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by Richard Stark

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 2004
ISBN: 0-89296-798-6

Unrepentant antihero Parker (Breakout, 2002, etc.) breaks yet more laws.

Seven poker buddies sit around a table calmly planning a heist until Parker gets up, wrenches off his necktie, and strangles Harbin from behind. Who can blame him? Harbin, turned by the feds, was wearing a wire. The players disband and dump the plan, leaving Parker a little short. Later Dalesio, also left short, outlines a bank job involving four armored trucks, twelve armed guards, and over a million in cash and asks whether Parker wants a piece of it. Sure, there are problems. One is too much pillow talk between two lamebrained amateurs: Elaine, the bank owner’s wife, and Jake, a former employee who has to supply scheduling details. Another is two bounty hunters on Harbin’s trail. Unable to find him for the feds, they’re zeroing in now on the poker players. Still, Parker arranges for materiel, Dalesio scouts the getaway roads, and Elaine shoots Jake to put him in the hospital and give him an alibi—a dumb idea that attracts the attention of Det. Gwen Reversa. One bounty hunter dies and the other switches sides while everyone else converges on the armored-car convoy leaving the bank.

A little too much situational bumbling better suited to one of the Dortmunder plots of Stark’s alter ego, Donald E. Westlake. Still, if you want to make a killing, Parker’s your kind of guy.