Safe
"Set in LA against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crash, this is the story of Rudy Reyes (a.k.a. Glasses), a gangster-turned-double-agent who wants out of the high-stakes high-risk criminal life, and Ricky Mendoza, Junior (a.k.a. Ghost), a DEA safe-cracker with terminal cancer who’s got nothing to lose. When Ghost goes rogue and steals thousands of dollars from a safe that belongs to Rooster, an LA crime lord who happens to be Glasses’ boss, he endangers a deal Glasses had with a DEA official. As Ghost sets out to steal as much money as he can get his hands on – all with the plan to give it to those hit hardest by the crash – and Rooster gets ever closer to catching him, Glasses tries desperately to keep his plans on track. Fast-paced and gritty, Safe is both a moving and human morality tale and an utterly immersive and heart-stoppingly suspenseful thriller."

Safe Details

TitleSafe
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherMCD
ISBN-139780374253370
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Safe Review

  • SarahHannah
    January 1, 1970
    This is so so good. Punchy and yet touching it tells the story of a heist in LA that unfolds over 48 hours. It's the first time in a while I've brushed a tear from my face when reading. I also ❤ the playlists I got from Rose's mix at the beginning. This is going to be a HUGE film I reckon. This is so so good. Punchy and yet touching it tells the story of a heist in LA that unfolds over 48 hours. It's the first time in a while I've brushed a tear from my face when reading. I also ❤️ the playlists I got from Rose's mix at the beginning. This is going to be a HUGE film I reckon.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Safe – A Modern Day Robin HoodSafe is the latest book from Ryan Gattis, set over 48 hours with a backdrop of the dark underbelly of Los Angeles and its drugs gangs. Gattis uses two voices to narrate the story, in the form of Ricky “Ghost” Mendoza and Rudy “Glasses” Reyes with a punk rock mixed tape giving the story an old school vibe. This old school vibe can be seen as an American version of Robin Hood, with guns, drugs, money and cancer running central to the story.Ghost is a reformed drug add Safe – A Modern Day Robin HoodSafe is the latest book from Ryan Gattis, set over 48 hours with a backdrop of the dark underbelly of Los Angeles and its drugs gangs. Gattis uses two voices to narrate the story, in the form of Ricky “Ghost” Mendoza and Rudy “Glasses” Reyes with a punk rock mixed tape giving the story an old school vibe. This old school vibe can be seen as an American version of Robin Hood, with guns, drugs, money and cancer running central to the story.Ghost is a reformed drug addict, who is now a locksmith, and safe cracker for the DEA, who when the story opens is cracking a safe of a major drug dealer for the agency. He has been left alone by the DEA agents who leave the scene as he cracks the safe, while they have gone he also removes a large amount of money, $887,000. Unfortunately, his car has been seen and the gang will be searching for him within a few hours. Glasses is sent by his boss to find the missing money and get it back, as he cannot be seen to be going weak with a sneak thief.What we get is the back story to why Ghost has taken this money, and he is not planning on keeping a penny for himself. As he drives to meet his friend who will pay off people’s mortgages for them as they are heading for trouble as the financial system is crashing. Ghost has become Robin Hood in his desire to help unfortunate people who will never know him, as he knows he is going to die, if the cancer does not get him then a bullet will.Glasses has his own private reasons for looking in to getting out of the drug trade, and he is not afraid to act covertly to further his interests. He is a husband and a father and he is getting desperate to escape the clutches of his boss and the violence of the drugs trade. He knows that leaving the gang culture and life is not easy and like a cancer will slowly kill you.Gattis’ uses vernacular language to voice the characters and gives it authenticity, and the narrative is better for it as this is a fast-moving thriller. Amidst the violence, there are touching moments of tenderness Ghost when he thinks back to Rose and Glasses when he thinks to his own family. This is a wonderful story, full of hope and tenderness, things not normally associated with a thriller, but this book is better for it. There are mutual definitions that could be used for the word safe, from where we see money and drugs, to something far deeper.Safe is a book that will live long in the memory.
