Ray and his best friend, Manny, close ever since they met in juvie almost twenty years ago, have a great scam going: With a couple of fake badges and some DEA windbreakers they found at a secondhand store, they pose as federal agents and rip off small-time drug dealers, taking their money and drugs and disappearing before anyone is the wiser. It's the perfect sting: the dealers they target are too small to look for revenge and too guilty to call the police, nobody has to die, nobody innocent gets hurt, and Ray and Manny score plenty.
But it can't last forever. Eventually, they choose the wrong mark and walk out with hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a heavy hitter, who is more than willing to kill to get his money back, is coming after them. Now Ray couldn't care less about the score. He wants out---out of the scam, out of a life he feels like he never chose. Whether the victim of his latest job---not to mention his partner---will let him is another question entirely.
Dennis Tafoya brings a rich, passionate, and accomplished new voice to the explosive story of a small-time crook with everything to lose in Dope Thief, his outstanding hardboiled debut.
Ray, the 30-year-old protagonist of Tafoya s raw and redemptive debut, is a sure bet loser. His mother s dead, his abusive father in prison. His own lengthy record includes car theft, burglary and a two-year jail stint. For the past year, Ray and his buddy Manny have been robbing dope dealers and meth labs in the Philadelphia area. Ray and Manny hit small operations disguised as DEA agents, knowing their victims can t go to the cops and don t have the resources to come after them. Inevitably, a job goes bad, resulting in gunshots and death. With too much money at stake and serious bad guys on his trail, Ray realizes that the criminal phase of his life is over. Tafoya gradually reveals pieces of Ray s past while detailing his increasingly desperate efforts to rid himself of those dogging him and threatening anyone connected to him. A boy born into the life makes a wrenching attempt to change course or die trying in a first novel that marks Tafoya as a writer to watch.