California Literary Review

Grand Theft by Timothy Watts

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May 27th, 2007 at 4:53 am

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Grand Theft
By Timothy Watts
Putnam 320 pp.
CLR Rating: ★★★★★

Teddy Clyde has got it all together. The dude’s got a brokerage business out on City Line Avenue. A closet full of expensive clothes – business suits, tennis and golf outfits – you name it. Top-of-the-line golf clubs – Pings baby! Lives nice, real nice. Who’d know the brokerage loses money? Who’d know he couldn’t golf to save his life? Who’d know he’s a car thief for Christ’s sake? Born and raised in South Philly, but I’m tellin’ ya, you’d think Main Line all the way. Not a common car thief mind you. Clyde is as good as they get. The guy’s swimming in money and has never seen the inside of a jail. You see Clyde walk up to say a Boxter, 928, Turbo Carrera, get himself into it and start the engine in less than a minute – it’s a beautiful thing. He drives off wearing one of those fancy outfits, maybe throws the golf clubs into the back for effect. Who’s gonna stop him? He looks the part. That’s all I’m sayin’. The guy’s as cool as they come.

But you can’t leave South Philly no matter how many miles you travel, or how much money you make. Long time ago, when they were just kids, Teddy slugged that moron Anthony Bonica. Anthony’s one eye was never quite right after that. Didn’t mean much to Teddy. It was just something he had to do. But trust me, Anthony never forgot it. They go their separate ways – Teddy becomes a car thief, and Anthony joins the mob. But the Philly mob’s been killing each other for so many years, an idiot like Anthony is now the number two guy behind Dominic Scarlotti. So what’s Anthony do? He whacks Dominic with the help of two Israelis who are running weapons out of Philadelphia to the Middle East and don’t like the fact that Dominic found out about it. Long story short, Anthony puts Dominic’s body into Teddy’s trunk just to mess with him, you know, cause of that eye thing and all. But he screws up. There’s something on Dominic’s body they need to get back. And the Israelis (you don’t want to mess with these guys) aren’t happy at all with the way things are going.

This book flies! I’m tellin’ ya. Crime fiction just don’t get any better. Well maybe Leonard when he’s at the top of his game, but he writes so many freakin’ books, he ain’t always at the top of his game. You know what I’m sayin’? Whadaya gonna bring me? Thompson? Parker? What’s that broad’s name…Jance? Fugedaboutit. Watts is the man. Keep writin’ bro.

  • Ann

    I thought this was a good book at first. Then half way through, I found it racist and offensive without just cause. I will never buy a book by this author again.

  • craig brown

    Tim Watts is a hack, a real phony, who grew up on the Main Line and pretends to be in the know about wiseguys. He doesn’t know shit. He should stick to writing county newsletters or something.

  • Bill Jarvik

    To: Craig Brown

    You obviously would”t know a good writer if he jumped up and bit you in the ass.

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