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  • Michael Martz
    January 1, 1970
    'Safe' is stunningly good read, especially if you're into crime novels and don't have a problem with reading about violence. Ryan Gattis must specialize in this type of novel- 'All Involved' is likewise a gritty one with a bunch of really bad guy characters you'd avoid in real life but you can't stop reading about.I'll try to avoid spoilers here..... Safe starts off as what seems to be a pretty standard 'heist' novel but gradually morphs into something both bigger and smaller. As in 'All Involve 'Safe' is stunningly good read, especially if you're into crime novels and don't have a problem with reading about violence. Ryan Gattis must specialize in this type of novel- 'All Involved' is likewise a gritty one with a bunch of really bad guy characters you'd avoid in real life but you can't stop reading about.I'll try to avoid spoilers here..... Safe starts off as what seems to be a pretty standard 'heist' novel but gradually morphs into something both bigger and smaller. As in 'All Involved', the characters are all criminals but what separates Safe from others in the 'heist' genre is the near stream-of-consciousness you get from both of the narrators, the 'heister' and the 'guy who better find the heister'. The two narrators eventually intersect with a conclusion that to me was inevitable. Along the way, you learn backstory details in abundance that draw you into a crime story that has a surprising amount of humanity in it.Gattis writes in the voices of his narrators, poor language and grammar and all. I don't have a huge problem with that- the criminals are almost all Mexican-American and use a lot of colloquialisms that you may or may not be able to interpret. If you're looking for well constructed sentences with perfect language usage, be advised it ain't that type of book.'Safe' is going on my 'Best of 2017' shelf. It's one of the most unusual stories I've read in a long time and I highly recommend it.
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  • Leilah Skelton
    January 1, 1970
    Ryan Gattis’ All Involved was my favourite novel of 2015, so Safe had big boots to fill. That novel delivered like a gut-punch that kept me rocked back on my heels, and what impressed me most was his ability to connect me as a reader to his characters on a deeply human level. That a small-town Yorkshire girl can feel the motivations of LA's criminal class shows that Gattis digs at the very core of people. In Safe, he shows this skill again. Back in downtown LA, each of his characters is laced wi Ryan Gattis’ All Involved was my favourite novel of 2015, so Safe had big boots to fill. That novel delivered like a gut-punch that kept me rocked back on my heels, and what impressed me most was his ability to connect me as a reader to his characters on a deeply human level. That a small-town Yorkshire girl can feel the motivations of LA's criminal class shows that Gattis digs at the very core of people. In Safe, he shows this skill again. Back in downtown LA, each of his characters is laced with both sweet and salt, tender and tough. Gattis exposes something raw and fragile about us whilst hitting our senses with the blunt force of an often brutal existence. Just. Bam…The action in Safe can be measured in hours rather than days or weeks, and alternates between two characters – Ricky ‘Ghost’ Mendoza Jr. and Rudolfo ‘Glasses’ Reyes – two guys on opposing sides of an opportunistic safe heist, spinning like a tossed coin of action and consequence, where either could end up dead. Set against the backdrop of the American financial crash of 2008, I was once again left debating what constitutes good and bad, or right or wrong. Gattis has a knack for pulling back from the black and white and playing instead with all the shades in between. What’s striking about Ghost and Glasses is just how similar their motivations are, in spite of their opposing positions. Love, grief, pain, addiction, remorse, redemption. Safe has it all. There’s even a mix-tape. (And, man, if you’re going to scrape at the emotional bones of a character, you are going to need a good soundtrack, right?). Safe presses emotional bruises, and it confirms for me that Ryan Gattis is the sort of universally wise writer that I really want to share with readers. If you want a great, tense, thought-provoking thriller, this is most definitely the book for you.
