*Perry, Thomas. Strip. An Otto Penzler Book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. May 2010. c.352p. ISBN 978-0-15-101522-1. $26.00. Fiction
Former bar owner Joe Carver has come to L.A. with a new identity and lots of cash only to find that thugs hired by low-level mobster Manco Kapak are out to get him. Carver has been mistakenly fingered as the person behind the armed robbery of Kapak’s night deposit, a hefty sum used in part to launder drug profits, only the first of many hits the gangster will absorb from a masked gunman. Failing to clear his name, Carver counterattacks. Along the way, readers meet bigamist detective Nick Slosser, who is juggling the demands of two families and trying to capture the increasingly brazen robber while investigating Kapak for a drug lord's murder. As these and other colorful characters spiral around each other with gripping intensity and one startling twist after the other, the question is: Who’s going down, and who’s getting away? VERDICT Featuring rich, complex characters, Perry’s 18th novel (after Runner) is pure, unadulterated fun, sure to please not only the many fans of this master craftsman but also lovers of imaginative, character-driven thrillers à la Elmore Leonard.