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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Two for the Money - Max Allan Collins Bait Money: In order to pay off the Family and get his access to his old cover identity and savings, Nolan takes on a heist no one else would take: a bank, with three amateurs as his crew. Can Nolan pull it off and will the family keep their end of the deal if he does?

According to the afterword, Nolan was created as an homage to Richard Stark's Parker and it shows. Nolan is an older, slightly softer version of Parker. The thing that keeps him from being a Parker ripoff is his relationship with Jon, one of the youngsters that's helping him with the bank heist. There's a little bit of a father-son vibe between them. Grossman and Shelly were a little thin as characters and the angle with Shelly, Nolan, and John was fairly predictable, as was Grossman's reaction. The heist was believable and the car chase was done well. I liked the supporting characters Tillis and Irish. All in all, Bait Money was a solid yarn.

Blood Money: Someone took out The Planner, snatched the money from the bank job, and took Jon hostage, and Nolan goes looking for him. Only all signs point to someone who is supposed to be dead...

Blood Money is a better-crafted story then Bait Money. The action is better, there are more shocking twists, and Collins even works in some parallelism, contrasting the relationship of Nolan and Jon with that of Walter and his father. I caught a Donald Westlake reference early on. Afganistan Banana Stand indeed. The final twist of the story was a jaw dropper. Jon continues to be my favorite character in the series. He's a comic collecting Robin to Nolan's Batman.

So, after reading Two for the Money, I'm prepared to admit that Nolan rose above his roots as a Parker rip-off. I'll be snatching up the rest of the series as I find them. For affordable prices, of course.