Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Adam Murray and his castmates had just finished their nightly performance in a play in Denver. Now it was time for some food, some drink and relaxation. Then he sees someone unexpected, someone he hasn’t seen for over 20 years. The only man he has ever loved…Craig Byrnes, thief, and recently released from prison after serving time for robbery.
Craig headed out to Denver as soon as he was released. He is a man with a plan. But things start to go wrong almost immediately. Craig’s mentor and friend is killed and it looks like the killers are after Craig. Then he runs into the one man he never stopped loving, Adam Murray. He followed Adam’s career in prison but is surprised to see him again in that small bar.
Their meeting reignites old feelings, ones that never really died. But trouble is on their heels and their lives are in danger. The smart thing to do would be to walk away from each other. Will they part again for the final time or find a way to safety and a future they always wanted?
The Actor and the Thief is a short, lively, and suspenseful romance by Edward Kendrick. There were so many elements to this story that I enjoyed, starting with the fact that its main characters were older, seasoned by their life experiences and yet still hopeful enough to reach out for future with the person they loved. Kendrick’s characters make this story. He has given each man enough layers and texturing to bring them to life, grounding them and their life choices in the real world. We believe in them because the author has done his job well.
Craig is an unrepentant thief, good at his job and tough enough to endure prison and emerge relatively unscathed by the experience. Craig slid into a life of a criminal early on and found he liked the easy money and he was good at being a burglar. His only regret was that his profession cost him Adam Murray, the man he loved. You kind of have to love someone who is not going to apologize for his choices, to use that old phrase….Craig “is who he is”. Unfortunately for him the past does have a way of catching up and it has for Craig in the plot.
Adam Murray is a lovely character. Clearly the author has pulled from his own experiences in the theatre to create Adam Murray so authentically as an older actor at the zenith of his career. He has played all the roles and now is aging out of the new plays and roles being written. It’s an ironically wry outlook leaving Murray rueful and yet grateful for the career he has had. He is also at the point in his life that he is evaluating his next step and looking towards retirement. And at that moment, his past arrives in the form of his only real love, thief Craig Byrnes.
Kendrick’s plot includes some very nasty killers and the requisite buildup of suspense as all the characters head towards the climax of the story. I love this aspect of the story where the hunted and the hunters pursue and are pursued in equal measure. My interest was riveted to the scheming and action involved and my emotions engaged by the characters and their attempts to outsmart the killers and stay alive.
My only issues with this story is the lack of back history of Craig and Adam’s part and their relationship. We are given only a small amount of knowledge of their past together as well as the fact that neither man ever got over the other. But to deepen their relationship for the reader and make us really believe in this enduring love, we needed more of them in the past and we don’t get it.
What we do get is two chapters that move the story forward in time at the end. The actors and the readers are rewarded with an ending guaranteed to bring satisfaction and happiness all around.
Looking for a great little romance featuring older main characters and a happily ever after? The Actor and the Thief is the story for you. Pick it up and enjoy.
Cover art by Wilde City Press. I have to admit that I found this cover off putting. Both the models and the split cover design just don’t work for me.
ebook, 85 pages
Buy links Wilde City Press,
Kindle Edition, 85 pages
Published December 12th 2013 by Wilde City Press (first published November 20th 2013)