Every now and then I read a book that doesn't have ninjas, or rampaging dinosaurs, or bold brutal men of action. Mostly I find the book lacking, and then there are rare occasions when I am surprised as when I read Janey Mack's Time's Up.
The police academy gave her the boot—and she knows how to use it.
All her life, Maisie McGrane dreamed of following in her father and older brothers’ footsteps and joining the force. But when she’s expelled from the police academy, she’s reduced to taking a job as a meter maid. Now, instead of chasing down perps, she’s booting people’s cars and taking abuse from every lowlife who can’t scrape together enough change to feed the meter.
McGranes weren’t put on this earth to quit, however. When Maisie stumbles across the body of a City Hall staffer with two bullets in his chest, her badge-wielding brothers try to warn her off the case. But with the help of her secret crush, shadowy ex-Army Ranger Hank Bannon, Maisie’s determined to follow the trail of conspiracy no matter where it leads. And that could put her in the crosshairs of a killer—and all she’s packing is a ticket gun.
My abs were screaming. Sweat slicking between my shoulder blades, I ignored the rhythmic grunts next to me.
Gut it out. Hank’s voice echoed in my head.
Gut it out! Gut it out! Gut it…
“Time!” the PT sergeant yelled.
“Holy shit, that’s gotta be a record,” my counter said.
I lay prone on the mat, abs twitching like an epileptic at a rave from ninety-one sit-ups in two minutes. Fair to middling for an Army Ranger. But for me, a first in my class and complete and total victory over jerked Tommy Narkinney.
Tucking my knees to my chest, I rolled up onto my shoulders and bucked to my feet Jackie Chan-style. Digging deep not to drop my head past my knees and suck air.
Hank’s Law Number Five: Make it look easy.
I called over to Tommy. “How many, Nark?”
He sat on the ground, forehead on his knees, breathing heavy, straw colored hair damp with sweat. “Eighty-eight.”
“Yeah?” I said. “Good job.”
Tommy frowned in suspicion. “And you?”
“Ninety-one.” I raised my arms over my head, easing the fire at my sides.
He rolled his eyes and flopped back onto the ground. “Fuck me.”
“McGrane!” the sergeant shouted with a former Marine’s perfect enunciation and eardrum-blowing volume. “Quit picking around. Resor wants you.”
And I knew why. I was finally going to join the ranks of Flynn, Rory, and Cash McGrane. Just as my older brothers had all been awarded Top Cadet, so would I.
It took every ounce of cool I had not to skip like a little girl out of the gym.
I trotted up the stairs to Reskor’s office and rapped on the thick, oak-paneled door.
Polished wood floors, Oriental rugs, leather chairs–it looks more like the office of a Fortune 500 CEO than the commandant of the Chicago Police Academy.
Hank’s Law Number Eleven: Heavy hitters don’t advertise.
I stood at full attention in front of Reskor’s desk, staring blankly over the top of his balding pate.
“Miss McGrane. Please take a seat.”
Adrenaline pulsed double-time through my veins. “No thank you, sir.”
“Sit.” Resor pointed at the chair.
He opened a manila folder on his desk, M. McGrane typed neatly across the tab. “Let’s see… ninety-eight percent on the written exam. Scored ‘expert’ on the shooting range, and a first in PT, as well.”
My knee started bouncing. I leaned forward, pressing it still with the heel of my hand.
“But I regret to inform you that you failed the psych review.”
“Huh?” “Failed the psych review” didn’t sound anything like “Congratulations, Top Cadet.” “I’m sorry… What did you say?”
Reskor closed the manila file. “You failed.”
The sweat on my forehead had dried to salt. I ran a hand over my gritty face. “There must be some mistake, sir.” The room began to warp at the corners. “On what grounds?”
“As you know, failure on any exam results in immediate dismissal from the cadet program.”
This can’t be happening.
“Please sir, on what grounds?”
He pressed the tips of his fingers together and gave it to me, right between the eyes. “The testing revealed you have an almost pathological need to be liked. The consensus of the peer review is that you are too thin-skinned to deal with the daily barrage of public hostility and unfriendly situations that a police officer encounters.”
A pathological need to be liked? Me?
I realized I was rocking back and forth in the chair and got to my feet. “Sir, may I reapply, sir?”
