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The Score (Parker Series #5)

( 33 )

Overview

You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.

They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best ...

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The Score: A Parker Novel

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Overview

You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.

They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.

Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir.  Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing; his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.

Parker works with a group of professional con men in The Score on his biggest job yet—robbing an entire town in North Dakota.

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

“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 Book World

“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

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Editorial Reviews

Globe and Mail

"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 (Canada)

— H. J. Kirchoff

Virginia Quarterly Review
"Perhaps this, more than anything else, is what I admire about these novels: the consistent ruthlessness of an unapologetic bastard. And so 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

— John McNally

Globe and Mail - H. J. Kirchoff

“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.”
Virginia Quarterly Review - John McNally

“Perhaps this, more than anything else, is what I admire about these novels: the consistent ruthlessness of an unapologetic bastard. And so 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.”
Entertainment Weekly - Stephen King

“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
New York Times - William Grimes

“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.”
Elmore Leonard

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”
Bookforum - John Banville

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio

“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
Washington Post

“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.”
Los Angeles Times

“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.”
Lawrence Block

“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.”
New York Times Book Review - Anthony Boucher

“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.”
New York Review of Books - Luc Sante

"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."
Commentary - Terry Teachout

"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."—Terry Teachout, Weekly Standard
Vue Weekly - Josef Braun

"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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226771045
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Series: Parker Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 275,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I listened to this story as an audiobook, narrated by Stephen R.

    I listened to this story as an audiobook, narrated by Stephen R. Thorne, so my review is based on that version.

    This story is about a gang of thieves working out a heist. Each person in the heist has a specific job they are to do and the job will be planned down to the last detail. Parker is the main crook of the bunch and the others defer to his knowledge and skill in setting up the heist. Initially the original heist, to knock off all the big places in one town, is shot down by Parker as too risky. Eventually Parker gives in and starts to work out all the details for the job.

    This book was originally written in 1964, so it is the equivalent of watching an old black and white movie. It was kind of fun to take a trip down memory lane. These guys were out to steal thousands of dollars (not millions) and they don’t have use of cell phones, internet, or video cameras.

    The gang is going to go into this town and take control of the telephone switchboard during the job, so no one will be able to call out of the town for help. (There are ladies actually sitting and physically patching phone calls through via a switchboard! LoL) As with all best laid plans of mice and men, things seem to go alright until a couple of the guys start doing their own thing during the heist. Then the band of thieves has big problems.

    I enjoyed listening to the story, but it is not anywhere near the level of suspense that today’s novels have. Also, this story was written in a way that the descriptions of rooms, cars, or insignificant other things were almost too detailed. Little things were pointed out that had no bearing on the story. Could just be the style of this writer, since this is the first book I have read of Donald Westlake’s I am not sure.

    This was the 5th book in the Parker series. I have not read or listened to any of the others and it did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. If I didn’t know it was a series, I wouldn’t have guessed. The ending ended at a logical place and not as a cliff hanger, so this could definitely be read (or listened to) as a standalone story.

    The Narration Review
    This audiobook was narrated by Stephen R. Thorne. I think he did a great job with the character voices in this story. He has great articulation and intonation and I was able to easily identity the different voices as they spoke making it very easy to immerse myself in the story.

    ** Note **
    I received this audiobook free from AudioGo in exchange for an honest review. I received no chocolate or any other compensation in exchange for my review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Short but ok

    Liked this. 144 pages

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Enjoyable

    Good read if the description sounds good to you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Great book!

    Even though this book is quite short, it was still a very good read, I thought. This is my first Richard Stark book and I liked it so well, I looked for more and found out the author has a huge series of novels with the same main character, Parker. I added them all to my Nook wishlist and plan to read them when I can get the chance.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended for Noir Lovers

    As a woman, I paused at giving The Score five stars, but I just had to do it because it is so flawlessly, efficiently executed. Testosterone and greed rule. The protagonist Parker is a ruthless, clever predator by nature, no explanations and certainly no excuses. He and several carefully selected criminal misfits plan the perfect heist, to rob every facet of business in an entire town. As frequently happens with perfection, anything that can go wrong does. It is up to Parker to save the day. Does he? Read the book to find out. Once you start you will not want to stop until the end, so pick a time when you can take it all in at once. A hardboiled, unapologetic gem.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    A BLAST FROM THE PAST

    In the 1950's and 60's I loved to read paperbacks because they were short. I could read one in an evening. Whether it was a book like Richard Stark's The Score, something by Erle Stanley Gardner, or an Ed McBain, I usually finished it in one or two sittings.

    Then paperback books became expensive. Publishers seemed to think they needed to offer you more pages for your money and most mystery novels went longer.

    Stark's The Score is the story of Parker and eleven others who shut down a town. They plan to rob payroll from a local factory and then to blow their way into safes in the town's banks and savings and loan companies.

    The plan goes flawlessly until human nature intervenes.

    Stark writes the book in sections, one for planning the heist, one for acquiring the things needed to do the job, etc. It all goes flawlessly. We see their meticulous planning in detail.

    All the time, we know something has to go wrong, and at one point I thought I saw it happening. But I was wrong. Finally, the whole story came back to human nature.

    As most mystery readers know, Richard Stark is one of Donald E. Westlake's pseudonyms. Like other writers in the 50s and 60s, Westlake thought he needed to use a pseudonym so as not to water down his brand. He thought too many books by Donald E. Westlake might make it seem like he was churning them out.

    Tell that to James Patterson or J.D. Robb today!

    I enjoyed reading this book. I did read it in one sitting, just as in the old days. It was meticulously written as all Westlake stories are. And, as the events worked out, it all came down to our human inability to let things go perfectly.

    Even among crooks, it is what they are as human beings that ends up getting them killed or caught.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    The Score

    Good stuff. The Score follows Parker, a career criminal, on yet another job. Parker ignores his gut instincts about the man setting up the job and agrees to come along. All is going smoothly when Parkers concerns come to fruition and all hell breaks loose. Lots of action, good characters and this book of the series is free. If you like the genre, I'd definitely recommend The Score.

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    Posted September 26, 2011

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