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by Richard Stark

Category: Fiction / Mystery
288 pages; ISBN: 089296779X

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Thanks to incompetent partners failing to do the assigned jobs during a pharmaceutical heist, master thief Parker using the name Kasper lands in the Stoneveldt Detention Center, a maximum-security holding jail in a Midwest state. Not noted for wanting to be a guest of any state, Parker selects two colleagues Tom Marcantoni and Brandon Williams to bust out of jail. The trio successfully escapes their incarceration.

However, before Parker can return to the haven of New Jersey, he reluctantly agrees to rob a wholesale jewelry company that keeps its inventory in an armory. Parker and his partners easily gain entrance to the supposedly impenetrable artifice, but leaving proves disastrous as their entrance-exit tunnel collapses. Through a pizza delivery, Parker escapes, but now prison officials and the police seek to capture the elusive thief while other demands on his time do not allow him to do what he most wants: relax in the Garden State.

In the usual amusing yet stark story line, Richard Stark provides a tremendous antihero crime thriller. Parker is as always a delightful criminal and his partners bring out the best or perhaps the worst in him. All this action leads to the star going home with such a small bounty that his girlfriend wonders whether it was worth the score. Another win for readers as this one evening sitting is a triumphant tale that shows how a talented author can use the English language sparingly to paint a masterpiece summed in one word Parker.

Harriet Klausner


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