Why did I love this book?
I had the good fortune to meet Thomas Perry at a writers' conference a few years back. Perry is best known for fast-paced thrillers such as The Butcher's Boy, the Jane Whitefield series, and The Old Man.
On the topic of comic crime fiction, he observed that violent crime is serious business that's difficult to treat with levity. Perry tried it in his second novel. Published in 1983, Metzger's Dog follows Chinese Gordon and his gang as they romp through the southern California desert—blowing things up. Their target is a medical facility with a million dollars worth of cocaine. The heist goes perfectly, except Chinese Gordon also snatches a folder of documents that detail the CIA's meddling with foreign governments. Naturally the feds want those docs back—with extreme prejudice.