Dying For Paradise


This Aussie crime pulp novel isn’t too old. I think I picked it up around 1996 or so (was published in 1995). I can’t remember too much about it now, so I’ll let the back cover blurb do the talking for me – although this description reads a little muddled.

A tropical paradise on the outside
a slaughterhouse on the inside

When professional gambler, Jack Speerman goes looking for his mate Charlie in Far North Queensland, he already knows something is wrong. Not that the crocs have left much of Charlie to find. Not that Charlie’s girlfriend, Verve is saying much either. Until someone else gets killed right in front of her eyes and a head shot from a moonlit beach into a crowded restaurant, turns the brains of an American privateer to sauce.

The hunt for Charlie’s killers follows a bloody trail of bodies leading to an international bird smuggling ring more ruthless and deadly than the crocs which snatch the unwary killers.

As Charlie and Verve unreel the layers of deception, greed and murder – they learn to trust no one, not even each other…

Green’s novel is based on the disappearance of five bird smugglers and a wildlife officer in FNQ. Authorities are still searching for the bodies.

Dying For Paradise

Swamp Walloper

SWAMP smallAuthor: Paul Bishop
Published: October 2013

Swamp Walloper is the follow up to Felony Fists, the first book in the Fight Card series written by Paul Bishop. Fists saw L.A. cop, Patrick ‘Felony’ Flynn fighting on two fronts, first corruption on the streets, and then duking it out with one of gangster Mickey Cohen’s minions – it was a fantastic, uplifting story with a knockout ending.

Walloper heads in a different direction, and sees Flynn plying his skills – as a cop first and as a fighter second – in the Crescent City, N’Awlins, and in the croc infested Bayou Sauvage. The villain of the piece is a crooked prison warden named Lucas Trask – a man steeped in dark voodoo rituals.

The tale is pure pulp, dripping with steamy New Orleans atmosphere, and featuring great characters – heroes you want cheer, and villains you want to hiss. The action packed climax will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Like Felony Fists before it, Swamp Walloper punches above its weight and recommended to all fans of rapid-fire adventure.

Swamp Walloper

Leaving Bondi

BondiAuthor: Robert G. Barrett
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2000

Over the years I have read a few of Robert G. Barrett’s Les Norton series. I don’t know how many there are in the series. I have about seven of them, and I’d guess there’s probably that many I don’t have. I have always found them to be – for wont of a lazy comparison – a knockabout variation on the Cliff Hardy stories – the obvious connection being that they are often set in Sydney (but the boys move around a bit from story to story). However Les is not a Private Detective like Hardy. Instead he’s a trouble shooter at the Kelly Club. ‘Trouble’ being the operative word. Les seems to attract it. In this story he gets mixed up in a movie deal – the movie being called ‘Leaving Bondi’.

As I implied above, I have enjoyed many of Norton’s adventures – but this one was undone by one particularly sleazy scene which ruined the whole book. In the scene, Les rescues a drugged girl from a cult of devil-worshipers who are about to slit her throat. After the rescue, Les takes the unconscious girl back to his hotel room – and let’s just say things get a little rapey for my liking. Worse, still the incident is passed off as a joke a bit later on. The Les Norton stories have never really been politically correct, but this one went over the line for me.

I doubt international readers would find a lot to enjoy in the Les Norton series. They are very Australian with little explanation of the wheres and whyfores – if you’re not familiar with the place names and products you may feel left out – and very much of their time. This book is fourteen years old and some of the products mentioned are no longer available, television shows are no longer on etc…

The Les Norton books can be good fun, but unless you’re a die hard fan of the series, I’d give this one a miss.

Leaving Bondi

Dig Two Graves

DTGAuthor: Eric Beetner
Publisher: Snubnose Press
Published: November 2011

As the title, Dig Two Graves, would imply, this novella is a tale of revenge. It concerns Val, who is an ex-con. But one who has lived a strange double life. On civi-street he is straight, and while in prison he is gay – described as an ‘innie and outie’. As the story begins Val is busted by the police. He was ratted out by his prison lover, a Latino named Ernesto.

From page one, Dig Two Graves is a wild ride, and the pace doesn’t let up. Val escapes from custody and seeks vengeance. Forgive me for being light on details, but I don’t really want to give any of the twists and turns away. I probably have already said too much!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this story is it serves up crime genre cliché after cliché – or at least it sets up each set piece that way – but as the story plays out, each of these sequences is turned on their head. Just when you think you know where the story is going, and you have read it all before, author, Eric Beetner drags the story kicking and screaming in a completely opposite direction.

