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The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey
In The Blade Itself, Danny Carter has emerged from a troubled childhood in a tough section of Chicago to have a good job and a wonderful girlfriend. He walked away from a pawn shop robbery he committed as a youth with his friend, Evan McGann, which led to Evan shooting a man and going to prison. As Danny enjoys his new life, Evan is released from prison, stronger and even more lethal. He forces Danny to help him in his life of crime by threatening his girlfriend and his boss, and also by threatening to tell of Danny's involvement in the pawn shop robbery. Danny can't find a way out, especially as the newly planned crime begins to go very, very wrong. Marcus Sakey's debut novel has received mostly positive reviews with the San Jose Mercury News saying, "Fans of crime fiction can celebrate the new year with the debut of an astoundingly good writer, Marcus Sakey, whose first novel, The Blade Itself, is the terrifically engaging, poetically structured tale of a man both tortured and tempted by his criminal past."