The New York Times
Dirty Money (Parker Series #24)by Richard Stark
--John Banville, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea
Master criminal Parker takes another turn for the worse as he tries to recover loot from a heist gone terribly wrong. In Nobody Runs Forever</i>
"[One] of the greatest writers of the twentieth century...Richard Stark, real name Donald Westlake...His Parker books form a genre all their own."
--John Banville, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea
Master criminal Parker takes another turn for the worse as he tries to recover loot from a heist gone terribly wrong. In Nobody Runs Forever, Parker and two cohorts stole the assets of a bank in transit, but the police heat was so great they could only escape if they left the money behind. In this follow-up novel, Parker and his associates plot to reclaim the loot, which they hid in the choir loft of an unused country church. As they implement the plan, people on both sides of the law use the forces at their command to stop Parker and grab the goods for themselves. Though Parker's new getaway van is an old Ford Econoline with "Holy Redeemer Choir" on its doors, his gang is anything but holy, and Parker will do whatever it takes to redeem his prize, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
The New York Times
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 2007 Reed Business Information
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By Richard Stark Grand Central Publishing
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One When the silver Toyota Avalon bumped down the dirt road out of the woods and across the railroad tracks, Parker put the Infiniti into low and stepped out onto the gravel. The Infiniti jerked forward toward the river as the Toyota slewed around behind it to a stop. Parker picked up the full duffel bag from where he'd tossed it on the ground, and behind him, the Infiniti rolled down the slope into the river, all its windows open; it slid into the gray dawn water like a bear into a trout stream.
Parker carried the duffel in his arms and Claire got out of the Toyota to open its rear door and say, "Do you want to drive?"
"No. I've been driving." He heaved the duffel onto the backseat, then got around to take the passenger side in front.
Before getting behind the wheel, she stood looking toward the river, a tall slender ash-blonde in black slacks and a bulky dark red sweater against the October chill. "It's gone," she said.
She slid into the Toyota then and kissed him and held his face in her slim hands. "It's been a while."
"It didn't come out the way it was supposed to."
"But you got back," she said, and steered the Toyota across the tracks and up the dirt road through scrub woods. "Was one of the men with you named Dalesia?"
"Nick. They nabbed him."
"He escaped," she said, paused at the blacktop state road and turned right, southward.
"I had the news on, driving up. It happened a couple of hours ago, in Boston. They were transferring him from the state police to the federal, going to take him somewhere south to question him. He killed a marshal, escaped with the gun."
Parker looked at her profile. They were almost alone on the road, not yet seven AM, she driving fast. He said, "They grabbed him yesterday. They didn't question him yet?"
"That's what they said." She shrugged, eyes on the road. "They didn't say so, but it sounded to me like a turf war, the local police and the FBI. The FBI won, but then they lost him."
Parker looked out at this hilly country road, heading south. Soon they'd be coming into New Jersey. "If nobody questioned Nick yet, then they don't know where the money is."
With a head gesture toward the duffel bag behind them, she said, "That isn't it?"
"No, that's something else."
She laughed, mostly in surprise. "You don't have that money, so you picked up some other money on the way back?"
"There was too much heat around the robbery," he told her. "We could stash it, but we couldn't carry it. We each took a little, and Nick tried to spend some of his, but they had the serial numbers."
"Oh. That's why they caught him. Do you have some?"
"Not any more."
They rode in silence for a while, he stretching his legs, rolling his shoulders, a big ropy man who looked squeezed into the Toyota. He'd driven through the night, called Claire an hour ago from a diner to make the meet and get rid of the Infiniti, which was too hot and too speckled with fingerprints. Now they passed a slow-moving oil delivery truck and he said, "I need some sleep, but after that I'll want you to drive me to Long Island. All my identification got wasted in the mess in Massachusetts. I'd better not drive until I get new papers."
"You're just going to talk to somebody?"
"Then I can drive you."
She watched the road; no traffic now. She said, "This is still something about the robbery?"
"The third guy with us," he said. "He'll know what it means, too, that Nick's on the loose."
"That the police don't know where the money is."
"But Nick knows where we are, or could point in a direction. Are we all still partners?" He shook his head. "You kill a lawman," he said, "you're in another zone. McWhitney and I are gonna have to work this out."
"But not on the phone."
Parker yawned. "Nothing on the phone ever," he said. "Except pizza."
Excerpted from Dirty Money by Richard Stark Copyright © 2008 by Richard Stark. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Richard Stark has been hailed as one of the inventors-and one of the true masters-of noir crime fiction. Stark's most recent Parker novels, Comeback and Backflash, were each selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His first novel, The Hunter, became the classic 1967 movie Point Blank. Thirty years later, The Hunter was adapted again by Hollywood, in the hit Mel Gibson movie Payback. Richard Stark is also, at times, the mystery Grand Master Donald E. Westlake. To learn more about the author, you can visit www.donaldwestlake.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Master thief Parker cannot believe how much went wrong when he and his two partners robbed an armored car (see NOBODY RUNS FOREVER). Not only was the loot no good as it was 'poisoned' by authorities, the cops caught one of his cronies Nick Dalesia when he tried to use the DIRTY MONEY. Nick escaped but killed a marshal. Parker fled Massachusetts leaving the two plus million behind hidden in a loft of an abandoned rural church as he heads to Long island to regroup knowing that the cop murder places Nick in a different zone from robbery. He assumes the third partner McWhitny will agree with his assessment.---------- Bounty-hunter Sandra Loscalzo knows that Parker is the means to her getting a cut of the loot. Though he knows she is on his tail and so are other less moral souls from both sides of the law, Parker decides the time to return to Massachusetts to collect the money is now. All he needs is a plan to elude law enforcement, miscreants, and Sandra starting with the Holy Redeemer Choir van.-------------- This is a direct follow up to NOBODY RUNS FOREVER, but though DIRT MONEY can stand alone it behooves fans to read the first book because references back to that tale become more meaningful. Long time readers will find a different Parker in this crime caper as he is much more subdued than usual an apropos reaction to the robbery fiasco and murder. This is an entertaining crime caper with the antihero seeking more than just the stolen cache, he tries to regain his swagger as he lost some of his moxie when he fled Massachusetts empty handed.--------- Harriet Klausner
When I researched Richard Stark, I discovered that he is known for his noir thrillers. Not knowing what a noir thriller is, I looked it up. It is a story told from the view point of the protagonist. This is not a ¿who did it¿ type of mystery. The question is, can the bank robber get the stashed loot without getting caught. This is not my favorite type of mystery however, it is well-written. It is the latest in a series, and I think that you really should read the series in order. This will help you connect with the characters. Overall, the book is good, breezy reading. It reads quickly. It would be great for a lazy summer day.