Flashfire, Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake) 2000

A classic Stark book:  Parker is double-crossed by his partners after a bank heist and spends the rest of the book planning on how to get even and then executing his plan.  The bodies pile up as our matter-of-fact ‘mechanic’ Parker goes about his business.  He finds a willing and interesting accomplice in the Palm Beach realtor, Leslie McKenzie and together they manage to lift the $12million worth of jewels from the thieves who had stolen them from an auction with a brilliant plan involving amplifiers, fire engines, scuba equipment, and an old mansion.  Sound fascinating?  If you’re intrigued, I’d urge you to start with Parker’s premier in ‘The Hunter’ and then work your way forward.  I’ve read several of them and they are clever, funny, and superbly constructed.  Too bad that Westlake, a much honored mystery writer who used a number of different pen names, died in 2008, but he left behind 24 Parker novels, more than enough to get one through the next several years. Try him.

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