This book is not for everyone. It fast, furious and filthy – and violent, but I found it to be a breath of fresh air in a genre where so many stories read the same. Highly recommended.

Dig Two Graves

Bear Pit


Author: Jon Cleary
First Published: 2000

On the eve of the Sydney Olympic games, the city’s great and good assemble to celebrate the opening of a new luxury hotel complex. But the gala takes a grisly turn when State Premier Hans Vanderberg is assassinated by a sniper.

In his twenty years at the head of the Labor Party The Dutchman had made a number of enemies. Even within his own party, rivals who felt he had reached his sell-by date were clamouring for his retirement. But who wanted him out of the way badly enough to hire a hitman? And with ruthless casino boss Jack Aldwych and his son flanking the Premier at the time of the shooting, who can be sure that the hitman found his true target?

As if political ‘skulbuggery’ and high-stakes gambling weren’t enough to contend with, Inspector Scobie Malone finds that his daughter Maureen, now a tabloid-TV journalist, is working the same case – with terrifying consequences.

Bear Pit

Five Ring Circus


Author: Jon Cleary
First Published: 1998 (1999 Harper Collins edition pictured).

As Sydney prepares for its grand role as host of the next Olympic Games, homocide detective Scobie Malone stumbles upon a scam that will do nothing for the city’s image. Illicit deals are being struck and money from Hong Kong is being banked in large quantities. But whose money is it, and where is it really from?

A series of cold-blooded assassinations follow, as the ruthless individuals behind the conspiracy seek to eliminate anyone who poses a security risk. Meanwhile Scobie’s investigation is frustrated at every turn by a wall of silence as vast as the Great Wall of China, making progress impossible… until he finds the cracks which will lead him to the unexpected truth.

Five Ring Circus


Author: Lee Goldberg
Publisher: Adventures in Television
Published: February 2012

McGrave is a quick fire novella from Lee Goldberg, based on a pilot script for a television show, which never eventuated. And its humble beginnings are very evident as you read it. It is written in present tense as a script would be, and the action scenes are described, rather than lived, if that makes sense. If that simple framework doesn’t appeal to you, then you’d probably find McGrave a rather annoying book.

However, if you have no qualms about how your thrills are served up, then McGrave is a balls-to-the wall action adventure that doesn’t let up. John ‘Tidal Wave’ McGrave is a no-nonsense old-school L.A. cop. He gets results, no matter what the cost. He the type of fellow who would destroy $250,000 worth of property to capture a criminal stealing $100 worth of goods.

After such an incident (although more was at stake than $100), McGrave is booted off the force. But like any cop worth his salt, he doesn’t give up the case and follows his leads to Berlin. Then you’ve got you classic fish-out-of-water story. Much mayhem and property damage ensues.

Maybe it’s just my age, and growing up watching material such as this, but I found McGrave to be an absolute hoot. There’s no message beyond ‘enjoy the ride’ and that’s just the way it should be.

Here’s Lee’s promo spiel:

Los Angeles cop John “Tidal Wave” McGrave is an unstoppable force of nature who always gets his man…even if it means laying waste to everything around him, including his own career…which is exactly what happens in his pursuit of Sebastian Richter, the ruthless leader of an international gang of violent thieves. When Richter flees to Berlin, McGrave chases after him…even though the cop doesn’t know the language, the laws, or the culture. But McGrave doesn’t care…he speaks the universal language of knee in the groin and fist in the face…and he won’t let anything get in his way.

What follows is, I hope, a wild, action-adventure novella that captures all of the fun, excitement, humor and pure escapist pleasure of the Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard movies…

McGrave is an experiment for me. I set out to write something specifically for the Kindle that would take advantage of the way people read on the device…but that would also capture the pure, escapist fun of watching an action movie. I thought these were very compatible goals.


Ghost Money

Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Melbourne-based crime writer Andrew Nette and asked him a series of tough questions about his debut novel, Ghost Money. Ghost Money is set in Cambodia, in the late 1990s, and Andrew’s answers shine a light on a world that is very different to my own (and possibly, even a little bit scary).

* * * * *

David: For those unfamiliar with the term, what is Ghost Money?

Andrew: Ghost Money (or sometimes known as Hell Money) is essentially fake paper money that in some cultures, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, people will burn when somebody dies as an offering to usher them into the underworld, ensuring that the person has money on the other side.

