Nobility (The Fast and The Furies: Suspense) by Reb MacRath

Each standalone book in this series will take you to a grave new world where those who’ve played fast with their lives or the law are on the run from karma. Breakneck thrills, hairpin turns and forces hellbent on collecting await. Only the noblest souls will survive.



Snakes in the Grass on a Train 
In Nobility, one broken man battles a brutal gang of pickpockets on board the Amtrak Crescent train with some help from a girl who’s no angel–not yet. Hitchcock meets Tarantino in a tale of courage that fuses suspense, romance and retribution. The novel was inspired by an old James Coburn film called Harry In Your Pocket. And Reb’s meticulous research into the light-fingered art will leave readers wondering what’s still in their wallets and where their wallets are. Before long, they’ll wonder too who gets off the train alive. 

Like the other series entries, Nobility weighs in at 35,000 words–a bit shorter in length than readers may expect. But the books are in fact novels, not long short stories or novellas, just as the following titles are all sold as novels though under 50,000 words: The Old Man and the Sea, The Pearl, Of Mice and Men,The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… 


–Most of the reviewers singled out the chapter called Palindrome Fever, wherein the train goes crazy with palindromes appearing every which-way. But the structure of the book is another palindrome, with four sections–A, B, B, A: the two A’s are of equal length, as are the two B’s. And, if you like this sort of thing: the first and last words of each part are colors. We begin with black, progressing to the rainbow of colors that closes the book.

–The pickpockets use the names of Roman gods in this story. Thieves have already used colors twice: in The taking of Pelham 123 and Reservoir Dogs. Days of the week or numbers would be too tough for readers to keep straight. Plus, this gang is arrogant–and tonight they feel like gods.

–Nobility exemplifies Reb’s Big Five narrative goals: to thrill, delight, astonish, move and inspire.


5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Caper Worthy Of O’Henry! September 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
When a ruthless gang of pickpockets invades a “party” train in Atlanta, they intend to strip unwary passengers of valuables on Christmas Eve. The thieves assume the names of Roman gods but nothing about them is noble. Their well-oiled strategy proceeded according to plan until an unlikely hero disrupts their well-tuned timing. Is he a rival thief, an undercover cop, or just a hapless traveler? The gang is determined to turn “The Joker” into a victim before the night ends.Ray is a sharp-eyed observer who notices the gang, but he does not care about their crimes. In fact Ray cares about nothing. He’s got his own careful plan for the evening and does not mean to survive past midnight–until he meets an “angel.” Enthralled by the beautiful enigma, who he believes is another member of the gang, he’s willing to let her strip him of riches and leave him cold and dead. Misty Love sees nobility in this broken man and can’t fail another assignment.

This excellent tale incorporates the miracle of “A Wonderful Life,” the clever thievery of “The Sting” and the romance of “Water For Elephants.” The author expertly weaves a complicated story line, spiced with outlandish characters, into a fast-pace plot. The characters become sympathetic or despicable as the reader learns their histories. We yearn for success or failure, befitting the nature of the persona, as danger looms.

It’s a bitter-sweet Christmas tale worthy of O’Henry but the events might have transpired on any festive weekend. Don’t sell this book short because it’s a novella. The story is jam packed with action, pathos, and intrigue–enough to keep the reader on edge until the very end.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and surreal March 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this one. The shady surreal passage of the book mirrored the dark passage of the train itself loaded with thieves and a troubled man who stalked them. the variety in the language and the edgy dark nature of the writers style…pull all of it together and it is a marvellous story.
if i could say anything to someone looking at this book i would say ignore whatever genre it happens to be in when you look at the categories. It is, as i said, edgy but it entwines a flavour of mythology with suspense, possibly even a bit of a romantic twist with that kind of old time heroism. it begins with the train full of characters operating as pick pockets and the whole atmosphere comes across as so dark yet bleak, as does the tale of the hero.
if i could sum the writing up in a word it would be ‘intelligent.’ And i will leave it at that
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nobility ranks right up there with Oh Brother Where Art Thou, a rendition of Homer’s Odyssey also set in the South. In this fine novel, we find a pantheon of Roman gods, (rather than Greek) wreaking their vengeance on unsuspecting passengers riding that soon-to-be-infamous train – the Amtrak Crescent on a Christmas Eve in 1999, when time is running out.The word craft is delicate and beautiful at times: “A faint flurry of snow flirted shyly with the glass.” “…Ice now filigreed the window. Beyond it the sky looked unendingly black, too powerful even for Frank.”
At other times the author matter-of-factly describes the jargon of the pickpockets: Poke, Mark, Dip, Lambs, et al. “..light-fingered and wing-footed (a nod to Homer) enough to split with the wallets or pokes, the thieves bagged before the marks knew they were missing.” Another character is known by his epithet: silver beard.

As another reviewer has noted, the Palindrome Fever chapter is quite clever and there is a great deal of skillful word play throughout the work. There is also the crackle of the supernatural in this book – the otherwise unexplained bolts of electricity sent from above.

