In The Pain of Others, Letty Dobesh is fresh out of prison and trying to work her day job as a waitress but it isn’t enough to take care of her meth habit. A habit she needs to find a way to beat if she is ever going to get her son back. Soon she is back at her old game to make ends meet; burglarizing hotel suites at the final luxury hotels in town. Only this last job is too much. She overhears a man hiring a killer to murder his wife. Now Letty has a decision. Does she just go ahead with her job and ignore what she heard or does she find a way to warn the wife. Letty’s decision changes events in ways she could never have dreamed and sends her down a path of larceny and blood with a killer she can’t get rid of.
In Sunset Key, Letty is hired to spend the night with a very rich, but convicted criminal in hopes of stealing a priceless painting. What Letty doesn’t know, until it is far too late, is that nothing is ever what it seems to be. Now Letty is in a fight for her life, stranded on an island, all alone.
In Grab, Letty is determined to leave her criminal life behind and somehow make it back to her son when she is offered one last chance, one last score. Can she and a band of mercenaries rob a Las Vegas casino? But first, to do so, they need to con a legendary con man. But who is conning who and who is stealing from who in this brilliant tale of cross and double-cross.
These three novellas by Crouch make up the entirety of the Letty Dobesh tales before she made it to television. If you have never seen the television show, you should, it really is good and like always; the book is better. Crouch has created a flawed hero in Letty that you can relate to and root for. She will make more bad decisions than good but in the end, she tries to do the right thing as she battles her demons and her addictions.
Crouch is becoming a very good crime story writer. His early work was incredibly violent, almost to the point of overwhelming the story itself. But with these latest offerings you can see his growth and his plotting. His characters are larger than life but still rooted in the alternate reality he creates for them.
Letty Dobesh is a terrific character and here is hoping that Crouch decides to write a full novel of Letty and her misadventures.