Firebreak, by Richard Stark

A gang of crooks break into a billionaire's house to steal gold, but come across some old master paintings in a secret vault. The security systems go off meaning they leave without anything, but recruit Parker to help them with a plan to break in again, and get the paintings.

I read this straight after Dirty Money so to start with was getting some of the scenes mixed up, but in fact this was quite a lot better: unlike that book, which was fairly much one story, this felt it had quite a few subplots and characters which were all interesting.

So there is Lloyd, the IT whizz, who's going to help foil the security systems, and has "issues" of his own to deal with. And there's a couple of criminals who've taken out a contract on Parker, which has to be dealt with before he can concentrate on the paintings heist. And there's the billionaire and his art dealer, who've been trading in stolen paintings, and now want to try liquidate their assets. So there seems to be a lot happening all at once, and yet the thing hangs together very well, with a satisfying climax.

Parker is as usual amoral, super-efficient, and terminator-like, but as usual you end up rooting for him. I'd say this was one of the better books in the series (and I don't think any of them has been bad).

Completed : 02-Oct-2011

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