What really stuck out in my mind more than anything else as I was reading—and even now as I sort through my thoughts as I purge my brain and write this review—was the setting. The detail and painstaking care with which Lisa Black conveyed Cleveland led me to believe she had either lived there or had done an extensive amount of research on the city. So finding out she was a Cleveland native who felt like she had been violently and dramatically uprooted and shoved in the direction of Cape Coral, FL didn’t surprise me nearly as much as it could have. If you like setting to become a minor character in your reading material, and you hold a certain place in your heart for Cleveland, then you’ll probably enjoy this one.
Whether I realized it or not—and to be perfectly honest I hadn’t given it much thought before reading TAKEOVER and writing this review—I actually hold a place in my heart for Cleveland and similar industrial cities. Growing up an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh, I had no problem taking the blue-collar mentality to heart, and I like to think I still harbor a bit of that tendency even now. And this almost sounds sacrilegious with Pittsburgh always looming on my horizon, but I actually like Cleveland, as long as it’s not the middle of winter. More so than other cities I’ve seen, there seems to be a vast and distinct contrast between the old and the new. That dichotomy has always given it a bit of a pop, and that burst of energy is felt throughout this novel, seeping through every fiber of every page.
But this novel isn’t all blue collared shirts and punch clocks, it causes serious men to face serious consequences for their actions, and the ticking clock looms like an albatross in the background, as various deadlines are put in place. And that’s where the novel strayed for me a bit, as it felt, at times, like a paint-by-the-numbers hostage situation with rising tension and violent interludes.
I ended up racing to the end of this book, not because I had to finish it, but because I needed to finish it, so I could abruptly shift my focus to the next novel looming on my Kindle. The novel felt a bit too formulaic for my tastes. Moving to the sunshine once again, there’s a linebacker crushing twist waiting for you at the end, if you stick around long enough to find it.