Listened: The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey, 2007 (print), Overdrive.com download.
Second Sakey novel I have read. Sakey seems to like unsympathetic protagonists.
Construction manager Danny is a reformed thief after a pawn shop robbery ended in a shooting by his mercurial partner Evan. Danny walked in the middle of the job after Evan shot the store owner and then refused to leave without hunting around for the owner's marijuana stash. Evan was caught, convicted, and sent down for 12 years.
Danny has since cleaned up. He lied his way into a construction firm and it is Danny's work on bid writing, site management and other things that keeps the wealthy owner afloat. Danny has moved from slummy South Side Chicago to a condo in the North Side. His long-term girlfriend manages a night club. Everything is going great until Evan gets early release.
Evan shows up demanding payback from Danny. Evan never informed to the police about Danny's presence at the pawn shop and expects Danny to return to robbery work and get them a good score. Danny wants nothing to do with that, his girlfriend gave an ultimatum seven years ago that she would walk if he did. Violent Evan says "Tough shit". Violent Evan cares not a whit for anyone but himself. Violent Evan has been pumping iron in prison and nurturing his childhood-poverty-rage.
Things happen. Evan starts putting on the pressure. Evan kills a childhood pal of his and Danny's when pal tries to protect Danny by pressuring Evan. Evan assaults Danny's Girlfriend in dark alley. That assault pushes Danny to go in with him. More things happen with bad ideas, stupid actions, repulsive justifications by Danny. Kidnapping of 12-year-old son of Danny's boss. Innocent guy murdered by Evan. So on. So forth until construction site finale with another murder.
1. Danny ends up trying to stop Evan. But, before he does, he participates in the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy. Danny is the hero and does not go to prison. Danny ends up saving the day but still deserves some prison time. He kidnapped a child while partnering with a guy he knows is a sociopath!
2. Decent but not great.