Breakout (Parker, #21)
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Breakout (Parker #21)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  530 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Parker's back in jail, but not just any old jail; it's the correctional center, where people without bail wait before and during their trial. So Parker's first order of business is to build a network among these cons and break on through to the other side.
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Published September 26th 2009 by Mysterious Press (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 839)
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brian
my third post-hiatus parker book. and it's good. a tightly plotted story involving three breakouts:

1. parker assembles a string in prison to break the hell out before they're transferred to high-security.
2. parker and crew have gotta break out of an armory once their entry/exit tunnel has collapsed.
3. parker and mackay have gotta use legal maneuvering and intimidation to break brenda out of a police holding tank.

and i particularly love the final few pages as parker hitches a ride with a middl...more
Dan Schwent
The robbery of a pharmaceutical wholesaler goes south and Parker winds up in the clink. The cops have his prints and link him to the killing he did as Ronald Kasper when he escaped the work camp ages ago. Can Parker bust out of the hoosegow? And what's waiting in the wings when he does?

I've been complaining about the post-Butcher's Moon Parker books not being as good as the early ones for quite some time. They're too long and don't have the punch of the earlier books. So, is Breakout more of the...more
Adam
It's been awhile since I read a Parker novel. Ever since Donald Westlake (Richard Stark) died, I've been spacing them out a little more, since I know there won't be any more of them.

At first, I thought "Breakout" was a little lazy. After Parker and his hastily assembled crew of cons break out of jail, they're immediately embroiled in a caper, and the way in to the former armory/current jewel warehouse seemed overly simple. One of the things I love about this series is the way Westlake sets up a...more
Jane Stewart
3 ½ stars. This book is more about Parker reacting to things instead of planning.

A couple parts were slow, but several parts had good tension. Parker has to breakout of two different places: he’s in jail and then he can’t get out of an armory. Then he has to break someone else out of jail. I liked his mental process, what he does, what he plans, and his actions when on the run. It’s fun being in Parker’s mind.

THE SERIES:
This is book 21 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. The...more
Mike French
Donald Westlake has been a favorite of mine for years. It wasn't to I joined GR that I found out he also wrote under Richard Stark! I have just started to read the Parker series from Stark. Parker is Stark's answer to Westlake's Dortmunder. Both are likeable thieves that you root for against the Law! Looking forward to reading more of his Parker series.
David
Spoiler Alert! The following review reveals something very, very important that happens on page 6 of this book. Now, having said that, you may not think that spoiling page 6 can be spoiling much, but I found the image of (spoiler alert!) Parker putting his hands on top of his head and meekly submitting to arrest to be stunning (even though, given the title Breakout, I thought it might be coming). Taken collectively, the first 20 Parker novels (Breakout is the 21st) give the lie to the idea that...more
Eric_W
Another classic Richard Stark, a.k.a. Donald Westlake, or vice versa if you prefer. Again featuring that completely amoral thief, Parker, as usual, several things go wrong with the caper forcing Parker to extricate himself from a mess. Unusually, Parker finds himself in prison (again due to a colleague’s carelessness and his own use of a name that had a record from another state) and must breakout. This he and a couple of colleagues accomplish but then he reluctantly becomes involved in another...more
Alecia
I'm on the countdown to finishing the entire Parker series, and I always enjoy these books. I will be so sad when I am through! I liked this one, but the middle lags a little bit. This plot is about Parker and some other prisoners breaking out of prison, and what they encounter afterwards. I have a favorite quote from this book that just about sums up the amoral thought process between these criminals, and it made me smile. Speaking about what to do with a man they just held captive, the charact...more
Derek
This is another in the long-running Parker series by Richard Stark, aka Donald Westlake. This one starts out with Parker running into problems with the police, resulting in all sorts of problems for our favorite anti-hero.

As usual, this is a well-written, well-plotted crime thriller. It's not the best in the series, but it's well worth reading, especially for the sections where Parker has to try to create relationships with people to get what he needs. The third section dragged a bit for me, bu...more
Debbie J
Breakout brings another heist that goes sideways. The coppers capture Parker and his cohorts and he finds himself in a pre-trial detention center.

Due to his multiple aliases, the police detectives cannot quite parse who Parker is. However, they do know his fingerprints have been found at crime scenes in several states. Parker realizes that even without his true identity they’ve enough evidence to imprison him for a long time and he needs to find a way to GTFO.

Parker proves yet again a master st...more
Matt
Parker never disappoints; after 20 novels Stark still manages to come up with new twists and challenges for the implacable anti-hero.
John
I was surprised at how quickly things happened. Parker is arrested in the first chapter. Wow! That was quick! So now the whole book is going to be about him escaping. But no! He was already out by the end of part one.

Part two is about the job, the planning and breaking in. I found it hard to believe that security would miss such a big hole in the back, but I went along with it.

