A Better Class of Criminal, Cristian Kelly

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

There's a quote on the blurb for this book which goes:

Guy Ritchie meets Elmore Leonard – this is a fast-paced humorous crime thriller with splashes of dark and sinister

Which is where I could leave this review because it sums it up perfectly.

Fast paced: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL belts along, mind you that's a word worth keeping in mind, there's belting violence aplenty here which comes at the reader like a battering ram.

Humorous: If you like dark, cynical, pointed and very "gangster" styled humour, then you could find yourself laughing away at what, with hindsight, was probably a bit inappropriate, but what the hell.

Crime: Oh there's stacks, piles, heaps of wildly out of control crime in this one. It's the mid-nineties and meth is getting popular. Which inspires the lads with a small, highly successful, and cunningly concealed marijuana grow operation to spread their wings. These idiots are convinced they'll make a one-time, highly lucrative deal and spend the rest of their lives surfing and living the high life. Never heard of a crime boss obviously. Never stopped for a moment to think pinching diamonds to solve the problem the first idiotic plan engendered could mean that a lot more dangerous people are pissed off with them. 

Thriller: Delivers on all the required thriller elements and then some. You'll be sitting on the edge of your seats at times, you'll also be peeping through your fingers. There could be some yelling at yet another daft decision - despite all the well-meaning intent in the world.

Given the humour, the crime, the danger, the pace, A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL also squeezes in the development of some really engaging, believable, and likeable blokes - even if you'd spend a lot of time rolling your eyes or glaring long and hard in their direction. But they work in the context of the well-meaning (if you squint at the illegal drug stuff) idiots who get themselves in just that bit too deep. The friendship between the main characters, and the general feeling of looking out for your mates, means that the reader is never dragged too deep into the dark. It's more of a series of glancing blows that should have battered some sense into these blokes well before, if it ever really does. You'll have to read it yourself to find that out.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author.
Year of Publication

A seemingly foolproof plan to make some quick money turns into a race for their lives…

It’s the mid-nineties and methamphetamine casts its shadow over the Californian city of Santa Lucía. Nathan, happy running a small marijuana grow operation with his two best friends, takes advantage of meth’s rise in popularity and makes a lucrative one-time deal.

Betrayed, beaten, and desperate…

But a devastating betrayal leaves him entangled with the city’s merciless crime boss. Risking everything, Nathan and his friends embark on a wild plan to steal millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds to settle the debt.

Caught in the crosshairs of corrupt cops, a relentless Russian henchman and his temptress partner, they face setbacks at every turn as they pursue the diamonds across the city.

As the death toll rises, can Nathan save them all before the real bad guys find them?

Review A Better Class of Criminal, Cristian Kelly
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