Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Review: The Rare Coin Score by Richard Stark

Parker, the cold and calculating master thief has a few rules when planning a heist and rule number one is: never work with amateurs. Called to Indianapolis by a fellow crook named Lempke, and allured by a femme fatale named Claire, Parker puts his better judgment aside, and agrees to take part in a planned heist. Nervous coin dealer Billy Lebetard, anxious to win Claire for himself, has cooked up a scheme to rip off a coin convention and to fence the ill-gotten booty. The setup looks bad: Lempke is just out of jail, feeling weak and scared. The two other men who sign on to the work the theft are at each others throats. But Parker comes up with an ingenious plan, entering the convention by breaking in through an adjacent building and tying up the Pinkerton guards that are watching the coins. Then, as in every Parker novel, it all goes wrong. When the double-cross goes down, shots are fired and Parker and Claire are running for their lives, still not knowing if they can trust each other. Parker is cold as ice throughout, weighing the odds and his actions with a complete lack of sentiment. This was a fascinating and transitional Parker novel, whereas he lived an outsider existence for the previous books in the series, he is so smitten by Claire (who would indeed become a recurring character in the remainder of the books) that he takes stock of his life and relationships... but not his life of crime. The Rare Coin Score -

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