Sunday, December 3, 2006

Just Finished: "The Jugger" by Richard Stark

Just Finished: The Jugger by Ricahrd Stark, 2002.

A Mysterious Press reprint of the 1965 novel by Stark (Donald E. Westlake).

The plot is different in this Parker novel. No crime is planned and committed like in most other Parker stories. Instead, Parker travels to Sagamore, NE (North of Omaha) to see if an old partner needs to be killed. That's Parker all right.

The old partner, Joe, had retired to Sagamore five years ago after a lifetime of robberies. Joe is the "Jugger" of the tile, he's an old safecracker. Joe sends Parker a letter that makes Parker think Joe may be going senile and may and will talking about his old colleagues and the jobs they pulled. Parker immediately flies from Miami to Omaha and travels to Sagamore to, if necessary, kill Joe. Parker discovers Joe died the day before and Parker's suspicions about Joe's open mouth bear fruit when he finds that Sagamore's crooked Chief of Police was trying to extort money from Joe.

Parker is as smart as ever. He knows what people are thinking and what they want and he uses that to his advantage. He manipulates the Chief and a few others to get himself in the clear. At least for a time. Excellenrt writing by Westake, I think the twists and the plans by Parker are great.

Next on my list is the latest Parker book, Ask the Parrot.

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