The Buffalo Job, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

knowles

Wilson, a professional criminal who calls himself a “fixer,“ isn’t too keen on his latest job: stealing a painting from an art gallery. The problem is the three kids who hire him and who have already tried (and failed) to do the job themselves, botching it so spectacularly that they nearly killed a guy. But the money’s good, so Wilson pulls off the heist—and almost immediately discovers that the job was really an audition. Seems one of the kids has an uncle who wants Wilson to steal a valuable violin, a much trickier task. Wilson puts the job together, but let’s just say it doesn’t go off without a hitch; Wilson nabs the fiddle, but now he must deal with some people willing to commit murder to get their hands on it themselves. Fans of Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels (written under his Richard Stark pseudonym) will be on familiar ground here. But this isn’t an imitation: Knowles has his own voice and wisely doesn’t try to sound like Westlake. This is a very good entry in a very good series.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, June 2014

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