“In a year, you may.” His breath huffed out in a little sigh. “Reinstatement at that Academy is extremely rare. I see little point unless you can provide empirical evidence at that time to disprove the diagnosis.” Reskor rose and held out his hand. “Not everyone is meant to be a police officer, Maisie.”
And like some idiot robot, I shook it. “Sir, yes sir.”
News of my disgrace traveled fast.
Tommy Narkinney was waiting for me in the hallway. “Tough bounce, kitty puncher.”
Before I had time to tell him what a jackass he was, two academy instructors, one male and one female, escorted me to my dorm room. They watched me pack my gear and walked me out to my car in the parking lot.
What the fuck?
I sat in my Honda accord and tried to remember how to start it, jumping when the female instructor knocked on the window. I turned the key partway and fumbled of the electric window switch.
“Hey.” She gave me a sympathetic frown-smile and said in a chipper voice, “Is there someone I can call for you?”
Jesus Criminy. My family.
“No, I’m fine. Really. Thanks.” I zipped up the window and turned the key fully in the ignition.
Three miles later I pulled into a 7-Eleven, got out of the car, and threw up.
Janey Mack grew up always wanting to be a cop but her dad wouldn’t let her so she did the next best thing. She created Maisie McGrane, who gets to do everything Janey can’t.
Janey lives with her husband and children in Arizona, within driving distance of her brothers.
Maisie McGrane is a smart and scrappy young woman from a tight-knit, Irish-Catholic cop family. The only girl with five older brothers, her dream is to become a Chicago police officer.
Crushed when she’s expelled from the Police Academy, Maisie’s determined to fight her way onto the force, no matter what it takes.
What is their secret strengths/ weaknesses
Maisie’s greatest strengths are her love of family and desire to succeed, which is also her greatest weakness.
Driven by a sense of duty and the desire to “pull her own weight” within the clan, she strives to prove herself as ‘one of the boys’ to the men in her life. Maisie weakness is her inability to grasp that she’s always had and always will have their acceptance.
My book is chock full of pop-culture references. I don’t even know where to begin listing them.
This is true, poor Steven Segal.
I wanted to write a book that made people laugh, made them happier having read it. My favorite writers—Chandler, Dahl, Francis, Hammett, Harris—always make me feel better when I read one of their books. That’s my desire—to provide an escape. Well, that and getting on the shelves of Target.
Time’s Up started when I tried to think about what the worst job a person desperate to become a police officer could have, meter maid topped the list.
Maisie won’t be a ‘one-trick-pony’. She’ll evolve as a person as well as within her career path, mostly learning from her mistakes.
She’s working undercover–and she’s in way over her head.
Scrappy Traffic Enforcement agent Maisie McGrane has finally landed her dream job as a Chicago police officer. There’s just one catch. She must remain undercover as a meter maid to gather evidence against Stannislav Renko, a charismatic Serbian mobster running a brutal multi-million dollar mobile chop-shop operation.
When Maisie is targeted by a killer who leaves a body slumped against her car, Renko comes to her rescue and takes her under his wing. From her perch inside the crime boss’s inner circle, Maisie sets up a daring sting operation to take down Renko once and for all. But can she pull it off before her family of overprotective Irish cops and her sexy ex-Army Ranger boyfriend blow her cover?
When will it be available?
December 29, 2015
Giveaways to people of your choosing:
Leave a comment in the comments section and I will have Janey send one of you a signed copy of Time’s Up. For Free.
Fun. That's what Time's Up is, it's fun. Pure simple enjoyment in literary form.
This is not my usual genre, and yet I found myself truly drawn into the plot, Maisie's struggles and wonder, “Who dunnit?” To get me to not just read but thoroughly enjoy a story outside of my normal literary haunts requires great skill, and Janey Mack has it.
Strong believable characters are penned with a deft touch the kinds of characters who leap of the page. Maisie is at times smart, hardheaded, kind, stubborn, foolish, and hungry to seize her place in the world. Embroiled in family dynamics and situations, which, especially if you are a younger sibling, you will recognize and empathize with. While this maybe a story about a woman who starts off with one of the worst days of her life, the are plenty of absurd, laugh out loud moments.
In the end it was a book I enjoyed and I look forward to the next in the series when it arrives.
Next week I will show off the new cover for The Witch's Lair, still on track to drop on Valentine's day. And I'm 30k into writing on #4. More of Brothers Sebastian and Malachi along with some old friends as well as some new ones.