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Plunder Squad: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels) Paperback – September 1, 2010


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Plunder Squad: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels) + Butcher's Moon: A Parker Novel + Slayground: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)
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Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
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Product Details

  • Series: Parker Novels
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780226770932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226770932
  • ASIN: 0226770931
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
(Stephen King Entertainment Weekly)

“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”
(William Grimes New York Times)

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”
(Elmore Leonard)

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
(John Banville Bookforum)

“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
(Marilyn Stasio New York Times Book Review)

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”
(Washington Post)

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”
(Los Angeles Times)

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”
(Lawrence Block)

“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call roman noirs.”
(Anthony Boucher New York Times Book Review)

"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
(Luc Sante New York Review of Books)

"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."
(Terry Teachout Commentary)

"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."
(John McNally Virginia Quarterly Review)

"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."
(Josef Braun Vue Weekly)

"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."
(Terry Teachout Commentary)

“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”
(H. J. Kirchoff Globe and Mail)

About the Author

Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008), a prolific author of noir crime fiction. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society’s highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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The story is so intriguing that I couldn't put it down.
Opa Wayne
This is yet another novel of the Parker series by Richard Stark, and as fascinating as others in the series.
Amazon Customer
If you like crime thrillers and hard-boiled novels, this one is a must-read.
Collin D. Freeman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joe Kenney on January 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unlike the linear "Slayground," the previous volume in the Parker series, Plunder Squad's all over the map. The first half of the book almost reads like a few short stories, linked by Parker's on-going search for someone who tried to kill him. We follow along as Parker goes from one botched job to the next, all the while waiting for any information that will bring him closer to his target.
Once that thread's taken care of, the second half of the book kicks in, and here Parker almost becomes a secondary character. We meet and follow his associates in an art heist, one which starts off fairly well but goes downhill fast. The mob gets involved, and Parker has to figure out a way to get out with both some money and his life.
A quick, enjoyable read, but more of a dark comedy than a crime caper. Doesn't have nearly as much action as "Slayground," but then again it has a more dynamic narrative.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Collin D. Freeman on November 13, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of the original Parker novels by Richard Stark (a.k.a. Donald Westlake), this is one of the best ("The Hunter", "The Score", and "The Sour Lemon Score" being 3 others that round out the top 4). It is the next-to-the-last book in the series' original run and is a joy to read from beginning to end. It starts off as usual with a heist gone bad and then moves along at a quick pace, aided by a series of vignettes that ultimately brings Parker back in touch with a man he left alive who betrayed him on a previous job, George Uhl (from "The Sour Lemon Score"). The reader doesn't get much time with Uhl in this book, but what makes it so hard to put down is the relentless pursuit of Parker for a) a clean job to make some money, and b) killing Uhl like he should have done in the first place.

As mentioned by other reviewers, this book does not follow the typical linear path of most of the Parker novels. The first half of the book is like being on a wild amusement park ride, while the second half plays out with more of a true ensemble cast rather than Parker as the typical chief protagonist.

There are wonderful little "Starkonian" bits sprinkled throughout this book. As is already mentioned, a scene appearing in this novel also appears in a Joe Gores DKA book "Dead Skip". An excellent supporting cast surrounds the main character, too: some great use is made of a girlfriend of one of Parker's potential partners in a couple of short scenes. And the ending is a typical, but well-written Parker ending.
If you like crime thrillers and hard-boiled novels, this one is a must-read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William Arnold on August 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's been years since I read Plunder Squad, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Parker/Grofield books in this series by Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake). I recall this being one of the better ones, and I think it was the last to appear in the original series from the '60s and '70s.

An interesting dialog takes place in Plunder Squad, when a private detective named Daniel Kearney shows up at Parker's meeting place for planning the heist. Kearney is looking for one of the other characters, so Parker lets them talk to each other. Kearney is the main character from the DKA series by author Joe Gores, who included this scene in one of his books. In Plunder Squad, the dialog takes place from Parker's viewpoint. In the Joe Gores book (Sorry, I forgot which one it was. I read them decades ago.), the dialog takes place from Kearney's viewpoint. In the Gores book, Kearney even refers to the men as the "Plunder Squad" as he's leaving.

It's the little touches like this that make any of the Richard Stark books interesting to read. You should also look for the books featuring Alan Grofield as the main character. The early Parker books were all reprinted in the mid-1980s, but the Grofield books weren't included in the reprint.

It took decades, but Stark took up the series again in the late 1990s. It was worth the wait.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Opa Wayne VINE VOICE on July 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Plunder Squad Parker is set up to get the biggest payday yet. Our antihero plans to steal 21 valuable paintings worth more than a half million dollars. Considering the large number of guards and the superior electronic alarm system, can Parker do it?

Plunder Squad tells the story of three attempted thefts and one tale of an effort to eliminate an enemy. The story begins with Parker dodging a bullet from an enemy, and ends with him trying to survive a different attack. Parker, known for usually having something go wrong, comments "I'm running a string of bad luck."

Parker has rules that guide whether he will participate in a crime. The first theft attempt violates his rule against including unstable team members. The second idea violates his rule against including a woman who might become involved in a love triangle. The third scheme Parker accepts only after he fixes problems he sees in the set up. Is Parker getting Desperate?

Richard Stark fills the pages of this novel with continual action, re-occurring danger, steady suspense and frequent plot twists. The story is so intriguing that I couldn't put it down. Parker's plan for robbing the art collection is dangerous, and complex but believable. The execution of the art theft is impressive and flawless.

I recommend this story for mystery lovers.
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