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Dirty Money Hardcover – April 23, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on July 8, 2008
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 Verified Purchase
This is the twenty-fourth and final volume in Richard Stark's excellent long-running series featuring Parker, a cold, amoral, methodical criminal. Parker was almost always involved in a gang of crooks that had been pulled together for some specific job, usually a robbery of some sort. In each of these capers, it always turned out that some of the gang members were more dependable than others; there was usually a weak link or a turn of bad luck somewhere along the way, and Parker would have to scramble, using all of his resources, to save himself and as much of the loot as possible.

Parker was always the most competent and often the deadliest man among the thieves and others he partnered with. He did what needed to be done, and if that involved leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, well then, that was just what the job demanded. No hard feelings.

Along the way, Stark (a pseudonym for master crime writer Donald Westlake) took an extented break from the Parker books between 1974's Butcher's Moon, the sixteenth book in the series, and 1997's Comeback, the seventeenth. The earlier books tended to be leaner and cut closer to the bone. The later ones are not quite so spare and Parker might be just a tad softer. They are still a lot of fun, but the first sixteen are grittier and generally better.

In the twenty second book, Nobody Runs Forever, Parker and his confederates knocked over an armored car that was carrying a little over two million dollars from one bank to another. But the law moved in so swiftly that the gang could not get away with the money. They were forced to stash it in the choir loft of an abandoned rurual church.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All good things come to an end. For us fans of the Donald Westlake/Richard Stark Parker crime series, Dirty Money is the last in the series of 24. I read them all.

Dirty Money is the third of a modern trilogy starting with Nobody Runs Forever followed by Ask the Parrot. Yes, suggest that you should read them in order

Here’s what makes the Trilogy series different than the earlier Parker series: first is women in roles important to the story, and second is technology. In the earlier series, technology played no meaningful part in Parker’s crimes and police attempts to capture him. There were no cell phones, Internet, online police cars, online credit card fraud checks, problems transporting weapons, and few cameras.

Most importantly in the older series, Parker easily remained anonymous living off the proceeds of the last job (not all of them succeeded). Parker would return to work only when he needed money. He recognized the risk of his profession--separating other people from their money--and was the consummate professional managing the risk of capture.

In Dirty Money, Parker’s identify is blown and he goes to great length (and expense) to establish a new identity. So we learn how new identities can be created (it is difficult and expensive), and how “Dirty Money”--marked money--is laundered for a fee. Millions of marked money is useless…unless it can be laundered.

Parker is the consummate pragmatist. In Dirty Money, we learn another side of Parker: He decides to do business with people who previously tried to kill him (they eventually regretted it) because there is something in it for both of them. They’re mutually suspicious of course.
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