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The perfect crime goes awry in W.R. Burnett´s tough and brutally wise 1949 novel The Asphalt Jungle, and the problem is, in the end, human nature. Told in 40 short, blunt but richly atmospheric chapters, the novel meticulously details the planning and execution of a major jewel heist. The robbery is devised by Doc Reimenschneider, a master criminal just out of prison. It requires the involvement of a variety of different people, from the muscle -- an itinerant hood named Dix, an overgrown country boy lost in the city -- to the fence, a successful but sleazy lawyer named Alonzo Emmerich. The ever-growing cast of characters in this can´t-miss scheme will ultimately be its downfall, though, in an atmosphere where suspicion and double-cross destroy the pipe dreams of each of the participants.