JoeyPinkney.com Book Review
by Tony Moda
4 of 5 Stars
If there is a moral to Tony Moda’s Take Money, it’s “get rich, or die trying” – a proverb in recent years made famous by 50 Cent. Take Money moves like a well-orchestrated composition. You have hit men, military-grade guns, couture fashion, beautiful women and tons of action. From Cleveland to Kentucky to Miami, Take Money has enough conflict to keep you flipping through the pages wondering what will be next.
Ducci and Young Curtis are two Ohio players who rob banks as a means to an end: to get money. On the streets, they are “take money boys” in terms of their profession. Although they have distinctly different personalities, they are highly proficient at what has become their trade. Young Curtis is young, fly and flashy – the type to go out-of-town and have his car dropped off in the middle of the street in front of the club he’s stunting in at three in the morning. Ducci is the type to take care of his girlfriend and her young son in another state while he does his dirt. Together, it’s mayhem.
Take Money has another two-man team also based in Cleveland. The Sparks Brothers are low-key killers that have the perfect arrangement with a big-time drug dealer from Detroit who goes by the name of Charm. Charm tells them who to get, Ahmed and Asad executes the plan and keeps all the profit. In return, Charm’s competition is eliminated with minimum effort on his part.
Tony Moda did a great job of giving the different characters their own flare. No two characters overlapped in personality, speech patterns, or accessories. For instance, Young Curtis’ disdain for respecting women and his sense of humor provided some of the funniest one-liners in the entire book. Another example would be the Sparks Brothers strict adherence to disciplined speech and behavior patterns. It stood out profoundly whenever they broke that mode. Each person existed in their own lane, and this made for some interesting interactions between the various characters in Take Money.
The whole Spark family is not to be messed with. In particular, Ahmed and Asad Sparks are silent killers like cancer – the just kill quicker by the time they are detected. Moda depicts this unit as almost inseparable. They live together, often speak for each other and towards the middle of the novel even you will feel a little tense if one is without the other. I enjoyed this.
Moda made the lifestyle presented in Take Money extremely believable. It wasn’t all about flashy cars and high fashion. This book was infused with a healthy dose of how living an illegal life affects, and sometime doesn’t, affect family members. Moda did not use random killing sprees as the crutch by which Take Money moved forward. Instead, he let the characters love, laugh, lust and languish as well as load up the guns and let the bullets fly.
What did I like about Take Money? I also like how Moda used Tyrone “Fly Ty” Sparks to bridge the gap between Ducci/Young Curtis and Ahmed/Asad. Fly Ty was the Sparks Brothers’ younger cousin. When drugs came along with the money, the Sparks Brothers gave Fly Ty the drugs to flip. Fly Ty and Young Curtis, being around the same age, were best friends outside of the brotherhood Young Curtis had with Ducci. Fly Ty was the perfect mix between the discipline of his cousins and the flashiness of his good friend.
I also liked the realism of the book. Everything made sense. There were a few times when I predicted what came up later in the story, but I was pleasantly surprised that those things did not happen for the reasons I speculated. Instead of crying foul, I found myself saying, “Oh, that’s how you can do that.” From assassinations to disposal of the body to hiding money and drugs, Moda leaves no stone unturned. He does not outright explain everything, but he leaves enough clues in the dialogue and actions that you do not feel cheated.
What did I not like about Take Money? My only gripe about the version of Take Money I read was the editing. This book was definitely edited, but there were still a few more editing missteps than I could feel comfortable with. Take Money was such a good read to me that the errors did not slow me down. They were noticeable.
If you like Urban Fiction with multi-layered characters, Tony Moda’s Take Money is for you. This book isn’t about preaching and teaching morals, it is about escaping within the pages to a world where at any given moment, the life you save may be your own.
To read JoeyPinkney.com’s 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Tony Moda, author of Take Money, click here.