Five Star, Feb 2008, $25.95
Thieves Jerry Lang and Gloria Pavlich are doing one last caper before retiring. They are to steal a five million dollar painting “Self Portrait” by Isaac Leviathan from a private collector; then they will give it to their fence Albanian expatriate Hanif “Mittens” Gallega who will sell it. They succeed in taking the painting, but when they get to their hotel, thugs greet them. In the melee that follows, Jerry shoots one of his assailants, but watches his beloved leading lady vanish. He later learns he killed a cop and is convicted of such.
In prison, Jerry escapes four assassination attempts. His last one has him sharing a hospital room with a corpse that he uses to escape his incarceration. He is coming for Hanif while remaining unaware someone has assigned Delta Force Domestic Major Cliff Hartung to insure he does not get close to one of his agency’s “toys”. At the Casbah, Jerry meets college student dancer Letitia Hudson, who gets caught in the middle of a local war.
This exhilarating crime caper is not for the cozy crowd as Jerry, feeling guilt for accepting one last job over Gloria’s objection, proves quite efficient in dispatching enemies in a violent manner. The story line is fast-paced as Letitia becomes Jerry’s new LEADING LADY and Hanif his crash dummy. Although how Hartung and his two deadly soldiers fit into the plot comes very late with quite a revelation, readers will appreciate Heywood Gould’s wild Noir.