Monday, December 22, 2014

Firebreak by Richard Stark

(hb; 2001: twentieth novel in the Parker series)

From the inside flap:

"Parker put down the body and answered the phone. And from that moment on he had two jobs to do. One was to rob a remote Montana lodge where a dot-com billionaire hid stolen art treasures in his basement. The other was to find out why a hitman had come to Parker's home -- and who had sent him. Parker couldn't do one job if he didn't finish the other.

"The master thief wasn't the only one in his crew with scores to settle. Recently released from prison, Lloyd is the brains behind the Montana heist, the only guy who can crack the lodge's alarm system. But Lloyd had a quarrel with some former partners -- and a temper. And when he explodes, and shoots a guy through the eye, Parker just happens to be by his side.

"Now Parker and his would-be partner are both cutting swaths of destruction on their way to Montana. With broken bodies and broken promises piling up behind them, one question remains: is there enough room in this heist for both men to come out alive?"


Warning: possible spoilers in this review.

Parker and his crew have quite a few job-related fires to put out in the twentieth Parker novel. One of those metaphorical fires are two ex-heistmates who may or may not have something to do with a hit that's been put out on Parker (mayhem- and rape-inclined Matt Rosenstein and his partner Paul Brock, from The Sour Lemon Score). Then there's the uncertainty surrounding one of Parker's heistmates, an amateur and socially awkward hacker named Larry Lloyd. Add to this volatile situation a lot of cops and a high-pressure time window that's been placed on this Montana job, and you have another thrilling, fast-paced, cut-to-it and briefly disturbing book in this influential, lean-prosed and often edgy crime series.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Parker novel without at least one Parker confederate in the mix. This time, his confederates are Frank Elkins and Ralph Wiss, last seen in Butcher's Moon.

Like all the Parker novels I have read thus far, Firebreak is worth owning. Followed by Breakout.

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