Books Magazine

Born to Lose by p. j. Thomas

By Gpangel @gpangel1
BORN TO LOSE BY P. J. THOMASBorn to Lose by P.J. Thomas is an Outskirts Press publication. I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This is a 2013 release.
In the 1950's Sammy is a high school drop out that along with a few other pals, mainly Pauly and Pete, start pulling off petty thefts. Out of boredom and no real ambition to better themselves and get real jobs, thier crimes slowly escalate. Sammy is busted, choses the army over jail and then gets lucky with an early discharge. But, he learned nothing and his life of crime picks up where it left off.
In less than ten years, Sammy goes from petty thief to being mob connected. This story is a portrait of a criminal's life from the small time beginnings to much worse crimes and how easy it was for him to get to that point.
This novel put me in mind of some of those crime novels written back in the seventies, sort of like Lawrence Sanders. This is straightforward crime drama, but with a noir tone. An FBI agent that obesses over Sammy and his crime adds to this drama as Sammy always manages to stay one step ahead of the FBI. Will his luck run out?
This is the second book by this author I've read. I like his style of writing. The days of standard crime dramas that saw it's peak in the seventies is a form I really miss in books these days. This one is character driven. The violence isn't blown out of proportion and the dialog is believable. The life of a criminal is not in any way glamourized. There are betrayals, living on the run, losses, instablity, and not a lot of real happiness or contentment. Relationships are mostly fleeting and if one attempts a normal life, it usually is short lived.
My one complaint was that the sexual content could have been toned down a little. I read a lot of steamy novels and so it wasn't that SC is offensive, it just didn't add to the story, and for me it was a distraction. There were some relationships that were key in the book and that was fine, but there were some additional details of Sammy's sex life we could have skipped and the book would have been fine. Maybe it was just a case of too much information.
Otherwise, I would recommend this book to lovers of crime fiction especially if you like hardboiled, noir, and straightforward type crime novels.
Overall this one gets a B+

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