We hope you enjoy this book review by Allen Hott.

The books shown at the left are the most popular Richard Stark books. Click on them to see details.

A realistic crime novel as the story unravels with Parker, the forever-bad guy, trying to figure out how he is going to get a stash of money that he and his accomplices took and hid. But then everything went wrong during and after the robbery. One of the gang is captured but manages to get loose. And that is when the story becomes very involved.

Parker and his girlfriend are trying to recover the money, which was hidden in an abandoned church in a desolated part of the Massachusetts countryside. However in the meantime a bounty hunter who was after one of the gang from a previous conviction has joined in the chase along with the police and FBI.

This female bounty hunter has kind of skirted the division between good and evil in the past so she is more than happy to join up with Parker in attempting to recover the money.

Parker also brings in several other players and one of them unknowingly also brings in a gentleman who is interested in getting the money for himself. The problem for all of these folks is that the money is traceable and the police will be able to close in on anyone who spends it.

Parker and his crew decide that the best way to handle it is to get the money out of the church and then “sell” it to a currency dealer who has ways to dispose of it.

Since the police and FBI are certain that the money is still in the area of the robbery it becomes almost impossible for Parker to get into the church to get the money out and disposed of.

Parker’s crew comes up with the idea of using hymnal books for diversion. By painting up a van to look like a church choir’s vehicle the recovery attempt begins. And there is where the story builds up to its final climax. Along the way are several clashes and killings.

Several problems that I had with the book included the fact that this is the second book in a series and I did not read the first one. Too many things that occur in the book had been told about in the first book that I was unaware of.

Richard Stark is one of the pen names used by Donald E. Westlake. It seems strange but when he writes under a pen name the writing doesn’t come out the same. As Westlake, he writes some extremely amusing criminal capers that never seem to work out for the miscreants. And the gang that he writes about led by Dortmunder is a bunch of almost good guys who can’t seem to make it work as bad guys. The difference between those stories and this one is the lack of humor. Both styles are clean as far as language and crisply written but the Dortmunder style appeals to me much more.



Thanks for visiting!