Flashfire: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

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9780792793953: Flashfire: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

Between Parker's 1961 debut and his return in the late 1990s, the world of crime changed considerably. Now fake IDs and credit cards had to be purchased from specialists; increasingly sophisticated policing made escape and evasion tougher; and, worst of all, money had gone digital--the days of cash-stuffed payroll trucks were long gone. But cash isn't everything, and now Parker's after a fortune in jewels. In Flashfire, Parker's in West Palm Beach, competing with a crew that has an unhealthy love of explosions. When things go sour, Parker finds himself shot and trapped--and forced to rely on a civilian to survive.

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Review:

Richard Stark's professional criminal, Parker, is so hard-boiled he could make an egg cry. Blunt and matter-of-fact (the less charitable might say cold and calculating), he has perfected the art of theft. Unfortunately, perfection can be a relative term, a concept made vulnerable by the honor--or lack thereof--among thieves. When Parker joins forces with three other crooks to rob a Nebraska bank, he's prepared for a gentlemanly division of the proceeds, not for a double-cross. But his colleagues have other plans for his share: it will be their seed money for a $12 million Palm Beach jewel heist. What's Parker to do but make his own plans to steal the Palm Beach loot from the double- crossers?

Working his way across the Southeast in a series of carefully executed robberies and changes of identity, Parker arrives in Palm Beach, where he finds more barriers along the path of revenge than he could have imagined. Chief among them: a diabolically clever plan by his former partners; a real estate agent named Leslie with an unfortunately sharp sense of character; and a team of professional hit men out for Parker's blood (but why?).

In his third outing after a long retirement by Stark (the pen name of Donald E. Westlake, revered for the comic capers of his bumbling crook, Dortmunder), Parker is in fine form: steely, sardonic, detached. Stark's acidly funny depictions of Palm Beach and its native fauna are a bonus:

Alice Prester Young knew she was a herd animal, and enjoyed the knowledge, because the herd she moved with was the very best herd in all the world. For instance, here she was, at five-thirty this Thursday afternoon, in her chauffeured Daimler, with her new husband, the delicious Jack, to pick up just the perfect jewelry for tonight's pre-auction ball, and she knew when she arrived at the bank she would be surrounded by her own kind, chauffeured and cosseted women with attractive escorts, all coming to the bank (the only bank one could use, really) because this particular bank stayed open late whenever there was an important ball in town, just so the herd could come get its jewelry out of the safe-deposit boxes.
Not to be missed by fans of gritty noir, nor by those who prefer their crime cocktails with a comic twist: Stark and Parker will give you both. --Kelly Flynn

From the Publisher:

5 1.5-hour cassettes

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