Aspen-- the American Riviera-- where the rich and the beautiful go to play. Quiet streets, breathtaking mountains, and one of the lowest crime rates in America. But that's about to change.
Real estate speculator Max Shapiro has been cleaning the San Francisco mob's money for three decades. Then the hammer drops-- he's dying of cancer and is on borrowed time. Resentful of the mob's hold and not wishing to die with an IV hose in his arm, Max tells the mob he isn't paying any more tribute, hoping they'll send someone to kill him. While vacationing in Aspen, however, Max gets a call from his doctor. Good news. Max isn't dying after all. But it's too late to call off the mob's killers. Max's only hope is the enigmatic Cole Springer-- an ex-Secret Service agent with a penchant for creative thinking-- broke and in danger of losing his Aspen nightclub. Shapiro needs a bodyguard and Springer needs money, so they cut a protection deal. Enter Gerry "Knucks" Nugent, a cerebral and deadly hit man in the midst of a midlife crisis who has been sent to kill Shapiro.
A mob boss dies in 'Frisco, there is a struggle for power, and an emergency cache of three million dollars ends up in the hands of Nicky Tortino, a merciless Bay Area crime lord. The shift in the underworld command sends shock waves rippling across the western United States, affecting even Shapiro and Nugent.
Meanwhile, Springer's active mind runs to larger themes than merely protecting Shapiro, and he begins to formulate a scheme to save Shapiro and get his hands on the three million. Springer's scam depends upon recruiting Nugent, and Nugent is widely feared-- even by his ruthless bosses on the West Coast.
Bay Area underboss Nicky Tortino travels to Aspen to get Shapiro to launder the three million, and also to have both Springer and Shapiro killed. The law closes in and Springer is running out of time and options. Beset on all sides, Springer designs an elaborate sting to extricate Shapiro and himself from the deadly web that has formed around them. But can he trust Nugent?
About W. L. Ripley
See more books from this Author
Published June 25, 2001
by Minotaur Books.
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction.