The John Trinian (aka Zekial Marko) revival continues with this latest twofer from Stark House Press, The Big Grab / The Savage Breast. The author, a very proficient writer of crime novels, found success with numerous works, most notably Scratch a Thief and The Big Grab, each written in the early 1960s. Both of those crime tales became movies—the first filmed as Once a Thief, the latter as Any Number Can Win. Trinian wrote the screenplays.
When it comes to heist novels, The Big Grab is right up there with Lionel White’s best efforts. I’ve read of lot of White’s books, and he never disappoints, but the brilliance of The Big Grab surprised me. As with White, Trinian knows how to put flesh on his characters and set up a finale that will have the reader on the edge of their seat, uncertain if the ambitious crooks can pull off the daring theft. Unsurprisingly, the movie version proved equally appealing to audiences. It was a huge success, in fact.
You can get hold of this fantastic story for a modest price, thanks to Stark House. It’s packaged with The Savage Breast, written in 1961, a year after The Big Grab, and the volume also includes introductions by Brian Greene and myself. The two stories are worlds apart—one’s a heist, one’s a melodrama—but each highlight Trinian’s expertise in character development and suspenseful prose.
You can get a copy of the twofer on Amazon (here) or directly from the publisher (here). If you need further convincing, check out the Crime Time FM podcast hosted by Paul Burke. His August ’22 review show covers eleven newly published crime novels, including the John Trinian reprint. You can access it here.