In La Plante’s (Good Friday, 2017, etc.) classic thriller, three women orchestrate a heist after their criminal husbands die in an explosives accident.
Harry Rawlins has a reputation on the street for being both organized and ruthless. When he's killed in a heist gone wrong, along with two of his criminal associates, the violent Fisher brothers start sniffing around for his ledgers, in which Harry infamously documented every detail of every job. Harry’s widow, Dolly, is devastated by the loss of her urbane and unscrupulous husband, but she is also determined not to let either the Fishers or the police have access to Harry’s ledgers. Instead, she recruits the other widows to help her pull off the job that killed their husbands. At first the three women, who couldn’t be more different, struggle to work together, but gradually they forge a friendship through their unconventional bonding activity. But there's still the problem of the fourth man, the one who walked away from Harry’s heist and can anticipate their every move. The novel starts slowly; La Plante’s writing is dense, and there are an awful lot of characters to keep straight. But as the women begin to work toward their goal, they become complex and interesting characters. They aren’t completely likable, but this proves La Plante’s ability to write realistic women who aren’t always beautiful, charming, or even sensible. Instead, they are survivors—honest and determined, smart and courageous as hell. The novel was first published more than 30 years ago, but it's aged seamlessly; other than the fact that no one has a cellphone, it hardly feels dated at all. As conversations about equality and intimacy in Hollywood and the workplace finally become commonplace, the reissue seems particularly timely and relevant.
It’s good, dark fun: a feminist noir love child of Thelma and Louise and The Godfather.