Deadly Edge by Richard Stark

This time, tough guy Parker steals the cash from a rock concert. He and his colleagues get away with the loot, but there’s a loose end and two bad guys find out about the job. They go after Parker and the rest of his gang. As usual, they should have stopped before they got to Parker: “If someone double-crossed him in a job, tried to take Parker’s share of the split or betray him to the law, everything else became unimportant until he had evened the score”.

This is a typical Parker novel, more plausible than some. The author (real name: Donald Westlake) builds suspense by shifting between Parker’s perspective and his girlfriend’s. She gets into a serious jam and is left hanging while we backtrack to Parker, who can’t immediately come to her aid.

Parker is the perfect guy to have on your side if you have a problem with a couple of dangerous, greedy malcontents. The foreword to the novel says that “in some ways, Parker is the embodiment of the Protestant work ethic, the consummate hard-toiling craftsman whose craft just happens to be robbery” — and the mayhem that’s part of the craft in Parker’s universe.

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