Inside Jobs by Ben H. Winters
Three offbeat stories of crime and conundrum, set in the present moment, from The New York Times best-selling, Edgar Award-winning author of Underground Airlines and The Last Policeman.
Inside Jobs: Tales from a Time of Quarantine includes:
The Crimson Parrot
It’s not easy masterminding the crime of the century when your whole gang is working from home. A high-stakes tale of larceny, deception, and teleconferencing.
The Cape House
As the world shifts around them, two estranged brothers end up in their childhood home. But it’s the memories they unearth that will change them forever.
With endless time on her hands, an apartment-bound young woman gets to all the hobbies she’s neglected—martial arts, playing the sax, photography…and solving a murder?
Normally, I’m not drawn to contemporary crime stories, but this collection of short stories is part of May’s free Audible Originals, so I thought I’d give it a listen.
The stories in Inside Jobs are set during the present-day Covid-19 pandemic. The title itself alludes to crime committed by those closest to you. When this nightmare first began, I told myself I would not read fiction about Covid-19. It’s just too soon for me. How could I possibly enjoy it? I mean, I still don’t read fiction about the September 11 terrorist attacks. I doubt I ever will. But these three stories aren’t about Covid-19. Rather they are three cleverly constructed stories about people stuck at home. The pandemic acts as the reason for everyone being stuck. It worked well and didn’t cause me any stress.
The Crimson Parrot is a comical heist story. Imagine a gang of criminals attempting to commit a crime while stuck at home and via Zoom. There are arguments and misunderstandings. I laughed a lot.
The second story, The Cape House, is sad and intense. Two brothers reunite after the death of their father at their childhood home. Unfortunately one of the brothers is not mentally stable which causes further heartache. It was a depressing, but thought-provoking, story.
Stop Motion is a brilliant tale about a couple towards the end of their relationship. It had me at the edge of my seat because J.J, the ex-girlfriend, thinks she accidentally witnesses a crime. It was a charming story with very likable and relatable characters. The plot borrowed a little from the classic Hitchcock thriller, Rear Window.
What I love
I’m learning that the narrator can make or break an audiobook. Each short story in this collection has its own narrator, all three are fabulous. The voices and accents were spot on. I was never pulled out of the story, rather I was drawn in so much that I forgot about the boiling water on the stovetop.
What I don’t love
I can’t think of anything. I was really happy with this collection of short stories and I’m normally a tough customer.
What are you reading and what’s next on your TBR?