Mike McCrary’s Steady Madness begins days if not hours after McCrary’s Steady Trouble ends. As much as I enjoyed the adrenaline-fueled the first Steady Teddy book, the second couldn’t reach the same heights. The protagonists in Steady Madness are forced to find a person who doesn’t want to be found. Not only is there lots of money on the line, but Teddy’s memories could be at risk too.
I don’t know whether I felt trapped in the denouement of Act Three of Steady Trouble or that I didn’t find the urgency of the tasks at hand as I did in the first book. McCrary still brings the action with buildings blowing up, kidnappings, and other assorted mayhem. Together the books are crazy fun but don’t spend too much time between the two.
When multiple writers you admire call out another for someone to read, one tends to listen. Eryk Pruitt, the author of What We Reckon, always speaks highly of Mike McCrary’s talent and Chris Rhatigan, who I interviewed recently, wrote an article about McCrary’s writing saying that he is “a blast to read.” So it’s no shock that McCrary’s been on my TBR for a while; I’ve purchased the paperback compendium of his Remo series, four books totaling 969 pages. (I cannot wait to read it now.) But it’s his Steady Teddy series I decided to break my McCrary cherry on.
Steady Trouble opens Teddy, or “Steady Teddy”, holding a 12-gauge shotgun and thinking about how she’s going to stay alive. We then go backward in time, only a few days ago, when Teddy’s life as a princess, a bartender, a “sex-worker scheduling, late-night gambling contests and, oh yeah, makes a few bucks off defrauding business travelers” was her normal. But how things change when Gordon sits at the bar, “orders a shot of Jameson, a Stella back, and makes a business proposition.
Mike McCrary’s Steady Trouble, the first in his Steady Teddy series, is straight-up pulp fiction filled with duffle bags full of cash, a fast car, and guns, oh, so many guns. This is crime fiction on Viagra. But McCrary doesn’t just fill us with schlock and bullets, what makes Steady Trouble better than most is Teddy, a baseball bat toting bad-ass who thought she had all the answers 24-hours ago, but now is trying to figure out her place and, of course, to remain alive.
Outside my window is nothing but beach and ocean. Plush sand and wave after wave of water. Children are playing. Beautiful people are playing.
I hate them.
I hate them for being free, for being able to have fun in the sun and for not having to carry the weight I’m hauling around. This situation locked around my neck that I’m dragging no matter where I go. Outside my window, those people, they are all weightless. All laughing and playing without carrying an ounce of my burden.
I want to play.
To be weightless.
But the only way I can do that is to keep on breathing. The only way is to stop a few other people from breathing.
If you want a few hours of mindless gunplay and great storytelling – McCrary engineers some great twists – for $2.99 (ebook) or $12.99 (paperback), this is a steal that won’t end with you getting a bullet to the head. You’ll be luckier than most who get in Teddy’s way. Mike McCrary’s Steady Trouble is an energized, violent update to the cheap dime-store paperbacks we love. As a character tells Teddy at the end of the book, “there’s a lot to unpack.” Excuse me while I pick up Steady Madness. Let the games begin.