In many places in Asia you will see shops that not only sell ghost money, but they also have paper maché cars, paper maché flats, paper maché Cartier watch sets – a full range of thing that you need to be burnt as an offering to make sure you are comfortable in the afterlife.

That’s amazing…

The shops are quite incredible. There’s paper Mercedes Benz, plane tickets… at home I have a wad of Hell thousand dollar notes, a Hell passport, and a first class plane ticket to Hell [laughs].

That’s Excellent [laughs]. How does ghost money relate to the main protagonist in the story, Max Quinlan?

Ghost money sent to someone living is a threat. It’s a way of saying you’re for the afterlife if you keep on doing what you’re doing. Or you’re already dead. There are instances of gangsters sending each other ghost money to warn each other off. It’s a way of saying you’re marked for death.

In Quinlan, you have created a western/Anglo Saxon character, but placed him in an Asian body. What do you think that duality brings to the story?

Melbourne based author, Andrew Nette
I didn’t want the lead character to be fully Asian, because I wasn’t confident of my ability to portray him accurately. Which is why I made him Australian – a dyed-in-the-wool Anglo Australian in the body of someone who looks Vietnamese.

In terms of the book, in Cambodia, for various historical reasons, the Vietnamese are extremely unpopular in large parts of the country. This is essentially due to the incorporation of significant parts of Southern Cambodia into what is now South Vietnam.

Also it was the Vietnamese who, invaded is one word; liberated is another, Cambodia in late 1978 / 79 and overthrew the Khmer Rouge. They’ve got to get points for that. But then, they stayed in Cambodia for far too long. They did try and turn Cambodia into a satellite state of Vietnam.

But it is very complicated. There are people who will tell you that the Vietnamese just wanted to create a buffer zone around their borders with Cambodia, because the Khmer Rouge were carrying out incursions into Vietnam and killing villagers and bombarding towns. However, the Khmer Rouge fell so quickly, they thought they’d take the whole country over.

I have talked to Vietnamese, who were soldiers back then, stating that when they got to Phnom Penh, the extent of the damage the Khmer Rouge had done, they thought ‘what the Hell have we got ourselves into!’

So, while the Cambodians had the view that the Vietnamese were essentially acting as imperial overlords, the view in Hanoi was that being in Cambodia was an enormous economic bleed on them, and also got them into a particularly nasty war with China in 1979.

But back to the story, I wanted to make Quinlan half Vietnamese as it ups the tension in the story. The Vietnamese are not liked, and one of the things Quinlan has to deal with, is not only being a stranger in Cambodia, he has to deal with being a Yuon, which marks him out as being further of an interloper.

Quinlan does not drink, make wisecracks, and doesn’t appear to be too much in a scrap either. Was that a deliberate attempt to break away from traditional Private Eye/Detective stereotypes?

Yes [Laughs]. Yes, I think it was. You’re always looking for some way to distinguish your character. If being a Vietnamese/Australian was not enough, I wanted to make him a teetotaler, I also wanted to make him a bloody humourless bastard [laughs].

One of the key elements in the story, is how Quinlan refuses to quit, despite being in over his head, and in an environment he is unfamiliar with. What makes him so dogged, and gives him this drive to see things through?

Ghost Money
One one level – and this will always be a complicated thing for me to say as an Anglo – Asia and how Asians are received in Australia has changed an enormous amount in the last twenty years. I can remember how Asian people were treated at the school I went to. I can remember to some degree, the invisibility and racism they suffered in the ’80s.

That’s very different now. I lived in Asia for six and a half years, in ’90s, I left in 1992 and I remember coming back in late 1996, and all of a sudden, and this maybe says more about me, but I noticed Asians were everywhere. There were more Asian students, and whole parts of the city had accommodated that change. Essentially, they were far more visible. But then, of course, we had Hanson, and then there was a whole outcry about that, and the Asian community had to get vocal in response.

The point is, Quinlan grew up in the ’70s and early ’80s, when being Asian was difficult, and you had to take a lot of shit. Then he joined the police force, in the mid ’80s, where he would have been one of a minority. So he has had to deal with a lot of racism, and he has had to push really hard to get where he got – which, he subsequently lost when he quit – but it has just turned him into a really determined bastard, who will not back down in the face of anything.

On top of that, I think he sees this missing person case – without giving away much of the plot – as a chance to redeem himself. It’s an atonement for an incident involving his Thai police partner in Bangkok, which forms the backstory to Ghost Money.

