This collection of stories that would become the tv show starring Michelle Dockery is pretty bad. Sometimes the plotting is bad, sometimes the writing is bad, and sometimes the overall presentation of the story is bad. So the collection itself is three relatively short novellas or regular to medium length short stories that tell the story of Letty Dobesh, a professional thief (especially pickpocket) who has addiction issues (meth). In the first story she is robbing a hotel room via a master keycard when she hears about a murder for hire plot. A man is contracting a hitman to kill his wife. She’s conflicted because if she goes to the police, this could be her third strike, so to speak, but if she doesn’t she’ll feel responsible. In another story, Letty is embroiled in a white collar money-maker’s criminality and final wish. And in the third story she’s brought in to make a phone switch of criminal kingpin to help double-cross a casino heist.
So what is good about the book is the sections between the stories discussing how the stories were shifted, cut up, changed, and channeled into a tv show with a coherent character and tone. All good and interesting. I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t speak to that success.
The issue is the stories themselves. I get the impression that Blake Crouch just simply doesn’t know anything about the criminal underworld that doesn’t come out of books and tv. So his writing is over the top in the action and weirdly inauthentic in others. Having the character consciously think things like “I am addicted to Crystal Meth” feels really odd. It’s also riddled with little writerly elements that stand out. There’s no ease in these stories that you get from much more polished crime fiction.