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Backflash - Richard Stark When a retired bureaucrat told Parker about the job, it sounded like a good score; rob a riverboat casino and take nearly half a million dollars, cash. Only other people know what's going down and want the money for themselves. And what's in it for the bureaucrat anyway? Will Parker finish the job with his money and his life intact?

Parker's back and still up to the same old tricks. I wonder how much money he's stolen and spent over the years. As always, the plan is both believable and well-executed. Dan Wicza, Noelle, Mike Carlow and Lou Sternberg all return to give Parker a hand. Cathman, the guy who tipped Parker to the job, is an odd bird and I was glad he got what was coming to him. I really liked the way Parker came up with to get the money off the boat. The bit with Parker and Ray at the end was by far the most intense part of the book. Parker was poised like a serpent, ready to strike. You knew it wasn't going to be pretty when he did and it wasn't.

But Dan, you ask. You've only given this a 3? What gives? I'll tell you, Arnold. My problem with Backflash was the same as my problem with Comeback. It read a lot more like a Donald Westlake novel than a Richard Stark. Some of the economy of the prose was gone. It felt a little watered down, like I was drinking a MGD 64 instead of a Miller Genuine Draft. I know I shouldn't expect Westlake to be the same writer he was at the time of the original Parker run but it's definitely noticeable.

Other than that, I don't have any complaints. It was a solid caper and a worthwhile entry in the Parker series.