El Paso novelist James Carlos Blake loves crime and criminals of a certain vintage, so it’s no surprise that he returns to the thirties with Handsome Harry (Morrow), historical fiction based on real-life partners-in-crime Harry Pierpont and John Dillinger. Set in Chicago and the Midwest, this lit noir imagining of a bank robber’s life told from Harry’s perspective features tough-guy talk and hard-nosed characters. And true to the record, the crooks spend more time behind bars than pulling stickups. Blake eschews flash, but his brand of gritty poesy serves well over the long haul.

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