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.
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 OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved