Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: At Their Own Game by Frank Zafiro

At Their Own Game
By Frank Zafiro
Publisher: Frank Scalise
Published: Jan. 31, 2014
ASIN: B00I6I7ALU

Amazon Synopsis:

Jake Stankovic has been flying below the radar for years, dealing safely in stolen property crime with his two-man crew. But times are tough, so he decides to step up to the big money with a drug deal. Everything that can go wrong, does. The deal goes bad, a vengeful detective sets his sights on Jake, one of his crew might be a turncoat, and a woman from a long past affair suddenly reappears. All of this would be complicated enough on its own, but for Jake, it's even worse. 

The woman is the detective's ex-wife. 

And Jake Stankovic used to be a cop. 


Now Jake must face new problems and old vendettas in an all-in proposition with lives on the line. He has to find a way to get his money back, keep the girl, and beat everyone involved...At Their Own Game.

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My Thoughts:

At Their Own Game was a different take on a detective novel. The protagonist this time is Jake Stankovic, who used to be a police officer until he was ousted from the police force by another officer with a vendetta against him for sleeping with his wife.

Now Jake is a property crime thief, considering stepping up his business into drugs. But he considers himself “one of the good guys”. The good guys don’t deal in drugs. They don’t murder. But this deal goes sour and Jake loses all his money. To make matters worse, that detective that had a vendetta against him is back on his tail.

In a miracle moment a woman from his past walks back into his past and presents him an offer he can’t refuse whereupon everything starts to fall apart.

I found the plot complicated, yet plausible. The author did a good job with the character development and the plot twists. I never suspected that the protagonist would do what he did, but perhaps that’s just my na├»ve belief in people.

The pace of At Their Own Game was excellent. It moved along quite nicely and had a fair amount of action. It did not lag at all. The dialogue was natural and smooth.

There was a lot of foul language in this book, so if that offends you, I would suggest you give this book a pass, otherwise, the plot and storyline are very interesting and will hold your attention if you enjoy the suspense genre.

I rated this novel at 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a crime and suspense fan, I think you’ll enjoy this different approach to the genre.


Thank you to the author who provided a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Frank served in the U.S. Army from 1986-91 in Military Intelligence as a Czechoslovak linguist. In 1993, he became a police officer. During his career, he worked as a patrol officer, corporal, and detective. In 2002, he became a sergeant and entered into leadership roles. He was fortunate enough to command patrol officers, investigators, K-9 officers (and their dogs!), and the SWAT team. Frank retired from law enforcement in 2013 as a captain. Since then, he has taught law enforcement subject matter at community college, university, and as an independent consultant. He also teaches a series of writing workshops.

Frank began writing seriously at about thirteen. In 1995, he started the first draft of "Under A Raging Moon," which would become the first book in the River City series of crime fiction.

Since then, Frank has completed a number of novels set in River City, a fictional version of Spokane, Washington. The River City series is published in paperback by Gray Dog Press and currently sits at four volumes. Other Frank Zafiro books are also set in River City, including mysteries such as "Waist Deep" and "Lovely, Dark, and Deep", starring Stefan Kopriva, and "Some Degree of Murder", written with Colin Conway. Other novels are set in Spokane proper, such as "The Last Horseman" and "At Their Own Game", or elsewhere, such as the Chicago setting for "Blood on Blood", written with Jim Wilsky.

Frank has been rated the #1 author for police procedurals on Amazon, and remains one of the top ranked authors in that Amazon category. Frank's books are available in all formats -- paperback, ebook, and audio book.

In addition to novels, dozens of Franks' short stories have been published in magazines (print or online) and numerous anthologies.

Frank also write mainstream fiction under his real name, Frank Scalise, including his hockey novel "All That Counts" (Gray Dog Press,February 2010) and a children's series about Sam the Hockey Player, which began with the middle grade title "The Hardest Hit."

Frank resides near Spokane, Washington, with his wife and son. He is an avid hockey fan, reader, movie lover, and a tortured guitarist.

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