I could easily have gone my entire life without really noticing the night sky at all, let alone wondering if it had anything to tell me. We’re so smart now, we know at least something about everything, but still, nobody can tell you which of those pieces of information are important.
Mohammed “Manny” Williams, the main character of Way Past Legal, is not a Muslim, in spite of his name. He doesn’t know what he is. Abandoned in a garbage bag as an infant, he grew up in the foster care system and became a successful thief. He’s always been looking for that big score, but is not prepared when he and his partner Rosario knock a place over and find themselves with a cool two million on their hands. Then Rosey tries to cheat Manny out of his half, and Manny feels no compunction about stealing it all back from him.
One thing is certain – this kind of money will bring a lot of heat. So Manny has to get out of New York. But he makes one stop on his way out – he picks up his little boy Nicky, who’s been languishing in a group home like his dad before him. Nicky adores his father, and is just happy to be with him.
Manny knows everyone will expect him to run south, to someplace warm. So he heads north. He’s near the northern tip of Maine when their car breaks down. A kindly local farmer gives them a ride to a garage, and he and his wife put them up while they’re waiting for repairs.
This town is like no place Manny has ever known. He’s never met friendly, generous people like these before. He helps them and is helped by them, and grows fond of them. Nicky loves it there, and the weight of paternal responsibility begins to bear down on Manny – how can he give his son a secure future when he’s on the run? How can he help him to grow up when he’s immature himself?
And when outsiders start showing up in the area, hunting for the money, Manny will have to take big risks and make hard decisions, because it’s not just him now – and not just him and Nicky – but it’s him and a whole lot of people he’s started to care about.
Beautifully written, exciting, suspenseful, and wholly engaging, Way Past Legal is now one of my favorite crime novels . It’s as good as Shadow of a Thief, which I reviewed yesterday, and lacks the occult element. The main Christian character in Way Past Legal is a very sympathetic fellow. I need to caution you about a lot of obscene language, and there’s violence, of course, but no explicit sex. Highly recommended for adults.