Stoic professional thief Parker joins a large crew for an unusual job: rob an entire town. The heist is organized by Edgars, an amateur. Parker is suspicious of him at first, but since fellow thief Paulus vouches for him, Parker goes along with it. But not without first making a few suggestions to improve the plan.
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The town of Copper Canyon, North Dakota, has only one road and one rail line in and out of the city. It's a small town, but it has a bank and a jewelry store and a mining company with a whole week's payroll in its safe, so there's a good score waiting for the crew. Edgars is very enthusiastic about the job, and knows a lot of details about the town, down to the number of fire trucks and how many police officers work the night shift.
The crew moves in at night and splits into three groups. Edgars and another thief hold the two night-duty police officers at gunpoint while Parker and the others move across the town, ransacking shops and cleaning out the bank.
Everything is going fine until Edgars loses it and kills the cop. He leaves the police station and heads across town, tossing hand grenades into buildings and watching the explosions. With the fire trucks hobbled and the police dispatch operation shut down, fires spread rapidly. Parker returns to the police station and finds out from a relative of an officer, who called to see if he was safe, that Edgars is the town's former police chief who was thrown out of office. The whole job was his plan for revenge.
Edgars dies in the fire and the surviving members of the crew get out of town just before the state police arrive. They spend several days in the hideout, waiting for the heat to die down. Paulus gets antsy and tries to leave early, but Parker kills him. After a few more days, the crew splits the take and gets away scot-free.
Best part of story, including ending:
This heist is more complicated than the ones Parker has pulled before, so it's entertaining to see how he handles the challenge. It's a good plan that works well until one of the crew blows it up.
Best scene in story:
When Parker is first told about the plan, he tells the other thieves, "I'm out." Then they spend a lot of energy trying to convince Parker that it's a good job after all, it can be done, don't leave! Whether he's serious about quitting the job or not, the result is that Parker earns the other thieves' respect and makes himself a sought-after quantity by forcing them to convince him to participate.
Opinion about the main character:
Parker appears to be the kind of man a lot of men want to emulate: he's extremely good at what he does, he doesn't put up with any BS, and he does almost anything he wants to. But that comes with a dark side, since he's willing to kill anyone who gets in his way, even if murder isn't always necessary.