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  • Renee (itsbooktalk.com)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars you can find all my reviews at www.itsbooktalk.comFor some reason I'm finding this book hard to review. On the one hand, there is so much I liked about it and up until about 60%, I felt it was ticking along quite nicely. I loved that it started off with a safecracking scene and felt that until that point I was really invested in the story. After that, however,  it started to slip for me and by the end I feel like I had disconnected from the story just a little which is very strange con 3.5 stars you can find all my reviews at www.itsbooktalk.comFor some reason I'm finding this book hard to review. On the one hand, there is so much I liked about it and up until about 60%, I felt it was ticking along quite nicely. I loved that it started off with a safecracking scene and felt that until that point I was really invested in the story. After that, however,  it started to slip for me and by the end I feel like I had disconnected from the story just a little which is very strange considering how much I started off liking it.The story starts off action packed as we are introduced to Ricky, aka Ghost, a safecracker who freelances for the DEA. He's been called to a house of the DEA's most recent drug bust and then left alone (yes alone!) to open the safe with instructions to call the DEA agent in charge after he gets it open. Here's what's so interesting about this scene....we learn from Ricky's first person narration that in his past he was an addict and criminal who did some very bad things but for the past several years he's tried to do right and now has a plan to really help some people who need it. His plan involves taking the cash in that safe and using it to help others in need.  And with this current safe, he hits the jackpot. Time is ticking though because the safe he has just cracked and the money he has stolen belongs to one of the biggest drug lords in LA and you just know things aren't going to go well when he finds out his money is gone.Here is where the story alternates narration and we then meet Rudy Reyes, aka Glasses, the top associate of the drug lord who's safe Ricky just cracked. Glasses has his own story to tell and soon a very interesting tale is weaved that will connect him and Ricky in ways that ended up being very surprising and in several instances quite suspenseful. The author's style certainly shines with his use of language and dialect for both of these characters.On paper, this is the perfect story for me and I found the author's writing to be so wonderfully authentic. The dialogue was perfect and I really felt the characters were unique and multi-dimensional. Where it started to go downhill for me is the repetitive number of times Ghost was driving in a car and playing various songs on the mix-tape that his past girlfriend, Rose (she had died), had made for him. As narrator, he would then reminesce about times together (in detail) and repeat over and over how much she meant to him. I got it, I really did but by about 65% I'd heard enough because what that effectively did was break up the pace of the story and cause me to become bored which isn't at all how I felt starting out and during the safe cracking scenes. Couple this with an ending that I just don't feel made sense for what we knew of the characters and I was left slightly disconnected.
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  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    It's quite difficult to go into any plot details without giving too much away, so I shall just skim over this. Ghost is a safecracker, working for the LAPD and FBI, a recovering addict who is about to dip into the drug money from his latest job. His motive is more akin to that of Robin Hood than that of a regular thief, and as his story is revealed we have great sympathy with him. Glasses is a member of the gang that Ghost is about to rip off. His narrative is set up as an alternative take on th It's quite difficult to go into any plot details without giving too much away, so I shall just skim over this. Ghost is a safecracker, working for the LAPD and FBI, a recovering addict who is about to dip into the drug money from his latest job. His motive is more akin to that of Robin Hood than that of a regular thief, and as his story is revealed we have great sympathy with him. Glasses is a member of the gang that Ghost is about to rip off. His narrative is set up as an alternative take on the plot of the novel, but again he is not as straightforward as he first appears, and is in the process of instigating a similarly personally endangering series of actions. Ryan Gattis's previous book, 'All Involved', was a favourite read of mine from last year, unlike anything I had read before. 'Safe' is similarly compelling, but where the former book was shocking in its brutality, language and violence, this one tones down a lot of the harshness in favour of the story of people trying to escape from their circumstances. 'All Involved' was in part about letting situations get out of control, whereas 'Safe' is about trying to regain control over one's life. Set directly following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the resulting financial crisis, the idea of financial security is uppermost in Ghost's mind. There is indeed something almost prescient in his worrying about the future (which we know with hindsight is justified), and it is this that vindicates his choices as much as anything else.It's difficult to shelve books that are much more than they appear to be. This is not a crime book as such, although there is plenty of criminal activity in it; it is not a thriller, although it is edge of the seat thrilling; it is both of these and it is also a very human drama. Of course it is way out of my life experience, but the characters' hopes and desires are not so different to anyone else's - being safe and providing safety for your loved ones. A humane and intense book.
