Coward's Kiss - Lawrence Block Another Lawrence Block winner (are there any losers?) Called to get rid of a body by his friend Jack Enright (who happens to be married to his sister,) P.I. Ed London retrieves the body from Jack’s love-nest and dumps it in the park. Soon he begins a search for a briefcase loaded ostensibly with stolen diamonds, is attacked by several goons, and manages to sort out multiple double-crosses.

A sample: “I felt only halfway ridiculous holding the gun in one hand while I opened the door. I felt completely ridiculous when the big one knocked it out of my hand. There were two of them—a big one and a small one. The big one was very big, a little taller than I am and a hell of a lot wider. He had a boxer's flattened nose and a cretin idiot's fixed stare. His jacket was stretched tight across huge shoulders. His eyes were small and beady and his forehead was wide and dull. The small one wasn't really that small—he looked small because he was standing next to a human mountain. He wore a hat and a suit and a tie. He had his hands in his pants pockets and he was smiling. "Inside," he said. "Move." I didn't move.”

Please note this was originally published as Coward’s Kiss.. Early Block, but already the signs of his genius are apparent.