caught in the gears of a ruthless capital machine, between big impersonal crooks like the bank and small crooks with a face, like a crime boss. Ultimately, none of them are good for society as a whole, and will take everything you’ve got- as Mara finds out personally. She has lost a lot by the end of the book, and I’m curious to see how she comes out of it. ****’