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  • Ross Cumming
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan Gattis's previous novel 'All Involved' and quite by accident found out that he had a new novel published and I knew I just had to read it sooner, rather than later.Ricky Mendoza aka 'Ghost' is a reformed drug addict and gangbanger and is now working as a safe breaker for the D.E.A., cracking safes that are found on drug busts that they can't open. Although reformed, Ricky still likes to take from the safes, especially cash, which he ferrets away before the contents of t I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan Gattis's previous novel 'All Involved' and quite by accident found out that he had a new novel published and I knew I just had to read it sooner, rather than later.Ricky Mendoza aka 'Ghost' is a reformed drug addict and gangbanger and is now working as a safe breaker for the D.E.A., cracking safes that are found on drug busts that they can't open. Although reformed, Ricky still likes to take from the safes, especially cash, which he ferrets away before the contents of the safes are inventoried by the authorities. On the latest bust however, Ricky gets more than he bargained for when he takes nearly a million dollars of drug money from the safe. Ricky also knows this will not go unnoticed and he makes plans to get out while he still can. The money however was in a drugs house run by local cartel Lieutenant, 'Rooster', and he sets his right hand man, Rudy Reyes aka 'Glasses', to find out who took the money and to track them down.The story is told 'first hand' from the points of view of both 'Ghost' and 'Glasses' in alternative chapters and you get the backstories of each of them and as the story develops it turns out that neither of them are who you initially thought they were. The story if fast moving, especially towards the climax but there are also some touching moments. This is most true of 'Ghost' as he recalls his deceased girlfriend, Rose, from whose memory he can't escape and whose mix tape is the 'soundtrack' to the novel. I found that as the book progressed it drew me further and further in and I just couldn't put it down as it raced to the denouement. A satisfying and thrilling read from Ryan Gattis, who certainly knows his way around L.A. gang culture to produce not only a gripping novel but one with a bit of heart.
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  • Stu
    January 1, 1970
    Ryan Gattis is rapidly joining the pantheon of great novelist who write about the day to day life of Los Angeles. His last book, All Involved, was a deft masterwork that tells the story of the LA Riots from many different views on the ground....His new novel, Safe, tells the story of Ghost, a former gang member gone straight who works as a safecracker for the DEA. He decides to steal a massive amount of money from a safe he opens (for completely altruistic reasons.....this takes place the weeken Ryan Gattis is rapidly joining the pantheon of great novelist who write about the day to day life of Los Angeles. His last book, All Involved, was a deft masterwork that tells the story of the LA Riots from many different views on the ground....His new novel, Safe, tells the story of Ghost, a former gang member gone straight who works as a safecracker for the DEA. He decides to steal a massive amount of money from a safe he opens (for completely altruistic reasons.....this takes place the weekend of the housing market collapse). He has personal issues, per se.....he still is in love with a dead girl, his cancer is back.The other main character is Glasses, the right hand of one of the big LA narco Kings. He cleans up messes. He also has his own secret problemsHow they interact lead to a no holds barred, roller coaster ending that is uplifting and utterly heartbreaking A massively impressive work
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  • Viva
    January 1, 1970
    2 star = it was ok by GoodRead's 5 star system. This is a neutral rating.It started off ok for me but I got irritated by the first person staccato delivery. First person narratives aren't a deal killer for me but somehow the narrators feel like they are on something. In a way, it doesn't really matter how the author gets the story across but the protagonists aren't doing a good job of it. In one sense, you can say it's realistic because I really get a feel of the narrators but I just didn't like 2 star = it was ok by GoodRead's 5 star system. This is a neutral rating.It started off ok for me but I got irritated by the first person staccato delivery. First person narratives aren't a deal killer for me but somehow the narrators feel like they are on something. In a way, it doesn't really matter how the author gets the story across but the protagonists aren't doing a good job of it. In one sense, you can say it's realistic because I really get a feel of the narrators but I just didn't like them and they both felt the same to me. If this was a real encounter, I would just nod politely as they're telling me the story, then try and get away as quickly as possible. To summarize: it's ok to get your narrator to tell the story but get them to tell the story in a fairly clear manner and not be too whiny. There is a good plot in there, but it's lost by poor delivery.I got this book as a free ARC.