Obviously they were going to breakout of the armory as well. That was part three, which I had a hard time visualizing,...more
Douglas Castagna
One of the best since Butcher's Moon. Again Stark can start a book like no other, this time with the arrest of Parker within the first few pages. Parker may have had his share of bad luck with some jobs in the past, but he always seems to make do, what will happen here, well like the title suggests, there is only one thing for Parker to do. Break Out. Fast paced, and never short on adrenaline, a must read.
Tim Hicks
No matter what he uses as the author's name/persona, Westlake always delivers a delightful reading experience. His plots are tight, coherent, fast-paced and interesting. The prose flows along so smoothly that you don't even notice the craftsmanship. There are always interesting characters.

Parker is fascinating, of course. Logical, decisive, understands how people think and act just a little better than others do. Never kills if it can be avoided, never hesitates if it can't.

Most of the way thr...more
Michael Emond
I am a huge Parker fan and I would put this one up there with the great ones simply because it is a great read and has so many nice pieces to it and great characters (especially the corrupt lawyer Li). As I said there are many great parts, a breakout from jail, a heist, another escape, another breakout of a captured member of the gang and finally a breakout from the city/state itself. Parker is pure Parker, thinking on his feet, never at a loss for a plan of action. We get to see Ed Mackey again...more
Brian
I first heard about this book during an Ed Brubaker interview. The premise is pretty awesome... Parker is in heist that goes wrong and then ends up getting caught by the cops. Now he has to break out, of prison!

Anyway... despite the awesome premise, this book ended up being a bit lackluster. This is the first time I have read a Stark book that seemed to, lack any suspense. Obviously once you've read a few Parker books you stop worrying about what is going to happen to Parker, and the story ends...more
Gerald Kinro
Richard Stark is the nom de hardboiled of mystery writer Donald Westlake. Stark’s anti-hero Parker is at it again. This career badass commits murder, is jailed and then forms an uneasy alliance with other prisoners and some associates on the outside to break out of this Midwestern jail. To payback for his escape, Parker must engage in yet another robbery.

This book is vivid and fast-paced. It is not my favorite Parker book. Nevertheless, like other works by Stark, it made me wish that Westlake h...more
Ed
#21 in Parker series. Stark (Donald E. Westlake) has one of his best outings plotting Parker's ingenious jailbreak.

Parker series - Stuck in a fortress-like holding prison "on the outskirts of the only large city in this big empty midwestern state" after a robbery goes bad, Parker links up with two other prisoners in a totally logical way, then plans a breakout (the first of several in the book) so credible that we're swept up in its mechanics. But before he can return to his haven in rural New J...more
Mike Gowan
Parker breaks out of prison, then pulls a heist and has to break out of a bunker where the jewels are kept. Things break bad, of course.
Hans
Breakout closes out the round of connected titles that started with Comeback. Lawrence Block's introduction to a previous volume suggests that if Westlake would have continued for one more book he would have completed the circle with Outcome. That title is actually a good match for the last three Parker novels, but that's another story...literally.

The title haunts Parker through the whole story as he has to break out of one situation after another. Along the way, there is an interesting view int...more
Scottlmoritz
Another fantastic Parker book. If he isn't careful he'll let feelings start influencing his behavior.
Brian
There`s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn`t add anything to the Westlake / Stark \ Parker canon.
Firestone

This was my first Parker novel, and I really can't see what the big deal is.

This is something like the...21st?...novel in the series, so it's completely possible I should have read these in order. But as is, I just don't like Parker very much. It seems I'm supposed to root for him simply because the book is about him. Well that's not enough for me.
Peter McGarvey
One of the better Parker novels. True to formula, Parker is involved in a robbery that goes bad. Captured and thrown in a maximum security prison no one has ever escaped from, he plots his liberation. But breaking out is just the beginning of his troubles.

I love Richard Stark's (Donald Westlake)novels. They are like peanuts - salty and satisfying.
Electric Funeral
This is a classic Parker Novel by one of the most influential crime writers of the century. If you consider yourself a crime fan you should already know his style. Hard Boiled Novel about a coup gone wrong. Nothing too special for Stark but way above a lot of modern authors.
Jeff
Okay, Parker's getting old and a little careless that certainly didn't make this an easier read. In retrospect this was probably the point at which the Parker franchise runs out of steam. I don't have high expectations for the last three volumes.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 2009 Denise M. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
AKA: Alan Marshall, Alan Marsh, James Blue, Ben Christopher, Edwin West, John B. Allan, Curt Clark, Tucker Coe, P.N. Castor, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Samuel Holt, Judson Jack Carmichael, Richard Stark, Donald E. Westlake
Blair Hodgkinson
Another excellent Parker story. Stark/Westlake writes in a spare, precise style that unfolds the story with great clarity and efficiency; there is something starkly (pun acceptable though not intentional) brilliant in his prose.
Tom
Stark/Westlake puts Parker in prison, only to have him scheme to get out. This is a bit different from the usual Parker fare, but is just as gripping to see him work his way out of a heist gone bad.
Matt
Not my favorite Parker, though I did enjoy the constant variations on a theme (Parker and others keep on finding themselves locked up in various places that they have to escape from). Fun, if flawed.
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