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Wallace Stroby's unfortunately titled third novel is GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER. Unfortunate because of the Wyclef Jean song from a handful of years ago was a bit of a running joke amongst my friends. Indeed, when Mrs. Hungry Detective saw the dust jacket she separately remarked about the title choice. Now this should not matter if I am reviewing a book, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't.

My inability to act professionally aside in its own small way GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER is quite good. I say 'small way' because like much of the Crime Fiction I have read over the last 18-24 month GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER suffers from a crippling lack of gravitas.

Mr. Stroby is gifted with his characters. His twin protagonist, Sara the Deputy Sheriff and Morgan the aged Hitman make for a compelling dichotomy of conflict. Sara is a single mother with a very sick son and Morgan has cancer. Both are more than prepared to protect what is there's. Stroby never moralizes about Morgan's poor life choices and he never allows Sara to become the saintly selfless mother. They are believable, fallible, and human. By the end end you have hope for the both of them.

What works less well is the uninspired plot that involves Jersey gangsters, chasing after missing drug and gun money in Florida. Although it is more apt to call GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER a thriller, the central mystery never takes off. The action is rote, and the final showdown never engages or surprises.

I feel a lot of authors have been drinking the 'Character is King' Flavor-Aid as of late. And with that in mind GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER is lovely and heartbreaking at times. It is just too bad that these characters are stuck in a story that goes nowhere.


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