"Seven men came to a meeting in Cincinnati. One wore a wire, and another didn't hesitate to kill him - fast and hard. Now Parker has left that meeting and the murder behind, and gotten involved in a scheme that is stuffed with money and trouble." "In the rural northwestern corner of Massachusetts, Parker and a pal plan to steal an armored car. But the human element gets in the way. From a nervous ex-con and his well-intentioned sister to a bank manager's two-timing wife and a beautiful, relentless cop, too many people have their hands too close to Parker's pie. Then a bounty hunter, who just happens to be hunting the man who never left the Cincinnati meeting, joins the fray." Parker can see this job turning bad, yet he can't let go of the score. And when guns go off and the heist goes down, the perfect plan will explode with a sound and fury all its own. For Parker, there's always the choice of turning from fight to flight - even if there's nowhere to run.
You just can't get good criminal help these days. That's what Stark's heist-meister Parker quickly discovers as he tries to make a score to repair his sagging finances--no doubt wounded by recent economic ills. First, the plan of would-be hijackers of dental gold in Cincinnati turns to rubbish when one of the conspirators is found wearing a wire. Then a genial idiot with a workable plan for a robbery during a bank merger is found to be carrying too much emotional baggage, especially in his sexual connection to the wife of one of the bankers. And finally, a coldhearted bounty hunter who's almost as good at his job as Parker is threatens everything when he stumbles across the bank robbery scheme while looking for the wire-wearer. Stark (aka MWA Grandmaster Donald Westlake) offers lots of bleak fun as well as intriguing physical details of the illegal variety and righteously sharp descriptions of people we pass every day on the street. A sentence like "She wasn't slender; she was bone thin, and inside the stylish clothes she walked with a graceless jitteriness, like someone whose medicine had been cut off too soon" nails the banker's wife in an instant. This stellar series just gets better and better.
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November 22, 2004
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