Book Review: Smash and Grab by Joe Albanese

Smash and Grab
by Joe Albanese

Publication date: February 28th 2018
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Pages: 52


Wick was a normal young man, passing his days at a part-time job and wasting his nights with friends and booze. That was until someone smashed a brick to the side of his head and knocked Wick’s life upside down. The culprit, Kenny, a young man in a dire situation, has only one goal: to get the job done, no matter who gets in his way.
On opposite sides, Wick and Kenny, along with their shared circle of friends, low-lifes, drug dealers, an ex-flame, a cop battling his own demons, and each other, will find out just how similar their situations are, and if only one of them can make it out alive.

Source: Goodreads


With only 52 pages, this novella is a speedy read but it’s still pretty intense. In the opening pages, Wick, a cashier at a local shop is attacked with a brick during a robbery and what follows is a fast paced story about getting the job done, no matter who you have to hurt along the way.

“The men slammed Kenny’s jaw onto the table. The force sent him into a daze. They slammed his head again, this time breaking the shot glass in his mouth. One more time and it was shattered.”

I’m not usually a fan of this type of genre. Any crime I usually read is written from the point of view of the hero, the good guy, usually investigating the crime and preventing it from happening again. “Smash and Grab”, in contrast, throws you straight in from the point of views of those involved: the victims and the perpetrators themselves.

There were several names and faces to keep track of at first and I actually went back to read the first few pages again just to make sure I had everything correct. These characters are brutal and violent and with no dreams or aspirations, their lives are headed nowhere and taking risks doesn’t seem to be of concern to them.

The writing style wasn’t perfect and I would have enjoyed a few more pages of character development to really help me connect with his world, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and for a first novel, I’d say author Joe Albanese has done a pretty good job!

Overall rating: A short story of theft, drugs and the lives behind them, “Smash and Grab” is a gritty tale with several twists to keep things interesting. It’s a short but enjoyable read that I’d recommend to crime fans – 3 stars from me.

Thanks to the author Joe Albanese who sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. You’ll find Joe on Twitter here.

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