Cambodia is almost a character in the novel. It is obviously a place you have a lot of affection for. What is your connection to the country?

I first visited Cambodia in 1992, with my partner, we were living in Laos at the time. It’s hard now to recall just what a strange place I found it. Phnom Penh was full of U.N. Peacekeepers; half the city seemed to be armed. It was an incredibly dark place, the power was continually going out. There was this amazing old French Colonial architecture, but at the same time, the whole place seemed to be falling to bits. The men looked like they slept in their clothes most of the time. It was a broken city. It was a broken country. The Khmer Rouge had broken it in the ’70s, then the Vietnamese had invaded, overthrown the Khmer Rouge, and then because of Cold War politics, the Americans and the West had placed an embargo on Cambodia, until, I think it was 1989, when they signed the U.N. Peace Accord.

So, it was a intensely strange and bizarre broken place for a twenty-six year old from Melbourne. It was incredibly beautiful. The sun sets were amazing. The forest was incredible. It was a mysterious place but it was very dangerous.

I then went back many times, subsequently, to work there as a journalist over the next three or four years. I did a five month stint in 1996 covering the Khmer Rouge defection. I did a few more trips, and then we left Asia. We didn’t go back until 2008.

Many, many things had changed. It was now on the tourist trail. You could stay at your carbon neutral hotel, go out for tapas and mojitos or a dance party on a barge moored on the Masak River, listening to a DJ from the Ministry of Sound. But at the same time, people were being evicted from their land, journalists were still being killed, and lots of the country was still desperately poor. A lot had changed, but a lot hadn’t changed.

I am still trying to figure out Cambodia. And the book is also about somebody trying to figure out Cambodia.

You name check Jim Morrison, call in the choppers and have a trip down river at the climax of the story. Was that a deliberate attempt to place a piece of Pop Culture, already intrinsically associated with South East Asia – namely Apocalypse Now (and through a twisted osmosis, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness) – into the novel?

…or was it much more organic, and the romanticised ghosts of war are hard to ignore in a place like Cambodia?

I think on one level, certain pop culture signifiers are so hard wired to the Vietnam war, and the subsequent wars in Cambodia and Laos, it’s hard to ignore them to some degree. They are a part of it now. I remember in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is known now, back in the early ’90s, one of the bars we used to go to was called ‘Heart of Darkness’. It used to have a helicopter rotor blade always going in the main bar, and they used to play The Doors all the time. Ditto in Cambodia, when I was working there as a journalist, there was a bar called ‘The Heart’. It was the bar all the journalists and ex-patriots, and a bizarre Greek-chorus of Cambodians would congregate in till five in the morning, most nights. In itself, I guess it was a bit of a cliché.

… I suppose, in its way, to some people, Pop Culture had become reality.

Absolutely. Why did foreigners go to Cambodia in the ’90s? Some were sent there as peacekeepers, they liked it and they stayed for various reasons. Some went because they were NGO workers. There was also an incredible group of hustlers, sharks, bizarre Christian fundamentalists – who saw the territory as ripe pickings for conversion. Then there was a whole cohort of, and I must admit I was on the fringe of, young people who had heard about Cambodia and what had happened with the Khmer Rouge – were conscious of Cambodia’s roll in the Vietnam war – who wanted to see for themselves what was going on.

Their life experiences in Cambodia are, sort of, a continuation of that pop culture signifier, and also building upon it. It is actually fused with what was going on.

… It’s not about the film, or the book, anymore?

Not at all. Young journalists, particularly young American journalists, would turn up in Pnohm Pehn, get a press card, because they were easy to get, and before you know it, they were on the front line reporting the war with the Khmer Rouge, trying to sell a story.

Some of those people were my friends, trying to become journalists. I did that myself, a bit too. Some of them were bizarre freaks, who wanted to experience what it was like to be on the front line of a, albeit dysfunctional, war. They wanted the feeling that they were recreating the life of some of those famous war correspondents in Vietnam and Cambodia in the ’60s. The journalists of that war, were as much heroes as anybody else.

One of the journalists who went missing in Cambodia, was Sean Flynn. Errol Flynn’s son, who made a couple of crap films, and was a painter, a photographer, then as a journalist got captured by the Khmer Rouge – and by all accounts was executed, and his remains never found.

I thought they found him last year..?

