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