A Cole Springer Mystery
By W. L. Ripley
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312274566, 272pp.)
Publication Date: June 2001
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
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?
W. L. Ripley, author of the critically acclaimed Wyatt Storme series, is back with a vengeance in this, his fourth novel. Ripley takes us to three of the most fascinating cities in the American West-- Aspen, Las Vegas, and San Francisco-- in this gritty yet often humorous tale of murder, double-cross, and triple-cross.
"Ripley's latest is undoubtedly his greatest! Springer's Gambit is a high-octane thriller with a refreshingly unusual plot, a wonderful book that's easy to get into and impossible to put down."--Tim Green, author of Outlaws
"Boston has Spenser. South Florida has Travis McGee. Now the New West has Cole Springer-- a two-fisted piano player with a sharp wit and brooding soul. This is the best-written crime novel I've read since the debut of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux."--Ace Atkins, author of Leavin' Trunk Blues
"If you enjoy the kind of crime thriller Elmore Leonard writes so well, then run to buy Springer's Gambit. W. L. Ripley has created a wonderful hero in Cole Springer, as credible as he is contradictory. And the dialogue sparkles, with nearly every scene having a clever reversal in it that approaches poetry. Truly a pleasure to read."--Jeremiah Healy, author of Spiral and The Stalking of Sheilah Quinn