Today I am happy to welcome Marshall Ryan Maresca to Tenacious Reader. His latest book, Holver Alley Crew, released this past Tuesday (March 7, 2017) and is the first in a new series. I have to confess, this is probably my favorite of his books so far. And it features a fantastic heist. As part of the blog tour, Mr. Maresca was kind enough to share a blog post about heist stories (which you know we all love)!
Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!
Why We Love Heists
By Marshall Ryan Maresca
The heist story is a really strange staple of our pop cultural landscape, isn’t it? I mean, as a society, we love a story where a bunch of thieves and criminals are our heroes. Which is weird, isn’t it? Because we hardly laud such people in real life.
But in books and movies, there’s something about a good heist. We want to see a well executed plan to break into somewhere that is supposed to be secure. We want to root for the people who are stealing from someone else and thwarting the authorities. From Oceans 11 to The Lies of Locke Lamora to Six of Crows to The Fast and the Furious, we can’t get enough of bad guys doing things well.
Why is that? If you really think about it, what’s the appeal? Why do we romanticize characters in fiction that we would almost universally reject and revile in real life?
I think part of it—and I’ll acknowledge this is a bit strange, but run with me—is that we (as a society) have a respect for skill and craft. We respect clever solutions for intricate problems. And what is a heist but a set of intricate problems that must be tackled with skill, craft and clever solutions?
We love it as an intellectual exercise married to death-defying thrill. We don’t necessarily want to pull a heist, but we probably all have that little fantasy of “If I had to, how would I do it?”
The heist story also has a solid structure that we recognize: decide on a job to do; get together a team plan the job; do the job. It’s customary in the “plan the job” section to show exactly how things are supposed to go, so we have something to contrast in the “do the job” section. We love the intricate planning, and the improvisation when things go wrong.
Now, there tend to be two elements added to any heist story to make it play to your average audience. Because you can’t just have “thieves break in somewhere and steal some stuff”. That doesn’t play.
One: your thieves have to have redeeming qualities. They have to be doing what they’re doing for a just cause: even if it’s something small, like trying to save a family member. Two: their target has to “deserve” being robbed. This is crucial. You need to have a victim who makes your thieves look like heroes.
So, I’ve taken that structure, I’ve taken those elements, and I’ve swirled them together in a fantasy-gearpunk concoction called The Holver Alley Crew. It’s filled with heisty goodness, fires, knife-fights, crossbows and sewer crawls. Everything you want and more. Go get some.
Marshall Ryan Maresca
Also by this author: The Thorn of Dentonhill
Published by Daw Books on March 7th 2017
The exciting debut to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Streets of Maradaine fantasy series
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life.
Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.
Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers and their crew of amateurs and washouts swear to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.
Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.