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Synopsis: Between Parker's 1961 debut and his return in the late 1990s, the world of crime changed considerably. Now fake IDs and credit cards had to be purchased from specialists; increasingly sophisticated policing made escape and evasion tougher; and, worst of all, money had gone digital--the days of cash-stuffed payroll trucks were long gone. Firebreak takes Parker to a palatial Montana "hunting lodge" where a dot-com millionaire hides a gallery of stolen old masters--which will fetch Parker a pretty penny if his team can just get it past the mansion's tight security. The forests of Montana are an inhospitable place for a heister when well-laid plans fall apart, but no matter how untamed the wilderness, Parker's guaranteed to be the most dangerous predator around.
Review: Penzler Pick, December 2001: You'd have to hammer apart an armored tank to find a surface harder than that of Richard Stark's antihero Parker. A thief and a killer, Parker is the protagonist of a contemporary series that has the legendary status of vintage noir. The films Point Blank (with Lee Marvin) and Payback (with Mel Gibson) were both made from the first Parker novel, The Hunter. After an absence from print of over two decades, Parker began breaking all the commandments again in 1997's Comeback.
However, since Stark is, as the dust jacket informs readers, also at times the mystery Grand Master Donald E. Westlake, there's a curious phenomenon worth noting in the pages of this, the 21st Parker novel. Larry Lloyd, a crook by virtue of his (bad) temper if not his temperament, seems to be a second-banana character who's strolled out of a Westlake comic caper into a Stark scenario and can't quite figure out what he's doing here. Practically a textbook definition of a loose cannon, he comes on board the team planning to rob a billionaire techno-geek's remote mountain hideaway because of his own electronics expertise. OK, so he has a violent streak and is willing to put a bullet through a guy's eyeball, but he's still more Walter Mitty than James Cagney.
As he's about to help get the heist back on track at the last minute, Parker asks him if he thinks he's 007. "Are you kidding?" he says. "The last few weeks, I've been scaling cliffs, shooting people, getting rid of bodies, stealing ambulances, I am James Bond."
Since this comes from the hugely fertile mind of Westlake/Stark, this is not the story's only plotline. There is another, more twisty one running on a track parallel to the one with Parker and his robbery-minded pals on it. Revenge may be a dish best eaten cold, but when it's a matter of kill or be killed, Parker is not likely to be one of the leftovers.
Sometimes, a series loses some of its freshness and originality after it reaches a certain number. Amazingly, after 39 years and 21 books, this novel is as good as any in the series, which should be taken as the highest praise it's possible to give without seeming to be sycophantic. --Otto Penzler
Title: Firebreak -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Book Condition: BRAND NEW
Book Description Warner, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: 4. Dust Jacket Condition: 4. Very good in very good jacket . Fine in fine Dust Jacket. Book. Seller Inventory # Dp099127
Book Description Mysterious Press, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. First edition, Fine condition in a Fine dust jacket. Seller Inventory # 8510
Book Description MYSTERIOUS PRESS, 2002. Trade Paperback. Condition: Good. TRADE PAPERBACK Legendary independent bookstore online since 1994. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. Fiction and Poetry>Mystery>A to Z. Book: USED, Good. Bookseller Inventory # 01978044667824705. Seller Inventory # 01978044667824705
Book Description HACHETTE BOOK GROUP. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. HARDCOVER Legendary independent bookstore online since 1994. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. General. Book: USED, Good. Dust Jacket: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 01978089296711706. Seller Inventory # 01978089296711706
Book Description Mysterious Press, NY, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. First printing. Seller Inventory # 007793
Book Description Robert Hale, London, 2002. Hard Cover. Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket. First Edition. by Richard Stark (pseud.). A fine copy in like D/W. Uncommon. Seller Inventory # 355490714573