When I was there in 2008, there was still a buzz about this. Hollywood wanted to make a film about Sean Flynn. Matt Dillon was wanting to play the role, but they felt he was too old. I think soon after I left, some one had mounted this expedition to try and find Flynn’s remains and there were all these international news stories claiming they had found them, but they really hadn’t.

He was just one of the many journalists, including many Khmer and Asian journalists, who were killed reporting the conflict, and their remains never found.

The point being, that Flynn, a larger than life figure, is a great example of how reality and pop culture have merged.

Will we meet Max Quinlan again? Is there a sequel in the works?

I have a Quinlan story coming up in an online journal called Noir Nation, that should be out in the next week or so. It features Max trying to find a Vietnamese woman caught up in the illegal sex industry in Melbourne. I have an idea for another novel featuring him in Cambodia, a year after the events in Ghost Money. I would also like to take him to Vietnam; take him to East Timor. There’s a lot of places I’d like to take him.

Thank you very much for your time, Andrew.

* * * * *

Andrew Nette is a writer with a fascination for crime fiction and film, obscure pulp novels and Asia. His first book, Ghost Money, a gritty crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-nineties was published in 2012 by Snubnose Press.

He is one of the founders of Crime Factory Publications a small press specialising in crime fiction, and helps edit it’s on-line magazine Crime Factory. He is also one of the editors of Crime Factory Publication’s second book, Hard Labour, an anthology of short Australian crime fiction, due for release in October 2012.

His short fiction has appeared in a number of print and on-line anthologies.

You can find out more about Andrew at http://www.pulpcurry.com/

Ghost Money

Ghost Money

Author: Andrew Nette
Publisher: Snubnose Press
Published: August 2012

I must admit, I don’t know much about Cambodia or the Khmer Rouge – and therefore Andrew Nette’s debut novel, Ghost Money was a real eye opener for me. It works on many levels – as a history lesson (all the best novels teach you stuff you don’t know), a detective thriller, and a deep explorative character study. Furthermore it is dripping with atmosphere. I know that sounds like a cliché, but I can’t think of a better way to describe the heat, humidity, and smell of South East Asia. While I have to use cliche’s, Nette doesn’t. He lived in Phnom Penh for a few years, and would appear to know the city well, and paints a extremely evocative picture.

The story concerns an ex-cop named Max Quinlan who now works as a detective, tracking down missing persons. In this instance, his case is to track down an Australian businessman named Charles Avery who has disappeared while in the midst of a shady gem stone deal.

As the tale begins, Quinlan, while searching Avery’s hotel apartment in Bangkok, finds the delinquent Australian’s business partner dead. Quinlan suspects Avery of the deed, and clues point to him fleeing to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Quinlan follows the trail, but what he finds is quite a bit more than he bargained for. A normal detective would have cut their losses and returned home safely, but not Quinlan. He is driven by his own demons, and has to see the case through to the end, no matter where it takes him.

At a quick glance, Ghost Money may seem like a stereotypical detective thriller. Anyone who has read Chandler, Spillane, or Corris (as an Australian reference) will recognise the frame work of this story – a missing person case. But that is where the comparison ends. Quinlan doesn’t spout wisecracks. He doesn’t drink. And furthermore comes of second best in every physical encounter (okay he does come out on top once, but only because his opponent falls foul of his own evil scheme – to say more would constitute a spoiler). So while the framework may be familiar to readers of crime fiction, the characters certainly are not. And that is important, as it is the characters who drive the story. Quinlan has his share of back story. He is not a man who arrives on the page, already a hero (that is if you’d call him that). He has flaws and skeletons in his closet. At the end of the book, he is a very different character to the man who started

Once the story kicks into high gear, Quinlan is partnered with a Cambodian named Sarin, who is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, and now works as a translator for a local reporter named Gillies. While Quinlan is the driving force in the story, Sarin is its heart. Cambodia is his country, and the events, and changing political climate, are the things he will have to live with, once the story is over – coupling that with his brutal backstory, and a man emerges who is strong, resourceful and resilient – and if one has to call one of the characters a hero, then Sarin is more deserving of the title.

