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John Dortmunder, anti-hero of such comic crime classics as The Hot Rock and Good Behavior , returns home at dawn after another failed burglary. He is horrified to find his apartment occupied by an old cellmate everyone supposed (and hoped) had been locked up for life. Tom Jinson needs Dortmunder's help. Nearly thirty years ago, before his last prison stretch, Tom pulled a big job up near Albany. A very big job. His partners ran into some "trouble" and Tom was left with the entire $700,000. He buried the money in a small, upstate valley town. And while Tom sat in jail, the state of New York turned the valley into a reservoir. The stash is now under three feet of dirt and fifty feet of water. Being the nasty sort of fellow that he is, Tom's plan is to blow up the dam, flood the surrounding countryside, and grab the cash. With the fate of 900 small-town nobodies hanging in the balance, it falls to Dortmunder to formulate an alternate plan for retrieving the loot. Dortmunder takes the plunge. And fails. He successfully dissuades the group from attempting to burn off the water with a huge laser. He makes another attempt. And then another, as Tom's dynamite finger gets itchier and itchier.
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