Reviews > Published on February 13th, 2017

Bookshots: "The Dime" by Kathleen Kent

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


The Dime

Who wrote it?

Kathleen Kent, award-winning author of historical fiction novels, The Outcasts and The Heretic’s Daughter.

Plot in a box:

The first chapter of "The Dime" is some of the most intense crime fiction I’ve ever read. Kent understands how to open up a book.

A New York-raised detective struggles to adjust in Dallas as she investigates a strange narcotics case spiraling further out of control every day.

Invent a new title for this book:

Turf Wars

Read this if you like(d):

Don Winslow and Richard Price

Meet the book’s lead(s):

Betty Rhyzyk, a detective born and raised in New York who moves to Texas. She’s tough as nails and takes no shit from anybody, which comes in handy considering a good majority of Texans aren’t particularly kind to gay people, which Betty happens to be.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Betty - Amy Ryan (The Wire, The Office, Gone Baby Gone)

Setting: Would you want to live there?

When I took a Greyhound from Indiana to San Antonio at age 18, I spent several hours at a Dallas bus station in the middle of the night as I waited for my next bus. It smelled like piss and everybody wanted to use my laptop and I was convinced I would be stabbed at any moment. I’ll always associate Dallas with that night. So no. Dallas can go to hell.

What was your favorite sentence?

“Riz, this is just so Texas. Plenty of paper making it legal to shoot someone, but not a permit in sight to legally rub one down.”

The Verdict:

When I first read up on Kathleen Kent, I admit I was hesitant to try out The Dime. Kent is mostly known for historical fiction, but The Dime was advertised as hardboiled crime. So yeah. I didn’t have the most confidence going in. But I can say this: within the first page, Kent had me sold. The first chapter of The Dime is some of the most intense crime fiction I’ve ever read. Kent understands how to open up a book. How to immediately command control of her readers’ attention.

After chapter one, however, I’m afraid things take a mind-numbing halt, and the story takes a very long detour before picking back up again. There are many instances throughout The Dime where Kent loses her momentum and the story drags, but when she regains her confidence and steps on the gas pedal, things really start to fly.

If depicted correctly, the setting of a book can be just as big of a character as its people, and in The Dime Kent successfully portrays the city of Dallas, Texas in such a way that the reader truly feels for it. I admire the little Texas-oriented details Kent sprinkled through the novel and I’m sure other Texans will also appreciate them. Wait. Did I just call myself a Texan? Gross. I’ve only been in the state five years now, but still. Gross.

If you dig intense crime thrillers with unpredictable twists and witty dialogue, I highly recommend you pick this one up. I enjoyed it for the most part. I just would have maybe preferred less drawn out scenes in police stations consisting of story-board dialogue. I feel at times Kent maybe treated her readers like they were a little too stupid to pick up on plot points. Have more faith in your readers. You will be surprised with how well they can follow along.

Get The Dime on Bookshop or Amazon

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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