The Side Job by Don Lubov

The Synopsis:

This is the story of Maggie Gomez — an unwed, unskilled mother of a sickly daughter. She lives a hardscrabble life on the underside of Las Vegas. As her daughter’s health deteriorates, Maggie’s need for money for an operation skyrockets. Maggie was vulnerable and defeated early in life. Her long-suppressed strength blossoms and Maggie becomes “La Femme Nikita”. As Maggie gets more involved with her loan shark boss and his crew, her world begins to spiral out of control. Her simultaneous involvement with a gangster and the detective investigating him turns her life into a soap opera of emotions. She must figure out how to escape her under- world life, protect her daughter, and live happily ever after.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


People will do crazy things for the people they love, and mothers will do even crazier things for their kids.

In The Side Job, Maggie Gomez has a rough time with life. Her high school sweetheart dumps her the moment they graduate, implying that she was just something to keep him from being bored in high school, and then her parents kick her out when she discovers that she’s pregnant. Maggie is a sweet girl and generally liked by all who encounter her, but when her daughter–the only good thing in her life–falls desperately ill, she turns to a life of crime to save her daughter’s life.

First off, I was very fascinated with Maggie’s story but I had a slight distaste for the style. I truly wanted to see how it ended so I pushed through all the way to the end, and I have to say that there was a lot…lacking. The book is told primarily through dialogue, and emotions are oddly vacant from the majority of the story. There is little description about what the characters are doing and the plot was often times hard to follow simply from the dialogue.

The storyline was definitely interesting and though it kept me reading, I just felt like there was a key element missing and when I dwell on it, I can only think that realistic emotions and reactions would have sincerely improved the story. At the first of the book, Maggie is innocent and doing her best to love people and do good by them, but then very suddenly, just because she overhears a conversation about a “hit”, her personality completely changes instantly and she loses that love for people that she had. I found most of the characters to be like this, changing just as much as the storyline.

I wasn’t a fan of the straightforward writing this particular author uses either. It’s almost like the book was told in first person and third person all at the same time, with us reading dialogue from people speaking behind Maggie’s back (in another part of the country), to only one paragraph later be reading the story from her perspective, so it was confusing.

Overall, like I said, the story was good and well thought out, but I think some improvements in how it is presented could have increased my opinion of it. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

There is some cursing present, including some uses of the heavier curse words, several mentions of drug use, alcohol abuse, murder, and sex. However there are no gory scenes, nor are there any sex scenes (only mentions of “passionate encounters”).

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