In this day and age, it is not so surprising that a lot of fiction pays homage to the pop-cultural works that have coloured, and possibly influenced the author on his writer’s journey. They can be films, other works of literature, or even songs. There are a few of these references (or in-jokes) in Ghost Money, however author Andrew Nette, never lets them overtake the story. They are subtle nuggets for the knowing. However, I want to touch briefly on the last quarter of the book, which is an intoxicating roller coaster ride, which not only ties up the disparate plot threads, but immerses the reader noirish nether world of music, surreal dream-like images and literary themes. The run home starts, with Jim Morrison name-checked – from there our protagonists are shunted into the deep dark heart of Cambodia in a helicopter. Next comes the journey down river by boat. It may sound like I am describing Apocalypse Now. While Ghost Money is a very different beast from Coppola’s Vietnam allegory, the comparison is not that far fetched. Apocalypse Now is based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and the story of one man making a journey into a landscape he doesn’t understand, to find a man, but ultimately confronting his own inner demons, which is equally applicable for Ghost Money.

The wash-up is, Ghost Money is a noirish detective story, the likes of which you’ve never read before. As I said at the top, the framework is something very familiar, but the trip itself is a wild roller-coaster ride that will take you places you’ve never been and teach you things about the world that you were never taught – all of this in a package that’s damnably readable, and thoroughly entertaining.

Ghost Money


Author: Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (Reprint edition)
Published: 1997

I have a hand-written list on the fridge of items that I should own, but don’t. Mostly it’s mainstream films that I have never bothered to pick up. They are easy to find, and often turn up on TV. Generally, these are the items that I am almost embarrassed to say that I don’t have a copy of. For example, I do not own any of the Terminator films. Now I love the Terminator. I went and saw the original about four times at various cinemas across the state. But I don’t have a copy of any of them (I, II, III or Salvation). But I have no doubt they will come into my life again, and at that time I will cross them off the list.

Funnily enough, there is only one book on the list (and it is still on the list). It is The Hunter, by Richard Stark. Point Blank is one of my favourite films, and I find it embarrassing that I have never read the book. But I always keep my eye out for it. I know in this modern world, it is easy enough to get on the web – but I am kind of old fashioned when it comes to books. I like scrounging through second hand book shops. Anyway, the thing is, I have never found a copy.

But, the other day, in the centre-court of my local shopping-town there was a book sale, and one of the titles going cheap was Comeback. I almost didn’t pick it up – but then thought, ‘David – you’ve had The Hunter on your list for so long now, why don’t you just get Comeback. Try Richard Stark out. See if you like him. If you do, then continue to search for The Hunter.

So that’s how Comeback came into my life – and my introduction to the character Parker (He doesn’t have a first name.). And I thought it was a really good book. The first three-quarters where damn good, it is only towards the end, that the story sort of fizzles out. But talking to fellow Melbournite, Andrew Nette, from Pulp Curry – a man well versed in all things criminal, and a man who knows his Parker – he suggests go to the start of the series, written in the early 1960s. Read the early books. And I will.

But today, let’s briefly look at Comeback, which was the first Parker novel in 23 years (the last being Butcher’s Moon in 1974). Parker is a career criminal, and as the story opens, he has teamed up with George Liss, Ed Mackey to rob William Archibald. Archibald is a big time TV evangelist, and he holds Christian Crusades at football stadiums, where his flock attend and hand over large amounts of cash in donations.

Parker and his team intend to relieve Archibald of this money. And they have help too. A guy on the inside, named Tom Carmody. Carmody is actually a good-guy, not a crook. He has simply become frustrated with Archibald’s lifestyle. That is to say, Archibald doesn’t use the money for the betterment of his flock and society. He uses the money to live high on the hog.

So Carmody teams up with some crooks to teach Archibald a lesson. And Carmody intends to use his share, to do some actual good. As you probably can imagine, Carmody, is way over his head. And during the robbery is knocked out by Liss.

Parker, Liss and Mackey make their getaway, and hole up waiting for the heat to die down. But Liss is the type who doesn’t play well with others. He tries to steal all the loot for himself, and shoot Parker and Mackey. Luckily Parker had the foresight to unload all the weapons beforehand.

Liss flees, rightfully fearing retribution from his colleagues. But he doesn’t go too far. He didn’t get what he came for – the money. And so he watches and waits, looking for an opportunity to step into the picture once more and claim, what he believes is rightfully his.

As I alluded to up above, the majority of the book is fast paced and gripping to read. It is only the final physical confrontation between Liss and Parker that lets the story down. It is not helped by the fact, there is no doubt that Parker will win, so there’s a lack concern about his fate – which is a shame because the setup is so good.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still recommend this book – but if you are like me, and are new to the world of Parker, then maybe we should go back to the beginning and take it from the top.