I love caper books. If they are done well, a reader can savor the finesse with which the crooks pull off their heist. "Flashfire" begins with a teaser heist. Then comes the double-cross. Of course, the re-cross has to follow, in this case with a (darkly) humorous twist. Lastly, there is the grand heist and the final accounting, and that's not referring to just the loot.
Parker runs a small heist in Nebraska with a group men with whom he has never worked. They ask him to participate in a larger theft in Florida. When he refuses, the group takes most of Parker's share of the heist money to finance their big job, definitely against his will. Just borrowing it, the group insists. And that buys the group a whole lot of trouble.
Parker has to finance his revenge, so we see him pull off a few solo jobs to make his nut. He controls as much as he can, but in the end, he has to rely on others in various ways. One of them, a real estate agent in Miami, Leslie Mackenzie, provides unintentional impediments to his scheme. Parker can juke with the best of them after a few spanners are tossed into the works and he has to come up with on-the-spot resolutions. So much cleverness packed into 278 pages!
Stark takes the time to flesh out a few of his side characters -- Leslie, most notably. Also, a portrait of an aging Florida society dame, while not necessary to the plot, adds luster to the book.
Stark weaves quiet pathos and desperation into his story. It's those tiny lights that illuminate his book.