Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: 'The Criminal Elite' by S.W. Frank

New York author S. W. Frank has had a varied career as a student in law school, working for the FDNY Emergency Medical Services, and now embraces the full time occupation of being a best selling author with some twenty eight novels published!

Frank’s novels tend to be dark but this novel, while boasting a terrifying image on the cover and a story that is steeped in darkness, opens with a moving ‘dedication’ – ‘this novel is in honor of the migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker, creative and hard-working people whose contributions boost economies. And most importantly, to the good people around the world that continue to seek opportunity, fleeing poverty, corruption and war, dying in the pursuit to live peaceably and without fear. May the merciful hand of brave nations hear the desperate cries of children, mothers and fathers. Compassion and humane treatment, regardless of color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or lack of wealth represents nations in accord with a greater humanity.’

The writing style matches the subject material while opening possibilities for multiple interpretations of the vision of the story. How more plain can a direction seem than with the following opening? ‘No good deed goes unpunished, Cole Eniton Lazarus reflected while he waited in the bathroom for the drop. He had stayed inside a stall for close to an hour, pretending to use the commode. Cole figured if that statement was true, then he should not be stuck in a urinal, inhaling human fumes as a penalty for his bad deeds.’

Cole Eniton Lazarus is one finely sculpted character – an assassin whose manner of living betrays the soul inside. Frank shows the shift of the direction in is synopsis: ‘"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" This is the sonnet, Mia Sandra Garcia Suarez recites to the man she loves while gazing upon New York's harbor. She foresees fascism rising, led by the bigot running for office that framed her brother. Cole Eniton Lazarus cares deeply for the migrant, Mia but he's a hardened loner. He's grown up without money or adequate healthcare. He's associated money with premium treatment. Cole's a capitalist and stays out of politics. However, he'll cross paths with a criminal elitist more ruthless than an assassin in love.’ What a post! And that is only a hint at the quality of dark adventure mixed with a healthy dose of romance. S.W. Frank has this style polished to a fare-thee-well. Grady Harp, February 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.