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Josh Haven - Fake Money, Blue Smoke

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In the first caper from a "promising new talent" (Publishers Weekly), a skilled counterfeiter hires a crew of career criminals to steal an artwork from a speeding train.
When former platoon sergeant Matt Kubelsky is paroled from Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institute in upstate New York, he’s surprised to find his ex-girlfriend waiting for him out in the parking lot. An ex-girlfriend he’s spent years pining for after she dumped him and stopped answering his letters. An ex-girlfriend who wonders if her apparently criminally-hardened ex-boyfriend can help her out of some extra-legal difficulty of her own.

During the years Matt was in prison, Kelly Haggerty discovered she couldn’t earn a satisfactory living as an artist, so she turned her artistic talents to counterfeiting foreign currency—and ended up embroiled in an international money laundering intrigue. Now she hopes she can get herself out of trouble with a cleverly-plotted theft and one last enormous score.

The missing ingredient is someone Kelly can trust to do the dirty work, recruiting career criminals who won’t flinch at the opportunity to make good money by whatever means necessary. And Matt is happy to oblige, as it seems like the perfect opportunity to settle the score with the men responsible for ruining his life and putting him away for a crime he didn’t commit. The heist—a horseback robbery of valuable artwork from a speeding Amtrak train—seems to be going perfectly, until one of the players starts to suspect he’s been paid in counterfeit bills…

Pulse-pounding suspense, wholly original action scenes, and enough double-crosses to leave readers reeling make this caper a must-read for fans of fast, adrenaline-fueled crime fiction. The first thriller from the author whose seafaring adventure novels are published as J.H. Gelernter, Fake Money, Blue Smoke announces an exciting new voice in the genre.

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
At the start of this exceptional heist thriller from Haven (Hold Fast as J.H. Gelernter), former army sergeant Matt Kubelsky is picked up from an upstate New York prison—where he just served five years for killing an unarmed prisoner while in the army—by his ex-girlfriend, Kelly Haggerty, who’s hoping he might know someone who can pull off a robbery for her. Kelly’s been using skills learned studying art in college to make a decent living at counterfeiting (mostly foreign currency, easily passed in New York City, where she lives), but now she wants to make a big score: paying robbers in fake cash to steal some Klimt drawings, which she can sell to a Qatari gentleman wanted by the DEA for laundering cocaine money for Hezbollah. Matt happens to know a guy from prison, Bob Wharton, who was involved in armed robberies for a neo-Nazi group, and Bob agrees to take on the theft of the Klimts. Haven stitches all this together seamlessly, and just when it seems that the story could be wrapping up, he piles on more action and twists. In addition, the various locales and the little flourishes (executioner’s scimitar, anyone?) raise this to the book equivalent of a blockbuster movie. It’s not to be missed.

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