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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In this gritty 1971 pulp noir classic by Richard Stark (one of the many pseudonyms used by crime fiction icon Donald E. Westlake), a professional thief crosses paths with a psychotic criminal organizing a heist and ends up becoming the prime target instead.
When part-time thief and struggling small theater owner Alan Grofield hears about a big-time heist being planned, he accepts his felonious friend Dan Leach's invitation to fly to Vegas to listen to the job's alleged mastermind pitch his plan. The job -- a risky payroll heist involving a brewery in northern New York -- includes the strong possibility of murder; so both Grofield and Leach walk out on the ringleader, Andrew Myers. Before returning home the next morning, the two buddies spend some time in a Vegas casino, where Leach wins big. That night, Grofield is beaten by masked men who break into his hotel room looking for the money. When he learns that Leach was robbed by the same men, Grofield tells his friend that he's sure their attackers were Myers and his henchmen. Leach vows to go after Myers. More cautious, Grofield returns home to Indiana. Then Leach shows up nearly dead on Grofield's doorstep, and the theater owner is forced into action…
Brutal, relentless, and as callused as a gravedigger's hands, this unearthed Westlake classic is 100 percent pure pulp. What do you do when life gives you lemons? According to protagonist Grofield, skip the lemonade and go straight to the cold-blooded retribution. Paul Goat Allen