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Dirty Money Hardcover – April 23, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
Book 24 of 24 in the Parker Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Master thief Parker wraps up some unfinished business in this entertaining if relatively lackluster entry in this long-running crime series from the pseudonymous Stark (aka MWA Grand Master Donald Westlake). Lots went wrong after Parker and two partners robbed an armored car in rural Massachusetts of $2.2 million in 2004's Nobody Runs Forever. The money was "poisoned" (i.e., marked); one of his partners was captured before killing a marshal and escaping; and bounty-hunter Sandra Loscalzo wants to cut herself in on the take. The pragmatic, quick-thinking Parker must find a way to retrieve the stashed haul he and his confederates left in Massachusetts without getting caught by the law or nibbled to death by other crooks. Stark handles the criminal aspects of his tale with his usual panache, but some fans will find Parker's trademark sharp edge less in evidence this outing. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

In Nobody Runs Forever (2004), Stark’s intrepid thief Parker and two accomplices waylay a caravan of armored cars carrying a bank’s entire cash assets. But a fast police response forces them to hide the money and hope to recover it later, when the heat dies down. The problems that plagued the heist continue in Dirty Money. One of the crooks is captured but escapes by killing a federal marshal, and Parker and his remaining accomplice, abetted by a female bounty hunter who deals herself in, must return to the scene of a crime crawling with local, state, and federal cops to recover the money before their former ally is recaptured and rats them out. Even worse, every serial number on the stolen bills is recorded, and if they succeed, they might net a dollar for every 10. Stark, aka Donald Westlake, seems to be drawing from his delightful criminal-caper-gone-wrong Dortmunder novels here, but the hard-edged Parker is as resolute and dangerous as ever, and the faithful will stand beside him through every step of this typically involved and entertaining novel. --Thomas Gaughan

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (April 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446178586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446178587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Detailed yet fast-moving crime tale delivers the goods, satisfyingly and often violently wrapping up the loose ends from the last two "Parker" books, "Nobody Runs Forever" (which ends in a great cliff hanger) and "Ask the Parrot".

The "Parker" novels only reveal characters' traits and personalities through their responses to plot developments (there are no breaks in the plot to show what characters do during a quiet night at home, for instance), and this novel is no exception. Having said that, we do get a few new chords in the song this time out, to keep things interesting. For one thing, we get to see a lot more of Parker's girlfriend (or possibly wife, for all we know) Claire, who actually helps out with the caper in progress. And there's also an entertaining female bounty hunter, Sandra Loscalzo, who's part of the gang this time. Sandra's amusing banter (which even makes the stoic Parker crack a small smile from time to time) adds another layer to the book, but not to the point of softening the hardboiled nature of the proceedings (thankfully).

I did like the fact that Parker is actually allowed an outright laugh line this time out, positioned as the last line in the book, no less. But don't worry; though very funny, it's an edgy, noir-ish bit of humor very much in tone with the dark flavor of this excellent crime series.

Note to fellow Amazon Kindle users: The book reads excellently on the Kindle, which is also offering the previously mentioned "Nobody Runs Forever" and "Ask the Parrot". So you're all set to enjoy the entire three-book epic. And by the time you're finished, maybe a few other "Parker" novels will make their way onto Kindle (right now, "Firebreak" is the only other one available). But, really, you don't need to read these books in order.
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Format: Hardcover
Parker, Richard Stark's professional thief, returns in another noir tale of crime. This is a sequel to "Nobody Runs Forever" and Stark (aka Donald Westlake) assumes the reader has read the book, and recently, at that.

In the previous book, Parker, McWhitney, and Dalesia robbed an armored car in Massachusetts of $2 million in sequential bills, stashed the money in an abandoned church and escaped. Dalesia tried to spend some of the money and was caught. Taken back to Massachusetts, he killed a US Marshal and escaped. Parker's cover identity as Charles Willis was blown. A corrupt private eye named Sandra Loscalzo is involved in some way on Parker's side.

When the books begins, it's been a week since the robbery and Parker and McWhitney have two problems, how to get their stolen money past police roadblocks and to deal with Dalesia, who might trade their money and identities to the police for a lighter sentence if he's caught. In addition, McWhitney has some unexplained grudge against Dalesia.

Additional complications arise as others decide to cut themselves in on Parker's money. As always, that proves to be a major mistake.

Stark is the master of hard-boiled crime novels. After the first sixteen, Parker disappeared for thirteen years until his return in "Comeback". Although still better than most crime novels, I think the older Parker books are, on par, about half a star better than than the new ones. The core of the books, some kind of intricate crime, is missing in this one. Retrieving a stack of boxes from a church failed to lift my pulse as a McGuffin. Parker is given no opportunity to create the clockwork plan that is his forte.
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Format: Hardcover
Parker (one name only) is a professional thief. He's been played in the movies by Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. He's always tough, always a real hardcase, and he doesn't give up on anything. In short, he's my kind of anti-hero.

I first made his acquaintance when I was a kid haunting the long book aisles of Conda's Swap Shop, a place where you could find books, hub caps, tools, and car parts. It was the kind of noir place with wooden floors and big sweeping fans. I always thought it was the kind of place where you'd find a man like Parker when he was trying to hide out. For fifteen cents, I picked up Parker novels. It was a steal at that price, and I read those books often.

The books carry the byline, Richard Stark. But that's just a pseudonym for Donald Westlake, who's known more for his comedic novels than the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of Parker. If you read books under Westlake's name, you may be surprised to see the difference in the writing styles. Somewhere deep inside, Westlake has the soul of a professional thief. I'm glad that he's starting letting Parker out to play again.

DIRTY MONEY picks up with Parker trying to get money from a past armored car robbery that he didn't quite get away with in NOBODY RUNS FOREVER. The last few Parker books have been tied tightly together but spaced two years apart. It's an interesting take, but I like seeing new faces in the Parker books.

The way a Parker novel normally works is this: The reader meets Parker and some of the people he's going to be using on the job, almost like a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE scenario. Then the job gets explained. Then the opposition shows up. Invariably, something goes haywire in the job.
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