Francis Hoyt, arrogant, athletic, brilliant, manipulative and ruthless, is a master burglar. He specializes in stealing high-end silver, breaking into homes that seem impenetrable. He’s never been caught in the act, although he has spent some time in prison on a related charge, time he used to hone his craft and make valuable connections. (Hoyt is based on two real-life master burglars: the so-called Dinnertime Bandit, who only stole when his victims were home, and The Silver Thief, who was only interested in high-end silver). Hoyt follows the money. In the winter, he works down south, primarily in southern Florida and Georgia, around the Atlanta area. Summers, he moves back up north, where he plies his trade in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
One day, Charlie Floyd, brilliant, stubborn, an experienced investigator, who has recently retired from his job with the attorney general’s department for the state of Connecticut, receives a phone call from Manny Perez, a Cuban-American Miami police detective. Perez, who’s worked with Floyd previously, wants to enlist the former investigator in his efforts to put an end to Francis Hoyt’s criminal career. Floyd accepts the offer and they team up to bring Hoyt to justice.
Told in alternating chapters representing Hoyt’s, Floyd’s and Perez’s points-of-view, the story develops into a contest between the two lawmen and this master burglar. As Floyd and Perez get closer to their prey, Hoyt finds out they’re after him and rather than backing down, he taunts them, daring them to bring him in. The stakes get higher and higher, and Hoyt, who is always concerned about proving he’s the best at what he does, even resorts to murder. Eventually, the story climaxes in a confrontation between the three men.
Praise for SECOND STORY MAN:
“Second Story Man is a down and dirty game of cat and mouse, only this time there are two cats and the mouse hasn’t yet seen the trap that can touch him. Are two cats better than one? Read it and see.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break
“Salzberg is a superb wordsmith, with an honest ear for dialogue, and a delight in plot twists. If you’re not already a Salzberg fan, read this book; you will become one.” —Michael Sears, Edgar Award nominee and Shamus Award winner for Black Fridays
“With Second Story Man, Charles Salzberg works his magic on the old cat-and-mouse game: he adds an extra cat, a (Michael J) foxy mouse, and a mousetrap you won’t see coming until it snaps shut.” —Tim O’Mara, Barry Award-nominated author of the Raymond Donne mysteries
“Traversing my old stomping grounds, from Connecticut to South Beach, I loved the local touches and flavors. But what hit me hardest is how much this plays like a re-envisioned Michael Mann’s Heat. The terse dialogue, two men on opposite sides of the law but oh-so-much alike, the chess match. I would’ve liked to see that movie.”—Joe Clifford, author of the Jay Porter thriller series
“Terrific. And the riveting Second Story Man is also a master class in voice and dialogue and storytelling. This caper about three men—two cops and a burglar—reinventing themselves for the second stories of their lives is unique, textured and even hilarious. Charles Salzberg has perfected the existential crime novel—and this one will break your heart.” —Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author
“Charlie Floyd and Manny Perez are a new and most welcome team on the investigative scene. Now that they’ve dispensed with master burglar Francis Hoyt—or have they?—I’m expecting, and looking forward to, more of their unique take on how to bring down evil-doers.” —SJ Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author of Ghost Hero
This middling crime novel from Salzberg (Devil in the Hole) pits master thief Francis Hoyt against retired Connecticut chief investigator Charlie Floyd and Miami, Fla., detective Manny Perez. The three share narrative duties. After trying and failing to catch his "white whale" at a rundown West Hollywood motel, Perez, who knows and admires Floyd, asks his help in trapping Hoyt. Perez believes that Hoyt is heading for the Northeast, his home turf, to target the homes of rich people. Hoyt, confident and brazen, makes burglary sound easy. Floyd and Perez use a combination of experience and dedication to uncover clues to Hoyt's whereabouts. When Hoyt becomes aware he's being hunted, the action picks up. Salzberg imbues each of his main characters with a distinctive voice, but he fails to build much suspense along the way to the lackluster conclusion.