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Springer's Gambit: A Cole Springer Mystery Hardcover – June 25, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mystery veteran Ripley, author of the Wyatt Storme series, has a winning new hero in Cole Springer, smart-mouthed, piano-playing Aspen saloonkeeper and wily former Secret Service agent. With a keen ear for cop and criminal patois, and a penetrating eye for ironic personal foibles both reminiscent of Elmore Leonard Ripley puts the reader right in the middle of this conflict of tough guys hopelessly out of place in the pristine ski resort town. When mob money-launderer Max Shapiro is diagnosed with terminal cancer and only six weeks to live, he comes up with a plan that redefines assisted suicide: he tells San Francisco wiseguy wannabe Nicky Tortino that he won't be paying him off anymore. Fortunately (or in this case, unfortunately), the doctor has made a mistake, and Max is going to live at least until Nicky's boys get their hands on him. Hiding out in Aspen, Max and his girlfriend, Suzi Carr, persuade Springer, short on cash and with his bar facing foreclosure, to protect him. Max soon begins to wonder if maybe he'd be better off dead, as Springer's sharp tongue and unpredictability are wearing. State, federal and local police including Tobi Ryder and "FBI lounge lizard" Jack Summers, bickering ex-lovers assigned to Max's case become involved when killers of varying degrees of accomplishment begin arriving from the coast to finish Max off, but Springer has a plan to deal their way out. Ripley creates some colorful characters most of whom dislike one another and provides them with enough history to keep them interesting. Plenty of politically incorrect wisecracking and a suspenseful, fast-moving plot suggest that this will be the first of many entertaining outings for Cole Springer. (June)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This one's going to be fun. You can tell when Max Shapiro, Aspen real-estate mogul and money launderer, finds out he has cancer and decides not to pay off the Mob anymore. Then he finds out it isn't cancer, but, damn, it's too late to call off the hit man. He hires Cole Springer, ex-Secret Service agent turned piano player, to protect him, but Springer thinks Max is a jerk. He is, but a lovable one, just like the rest of the cast: hitman Gerry Knucks, who's tired of taking orders from small-time Mobster Nicky; Suzy Carr, Max's no-nonsense girlfriend who kind of likes Knucks; and Tobi Ryder, Colorado state cop, who kind of likes Springer. Before you can say screwball caper, Springer has hatched a plot to steal a wad of stolen Mob money, using Max as bait. Knucks and Suzi are game, but Tobi presents a problem. The plot keeps you guessing, the banter keeps you laughing, and the sexual chemistry keeps you hoping. Don't these guys know they're supposed to be in an Elmore Leonard novel? Pray that Ripley holds onto them long enough to get a series going. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (June 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312274564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312274566
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,060,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

W. L. Ripley is the critically-acclaimed author of the Cole Springer and Wyatt Storme mysteries. The author is a former college basketball coach and retired educator.

Ripley lives in Western Missouri with his wife, Penny, and their small army of dogs. He is a loving father and very proud grandfather.

Ripley has announced that a new Wyatt Storme novel, STORME WARNING, will be released by Brash Books in February 2015.

Connect with W. L. Ripley on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/W-L-Ripley/101365683386954?ref=stream

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
You can't put this one down. As funny as Robert B. Parker (whose blurb graces the cover) and as gritty and real as Elmore Leonard with dialogue that crackles and action that sizzles. Cole Springer, a new and enigmatic tough guy, holds off the bad guys while protecting himself and mob money-launderer, Max Shapiro, from mob-killers and the FBI. How he manages to pull this off makes for a slam-bang ending. Hard-boiled and fast-moving, this one fills the bill. Very satisfying. Aspen, Colorado makes for an exotic setting for thugs, unethical feds, and a mob hitman with a mid-life crisis who is one of the most unique and complex fiction characters of recent years. 'Gambit' contains two unwittingly hilarious thugs (Auteen and Ray Dean) a couple of tough guys who are the Abbot and Costello of the underworld and will have you laughing (and cringing) at each appearance. A must read for any serious crime fiction fan. This is the start of a series and is set to be released by MGM as a motion picture starring Kurt Russell. You'll find this ride a roller coaster of danger and laughter. Ripley is fast becoming one of the best mystery writers around. You'll be glad you picked up this one and will look forward to the next installment (Due out in February 2004).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In California, his doctor informs realtor Max Shapiro that he has inoperable cancer and will die in six weeks. After years of laundering money for mobster Nick Tortino, Max decides he no longer cares what happens to himself. He informs Nick T's torpedo Gerry Knucks he is no longer playing or paying. Nick takes it as a sign of lost respect and sends two henchmen to kill Max, who has moved to Aspen.

Max's doctor calls to tell him he made a mistake that the realtor suffers from indigestion. Still, he does not want to return to the fold of Nick T so his girlfriend Suzi Carr recommends he hire a bodyguard. She selects former secret service agent Cole Springer. With the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation watching Max, Cole agrees to protect the man because he needs the cash, crack houses are not making enough money to rob and he likes the style of Suzi, even if he dislikes his client. Soon all the players are in Aspen, but how the play ends is anyone's guess because no one knows who is directing the action.

SPRINGER'S GAMBIT is an amusing thriller that starts at a SST speed and accelerates even faster until the novel is finished. The story line seems like the Sopranos starring in The Sting. The cast is fully developed so that the audience understands the motives of all the key cast members. However, it is Cole who serves as the cortex that brings everyone and every subplot together. W.L. Ripley writes a fantastic tale that will send new fans to try his Wyatt Storme series.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Bowes on October 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The writer, who has obviously worked at creating a breezy, humorous style, has created a fun read. His hero is entertainingly dangerous and the dialogue sparkles. The ending is somewhat of a let down, but I'm going looking for his earlier efforts anyway.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Kern VINE VOICE on June 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When Max Shapiro finds out he’s dying of cancer, he decides to quit his job as a money launderer for the mob and to spend his last few weeks spending some of his hard earned money. Well you don’t just quit the mob. While living in Aspen, he finds out he’s been misdiagnosed and actually has no cancer at all. He turns to Cole Springer, an ex-secret service agent, for protection. Unfortunately, Springer desperately needs the money to avoid the bank repossessing his tavern, and takes the job. The action begins.
This novel was great fun to read. A sort of Elmore Leonard/Bill Fitzhugh mix, that’s filled with unique characters. Ray Dean and Auteen, two mismatched thugs, were a riot to listen too. Max Shapiro had the Joe Pesci type personality from Lethal Weapon, which was hilarious. Then of course there is Cole Springer, a hero who’s hard not to like.
Great dialogue and nonstop entertainment filled with just the right amount of humor, makes this crime drama fun to read. W.L. Ripley will go on my must read list.
Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By archer on September 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
W.L. Ripley is a wonderful addition to the Elmore Leonard school of novels. Great characters, great plot, and a driving pace. Highly recommended.
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