Rocks Beat Pa­per By Mike Knowles ECW, 296 pages, $17.95

The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS -

The central fig­ure in this novel by Hamil­ton writer Mike Knowles, is a thief and killer with nerve, brains and a sin­gle name, Wil­son. Wil­son owes much to Parker, the one-named rob­ber/mur­derer in the late Don­ald E. West­lake’s riv­et­ing se­ries writ­ten un­der the pen name of Richard Stark.

If Knowles’s work hasn’t yet climbed to Stark ter­ri­tory, he’s on his way. His plot­ting is even more in­tri­cate than Stark’s, though his writ­ing isn’t as smooth and con­vinc­ing. The novel is set in New York City where Wil­son has as­sem­bled a crew to pull a com­pli­cated heist in Man­hat­tan’s di­a­mond dis­trict. When the planned rob­bery goes off the rails, as it does more than once, Wil­son needs to re­work the de­tails on the fly. In the course of all the im­pro­vis­ing, Wil­son of­fers readers a highly en­ter­tain­ing text­book on the tricky and of­ten vi­o­lent art of iden­ti­fy­ing and steal­ing the world’s most price­less jew­elry.

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