After his dust-up with the syndicate, Parker heads to Nebraska to see a doctor about a new face. After his features are flip-flopped, Parker heads north and falls in with a few felons planning an armoured truck robbery. Being a perfectionist, Parker doesn’t like the plan and after making a few adjustments, he comes to suspect one of the players isn’t on the level.
On top of all this, the doctor who played Mr. Potato Head with Parker’s mug winds up taking a dirt nap and Parker is the prime suspect. Will the robbery succeed? Will Parker prove his innocence in the doc’s death? Will Parker punch someone in the kidney? Probably.
Westlake’s (Richard Stark is a pseudonym for Donald Westlake) Parker is such a well-written character; his methods are straightforward and brutal – simply put, Parker doesn’t have time for your nonsense. He’s been living a life of crime long enough that he can smell a rat from a mile away, so when a scheme seems fishy, Parker doesn’t sweat it, he simply comes up with his own game plan.
My only complaint is in regards to the amount of time Westlake’s devoted to hashing and rehashing the plan. It felt at times like I was reading blueprints rather than a story. Would the story still have worked without such detail? Hard to say. However, Westlake could have moved it along a little faster.
Two down, twenty two to go!