The good guys in a new African nation were missing a treasury full of diamonds. The nation's corrupt leader had stashed the rocks somewhere in New York City. Now the good guys needed a specialist to get their diamonds back. So they came to the best in the business: Parker. Only the three mysterious tough guys came to Parker, too. They figured three hands filled with .38s could convince him to pass up this international gem game. But leaning on Parker was like pressuring a box of TNT with a short fuse.
This fast-paced, no-nonsense noir from master Donald Westlake (writing as Richard Stark) starts tense, adds twists, and doesn't seem to waste a single word as Parker is hired to plan a jewelry heist...while learning other criminals also want the diamonds. As Parker says, "You can plan a job, but you can't plan for people." Taut, smart, and wholly unsentimental, Parker continues to fascinate as one of crime fiction's most interestingly focused and professional anti heroes. Not a bad Parker novel to start with, if you're curious.
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If you know Parker, you won't want to miss this one! His personal code is very apparent here.
but the ending was good - when things went wrong.
THE SET UP:
There are three groups of guys from a small African nation. The A guys work for the President. The B guys work for a General who plans to take over with a military coup. C is a guy who stole millions from the African treasury and converted it to diamonds. C’s people are holding the diamonds for him in New York City.
The A guys pay a fee to Parker to plan a heist and teach them how to do it - to steal the diamonds from C’s people. The B guys threaten Parker, telling him not to help A. D is another guy who comes in to steal the diamonds.
Most of the story is meeting the different guys and Parker planning the heist. That was ok, but it wasn’t engaging or exciting. The last part was very good. Unexpected things happen, things go wrong, Parker is in the middle and takes action. I liked the way Parker solved a kidnaping - bad guy style.
I was disappointed the author did not tell how the bad guys knew where E was in order to kidnap E.
There is a forward by Dennis Lehane (dated 2010) in the paperback. I was disappointed that the forward was missing from this audiobook.
The narrator Stephen R. Thorne was good, but I wish he had a rougher, darker, or more menacing voice for Parker. His Parker voice was too clean cut and normal sounding.
This is book 11 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They’re smart. Most don’t go to jail. Parker is the main bad guy, a brilliant strategist. He partners with different guys for different jobs in each book.
If you are new to the series, I suggest reading the first three and then choose among the rest. A few should be read in order since characters continue in a sequel fashion. Those are listed below (with my star ratings). The rest can be read as stand alones.
The first three books in order:
4 stars. The Hunter (Point Blank movie with Lee Marvin 1967) (Payback movie with Mel Gibson)
3 ½ stars. The Man with the Getaway Face (The Steel Hit)
4 stars. The Outfit.
Read these two in order:
5 stars. Slayground (Bk #14)
5 stars. Butcher’s Moon (Bk #16)
Read these four in order:
4 ½ stars. The Sour Lemon Score (Bk #12)
2 ½ stars. Firebreak (Bk #20)
(not read) Nobody Runs Forever (Bk #22)
2 ½ stars. Dirty Money (Bk #24)
Others that I gave 4 or more stars to:
The Jugger (Bk #6), The Seventh (Bk#7), The Handle (Bk #8), Deadly Edge (Bk#13), Flashfire (Bk#19)
GENRE: noir crime fiction