The Washington Post
Nobody Runs Forever (Parker Series #22)by Richard Stark
Master criminal Parker is back and in deeper, darker trouble than ever before. The classic anti-hero is forced to use every trick in his dubious arsenal to avoid having to pay the ultimate price for his questionable line of work.
The Washington Post
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Nobody Runs Forever
By Richard Stark
Mysterious PressCopyright © 2004 Richard Stark
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen he saw that the one called Harbin was wearing a wire, Parker said, "Deal me out a hand," and got to his feet. They"d all come to this late-night meeting in suits and ties, traveling businessmen taking a break with a little seven-card stud. Harbin, a nervous man unused to the dress shirt, kept twitching and moving around, bending forward to squint at his cards, and finally Parker, a quarter around the table to Harbin's left, saw in the gap between shirt buttons that flash of clear tape holding the wire down.
As he walked around the table, Parker stripped off his own tie-dark blue with thin gold stripes-slid it into a double thickness, and arched it over Harbin's head. He drew the two ends through the loop and yanked back hard with his right hand as his body pressed both Harbin and the chair he was in against the table, and his left hand reached over to rip open Harbin's shirt. The other five at the table, about to speak or move or react to what Parker was doing, stopped when they saw the wire taped to Harbin's pale chest, the edge of the black metal box taped to his side.
Parker bore down, holding Harbin against the table, pulling back now with both hands on the tie, twisting the tie. Harbin's hands, imprisoned in his lap, beat a drumroll on the bottom of the table. The other players held the table in place, palms down, and looked at McWhitney, red-bearded and red-faced, who'd brought Harbin here. McWhitney, expression solemn, looked around at each face and shook his head; he hadn't known.
"My deal, I think," Dalesia said, as calm as before, and shuffled the cards a while, as the others watched Harbin and Parker. Dalesia dealt out hands in front of himself, all the cards facedown, and said, "Bet the king."
"Fold," said Mott.
It was Stratton who'd taken this hotel room in Cincinnati. He pointed at McWhitney, pointed at Harbin, made a thumb gesture like an umpire calling the runner out. McWhitney nodded and quietly got to his feet, being sure the chair wouldn't scrape on the floor.
Mott and Fletcher were seated flanking Harbin; now they held him upright while Parker peeled his necktie out of the new, deep crease in Harbin's neck.
"These cards are dead," Mott said, and Fletcher peeled the tape off Harbin's chest, freeing the antenna wire and the transmitter box.
McWhitney, standing there, made a broad shrugging gesture to the table, a combination of apology and innocence, then came around to pick Harbin up in a fireman's carry, bent forward with Harbin's forearms looped around his own throat.
"Bet two," Parker said, coming back to his place at the table.
Fletcher held the transmitter and antenna while Mott crossed to the sofa at the side of the room and came back with a cushion, which he put where Harbin had been seated. Fletcher put the transmitter on the cushion, and they all sat, making comments about the game they weren't playing, except Stratton, who went into the other room, where his gear was.
McWhitney carried Harbin to the hall door, looked out, and left, carrying the body. At twenty after one on a weekday morning, there wasn't likely to be much traffic out there.
They continued not to play, to discuss how cold the cards were, and to suggest they might all make an early night of it. They hadn't been together in the room long before Parker had made his discovery, and so hadn't yet started to talk about anything that the wire shouldn't know. They were mostly new to one another, and would have had to get acquainted a while before they started to talk for real.
Stratton was back from the other room in five minutes, with one suitcase. He took his former chair and said, "Deal me out."
The others all made comments about breaking up early, the cards not interesting, try again some other time. Fletcher, who, it turned out, could sound something like Harbin, with that same rasp in his voice, said, "You guys go ahead, I'll clean up in here."
"Thanks, Harbin," Stratton said, and as they left, they all said, "See you, Harbin," to the transmitter on the cushion.
Excerpted from Nobody Runs Forever by Richard Stark Copyright © 2004 by Richard Stark. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
DONALD E. WESTLAKE, aka Richard Stark, has written numerous novels over the past thirty-five years under his own name and pseudonyms, including Richard Stark. Many of his books have been made into movies, including
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In a Cincinnati hotel room, seven buddies play poker intending to discuss a heist. Parker, sitting out the hand, gets up, takes off his tie, and wraps it around the throat of Harbin who is wearing a wire. Dalesia and Mott pretend the game is still on as Parker kills Harbin. McWhitney, who brought Harbin to the game, disposes of the body. The game breaks up with Fletcher pretending to be Harbin informing the others he will clean up. Stratton thanks ¿Harbin¿ as they all leave.--- However, Dalesia and Parker, who have a bit of history together, talk about being out of work. Dalesia says he has a somewhat risky idea for a heist of over a million dollars being transported by four armored trucks guarded by twelve security agents. Parker wants in though he understands that the prime risk comes from two key ¿rookies¿, the banker's wife and a former bank employee, neither of which can keep their enthusiasm nor fears quiet. Meanwhile Harbin¿s partners hunt for him by tracking the poker players. Now the gang, Harbin¿s partners, and Police Detective Gwen Reversa rendezvous with four armored-cars.--- NOBODY RUNS FOREVER is a typical exhilarating Parker tale that leaves no prisoners from start to finish. Parker displays his professionalism from the onset as he calmly kills the informant in the opening scene and continues on that criminal path that makes him a popular antihero. Though his partners are so tyro and unprofessional that long term fans would doubt he would try the caper with them, all things considered readers will appreciate Richard Stark¿s latest Parker thriller.--- Harriet Klausner