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  • Eleanore
    January 1, 1970
    I don't often take chances on new contemporary fiction these days, because 95% of it just pisses me off at this point, but I had loved "All Involved" when I read it a couple years ago, so when I came across a galley of a new one by Ryan Gattis, I scooped it up immediately. It shares some stylistic qualities and conceits with the former novel, but that's a good thing when an author can work that style so well. (The prior bounces around between a much larger cast of characters, however; "Safe" sim I don't often take chances on new contemporary fiction these days, because 95% of it just pisses me off at this point, but I had loved "All Involved" when I read it a couple years ago, so when I came across a galley of a new one by Ryan Gattis, I scooped it up immediately. It shares some stylistic qualities and conceits with the former novel, but that's a good thing when an author can work that style so well. (The prior bounces around between a much larger cast of characters, however; "Safe" simply rotates back and forth between two.) Once again, LA gang culture is the setting, but later on; a couple of days in September of 2008, this time. Still excellent, just like his first novel. Highly recommended.
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  • Dan Downing
    January 1, 1970
    Billed on the cover as a 'thrilling heist novel'in a blurb by Paula Hawkins, we start out as misled as we were by her best selling book. Michael Connelly gets closer to the truth in his blurb when he calls it finely layered and full of the grit of the streets. If we believe dust jacket blurbs after age 21, we are probably in love with the QVC channel, too.What Ryan Gattis has given us is a noir story which reminds one of Andrew Vachss, for one. Gritty with little vulgarity and no sex scenes to s Billed on the cover as a 'thrilling heist novel'in a blurb by Paula Hawkins, we start out as misled as we were by her best selling book. Michael Connelly gets closer to the truth in his blurb when he calls it finely layered and full of the grit of the streets. If we believe dust jacket blurbs after age 21, we are probably in love with the QVC channel, too.What Ryan Gattis has given us is a noir story which reminds one of Andrew Vachss, for one. Gritty with little vulgarity and no sex scenes to speak of, spiced with a few safe popping scenes, although no central heist, we follow two protagonists seeking a way out of the narcotics game. The plot will grab you, and the story will carry you along: Gattis delivers. What more can one ask?Recommended.
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  • Lynn Keith
    January 1, 1970
    Another SurpriseThis is the second book in a row I have read that has been a complete surprise. You know it's great when you're having trouble reading the last fifty pages through tears. This was a thriller and a heist story, but it was also a story about the deeply personal struggles of two strong young men with serious problems. One is a safecracker who had survived cancer only to have it recur. The other is a mob under-boss with a damaged eye. The two men act in opposition to eachother. Their Another SurpriseThis is the second book in a row I have read that has been a complete surprise. You know it's great when you're having trouble reading the last fifty pages through tears. This was a thriller and a heist story, but it was also a story about the deeply personal struggles of two strong young men with serious problems. One is a safecracker who had survived cancer only to have it recur. The other is a mob under-boss with a damaged eye. The two men act in opposition to eachother. Their histories, motivations and maneuvers make this book fascinating. Read it!
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this! Writing was great and really enjoyed how music was incorporated into the story. A fast paced read with a kick ass mix tape. Anyone looking for a thriller with realistic characters and a hint of punk rock should check this one out. Will be checking out more of Ryan's work for sure!
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  • Oryx
    January 1, 1970
    Different to 'AI' but still great. Cinematic and character driven. 4.01
  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    slow in the middle but great ending. interesting to read about changing gang tactics and lifestyles---everything I know about gangs I learned from the movie Colors, lol.
  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Literate, violent, tense, and full bodied, this crime novel heralds the arrival of a top new crime writer working the Southern California beta. Highly recommended.
  • Echrada
    January 1, 1970
    Did not finish this book, not something I normally do but I could not waste my time on this book when there are so many good ones waiting.
  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I highly recommend this book to readers interested in experiencing feelings of empathy for characters, while remaining on the edge of your seat rooting for the “good guys.”  This book makes you realize we are deeper than our past and people we run with.  It’s ultimately a story best described as a “ghetto robin hood.”  A brilliant safecracker you can’t help but feel for.  https://fortheloveofthepageblog.wordp...
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  • Ann Theis
    January 1, 1970
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