Peter Macklin, married to a beautiful young woman, has made his pile and wants to retire. But since when does a hit man get to do that?
See Pete and Laurie run around shopping for a house. See them buy into the illusion that a contract killer’s past is just like that of the owner of a string of camera shops, for instance—the story the Macklins float before Laurie’s mom when Pete meets her for the first time. Pam Ziegenthaler, however, is nobody’s fool. She quickly spots inner steel, even as she’s getting flimflammed by the new love in her life: Ben Grinnell, a “case man” for a mob that often needs to case prospective targets for armed robbery. One such target is the bookstore Pam manages, made even juicier by the scheduled visit of author Francis Spain, who on a good day can match John Grisham sale for sale. Like Pete, Grinnell is eager to call it quits, and the two join forces when it becomes clear how dimly the mob and the Ohio state police view both retirement plans. See the bloody bookstore shootout that follows.
Pete and Laurie make an entertaining pair, more vinegary than Nick and Nora but no less appealing. Estleman (Retro, 2004, etc.), who long ago aced every course at Hammett U., shows what an accomplished pro he still is.