The Seventh

This book is a short 156 pages of excellent hardboiled crime fiction. It opens in a crazy scene with Parker returning from a ten-minute trip to the liquor store for beer and cigarettes only to return to Ellie’s apartment (some girl he was staying with) to find her still sitting naked and cross-legged on the bed, but now with a long sword through her chest and pinned to the wall behind her. All the loot that has not yet been divided into sevenths is gone.

Within thirty seconds as Parker takes in the scene, the police arrive and, not only see the body, but see the closet filled with machine guns. In the few brief moments he was gone, someone killed the girl, took the loot, and set Parker up to take the fall with the cops and to take the fall with his six partners who aren’t going to believe that Parker lost the loot just like that.

Thus begins a taut, nasty little thriller with Parker racing around trying to find the killer and the loot while the killer plays sniper and takes potshots at Parker from nearby locations. The whole setup for the football game robbery is played out and it is a doozy. There are great scenes in this one as Parker works to convince his partners of his innocence and nearly succeeds. There are great scenes of where his partners have holed up. And, Parker trying to cooperate with the homicide detective, a mutual interest in finding the real killer, you know.

This book feels just like a movie as it unfolds and it would not be surprising if it was planned to be one. Usually by the seventh book, most series start to go stale and peter out. Not this one. Westlake (Stark) is at his best here even when it gets a bit comical. Well, comical for a Parker novel. The only fault with this one is that it is such a quick read, leaving the reader wanting for more.


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