Little Black Dress - Loren D. Estleman Peter Macklin, Estleman's hitman creation, in this fifth of the series, has married and his Laurie, his wife knows about his previous life. Laurie’s mother, a bitchy bookstore owner has taken up with Ben Grinnell who unbeknownst to her also comes from the mobster side of life.

"How'd you meet, in the bookstore?" Laurie sipped her iced tea-the Midwestern variety, without alcohol. She and Macklin had agreed beforehand to stay sober. "No, he picked me up in a bar." Macklin got directions and went into the kitchen for napkins to clean up Laurie's spill. He came hack during the explanation. "-to see your face. It was worth it. I was sitting with friends in the lounge at Banbury Cross; that's the golf course that went in after Otto Pederson sold his hundred and sixty acres and moved to California. Marvelous scene.

Peter is trying to retire having ostensibly sold a chain of camera stores but after meeting Grinnell, realizes something is weird with the guy and does a little research. Grinnell in the meantime has been casing joints for some mobsters who have been knocking off video stores. One of these having gone bad they decided to focus on bookstores as places for some ready cash (instantly dating this book.) And guess which bookstore is next on their list?

Peter may remind some readers of Richard Stark’s Parker and there are similarities. Both have an amoral cynicism and distrust for the motives of others. Both have now been “saddled” with the complications and responsibilities of a wife (an encumbrance.) Estleman adds a further ingredient to the mix in this book in the character of Grinnell who also discovers that trying to leave the life can be deadly.

Hard to beat Eastleman for solid dialogue and entertainment.