Roman gods arose from a strange confluence of cultures and superstitions around the Latium area, later known as Rome. Here we have a strange convergence of ne’er-do-wells who are willing to kill and maim to sate their newest appetite: Jove(a/k/a Jupiter, powerful, cruel and vain), Janus, Mercury, Mars, Cupid, Venus, Vulcan(god of fire), each with a role. You’ll have to read the book to enjoy each one and his/her role.

MacRath creates a banquet of the gods in the bar car:” Now the crowd in the bar car began to go wild, believing the roll held their losses. And Janus completed the picture…

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4.0 out of 5 stars Writes With Such Depth and Emotion August 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Ever seen the movie Ocean’s Eleven? Or any of the sequels for that matter? You’ll get a similar feeling when you begin Nobility. The reader is introduced to a gang of pickpockets preparing for their next take. Each member brings unique capabilities to the team and it’s these capabilities, along with their physical attributes, that gives them their nicknames based on Roman mythology.MacRath keeps the pacing tight throughout most of the book. Each chapter is composed of short sections told from a different perspective, both the good guys and the bad, though that line isn’t clearly drawn until later.

I have two complaints, and one relates to the above paragraph. Yes, the pacing was fast and the short sections improved that pacing, but it didn’t fit in my opinion.

Let me explain. The depth in MacRath’s writing is impressive. The myriad of ideas and thoughts running through his character’s heads is realistic and he does well putting this on paper. My issue is many of these thoughts seem out of place in the midst of the quick pacing. As if we go from a lyrical masterpiece to an action sequence and back, with little transition.

How could this have been done different? I’m not sure, but this brings me to the other complaint. This book felt like two stories wrapped into one. We have the pickpockets, and we have Ray, another main character. While both were needed with this plot, either of those ideas on its own could have made up its own story, especially with the depth in MacRath’s writing.

My thoughts on the two complaints.

MacRath could have used his depth of thought to create two completely separate novellas, or novels. One with the gang of pickpockets, fast pace, their ups and downs, their big takes, etc.

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After graduating from Buffalo’s State University College, I set out on my life’s great adventure: moving to Toronto, Canada, for the next ten years. In that time, I built a successful practice as a freelance writer and had a syndicated column that appeared in all major Canadian papers. I was well on my way as a writer when Jimmy Carter’s amnesty paved the way for return to the States.Immediately, I set out on my life’s second greatest adventure: busing out to San Francisco with three hundred bucks in my pocket, no contacts and no job. Once I’d settled, I had a decision to make. I could spend years starting from scratch as a freelance journalist–or I could write the Big Read One: the great book I knew I had in me. The book went through two incarnations. The first failed across the board: a huge nonfiction book called The Green Card about Americans in exile. Instead of despairing, I rolled up my sleeves. And two years later I had a dark thriller grounded in my experience as a stateless person. The Suiting was published by Tor Books, under the name Kelley Wilde, and went on to win a Stoker Award for Best First Novel. Don D’Amassa cited the book in his Essential Works of Horror Fiction. And I was profiled in the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Star, the Atlanta Journal and the New York Times.

And so a star was born? Not quite. I’d planned to do a mystery for my second novel, but was bound by contract to give Tor one more fright fest. I changed agents afterward, with an exciting new mystery in mind. She said, “Not yet. First you’ll do two paperbacks for Dell’s new horror line Abyss. Then we’ll make the change.” Guess what? By the time I’d done those books for Dell, the horror market died–and so did my career as a midlist horror novelist.

I think I might have given up if I’d known the full scale of the struggle ahead. But, remember: I’d made two great moves in my life. And I sensed another adventure ahead. With that in mind, I took off to The Desert to learn how to write the sort of books I’d always loved to read: riveting tales of suspense and romance, high on heart and wit and style. I lost count of the time that I spent pounding sand. But one day I found I’d completed twelve books. And, ready for one more adventure, I dusted the sand from my sandals, then came to EbookLandia to begin again.

I published four Amazon ebooks in 2012. My fifth Kindle original, APRIL YULE, will go Live soon, with two or three other releases this year.

But I encourage you to wonder: What’s in all of this for you? If I’ve worked as smart as I have hard, I can bring some cool things to your Kindles:
1) I’ve been tried by fire, as a journalist and novelist, and worked with world-class editors.
2) Experience as a retail copywriter taught me the importance of economy with words.
3) The same experience taught me the imperative of proofing.
4) I set out to learn from two masters of commercial fiction. Lawrence Sanders showed me how to blend smoothness of style and toughness. Ira Levin showed me how to pull off the most fiendish plot twists.
5) At the same time, I’ve always found almost illegal pleasure in studying the classics. I love the great dead dudes of old and am constantly trying to learn.
6) I’m widely traveled and have lived in a half-dozen big cities. My settings ring much truer because they haven’t been Googled or come out of books.
7) My fight scenes pack extra pow because I studied martial arts for over twenty years. And I know what it feels like to have broken bones.
8) My five top goals are crystal clear: to thrill, delight, astonish, move and inspire.

Thank you for visiting this page. Now take a short ride in MacRathWorld…and see the difference for yourself.

I can be reached by email at




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