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The Score (Parker #5)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  2,117 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
It was an impossible crime: knock off an entire North Dakota town called Copper Canyon—clean out the plant payroll, both banks, and all the stores in one night. Parker called it "science fiction," but with the right men (a score of them), he could figure it out to the last detail. It could work. If the men behaved like pros, cool and smart; if they didn't get impatient, st ...more
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Published December 13th 2011 by AudioGO (first published 1963)
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When Parker first hears about the plan to loot all of Copper Canyon, he thinks it’s insane. How can you rob an entire city? However, when he sees the details and realizes that this is an isolated town that could be completely cut off and it’s police force neutralized, Parker starts thinking that it just might be possible if he can find the right men for the job.

A solid crew is put together, a plan developed, and even the amateur who came up with the idea, Edgars, seems smart and willing to let P
Jan 14, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, let's see here. There's been a lot of Richard Stark hoopla around our little corner of Goodreads lately, and I am proud to offer this review as minor corrective to the unbridled enthusiasms unleashed herein. Despite whatever I may say in the course of this review that might lead you to believe otherwise, I did actually enjoy this book. But it is slight, insubstantial, and clunky at times. I'd like to say, with some slippage in the analogy, that it's the equivalent of watching one of those ...more
Jan 08, 2011 brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a small town in north dakota sits deep in a narrow valley. a single road the only way in or out. parker and eleven men head down at midnight and methodically take over the tiny police department then the fire department then the phone switchboard. once the town's defenses have been neutralized and communication is cut off from the outside world, the team knocks over the town's two banks, the jewelry store, and then robs the town's entire payroll. a heist to the extreme! forget one bank, one stor ...more
Richard Vialet
The plan might sound completely nuts but it's too tempting for Parker to pass up. This time, he signs onto a heist to rob the entire town of Copper Canyon, North Dakota! Author Richard Stark had a real knack for conceiving really original plots for his various heist novels. As I've mentioned in other reviews, these books are so simple and although there's not really a whole to talk about, so far they've been consistently enjoyable for what they are. The omniscient POV style that is a trademark t ...more
Dan Schwent
An amateur named Edgars hires Parker, Grofield, and ten others to help him with an outlandish plan: to rob an entire North Dakota town! Things go smoothly until it turns out Edgars has ideas of his own...

After reading five of the Parker novels, I figured out why love them so much. It's two aspects: Parker's superb ability to plan heists and trying to figure out how the inevitable double cross is going to go when it happens. The Score illustrates this nicely. As usual, Parker's cruel professional
Jan 28, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The first place Parker heads to in The Hunter when he gets to New York City to seek revenge on being double-crossed and beginning Stark's series of novels is the Wall Street area. The Score's basic premise is a group of criminals go to a small factory town in North Dakota with the purpose of robbing every business in town of all it's money during one night. Nowhere in the book is it ever mentioned what will be left of the town after Parker and his friends steal all of the payroll money from the ...more
I think I've hit my limit of Parker books for now. The formula was a bit too predictable, although this was his most ambitious job yet. Unfortunately, I guessed most of the high points pretty much from the beginning. Still, the details were fun to follow & Parker is a wonderful anti-hero. While I have #6, I'm missing the odd numbers after that through #12. I'll see if I can't get them for another Parker marathon at another time.
Jan 13, 2016 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though ‘The Score’ is a short novel – my copy runs to a distinctly svelte 158 pages – this is clearly Richard Stark going for epic. The idea of robbing not just a bank, or a factory pay-roll, but an entire city is just genius. It’s a big idea, but one Stark puts across with a beautiful economy. Of course a raid like this needs a sizeable crew and each of the gang of rogues who are pulled together for this heist is beautifully and efficiently sketched in just a few sentences. (What’s more fo ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 30, 2016 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, thriller
So, knew better than to get involved in this cluster......errr, flop. We all hope you learned from this experience that when your instincts tell you to pass a job by, pass it by.

Lots of action in this somewhat convoluted overly complicated heist...and Parker knew it was too complicated. he almost walked away, and I'll bet by the time it was over he was wishing he had.

Okay so I like the series it's good full of action...and makes me feel a little creepy about liking them. I mean Park
Feb 29, 2016 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Parker yet. We get a sliver of insight into Parker's character and a very exciting heist story.
Apr 14, 2013 Krycek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parker, bored with hanging around at the beach, decides to check out  another larcenous job opportunity, but there's something hinky about the guy organizing the whole thing. Against his better judgement, Parker deals in because the payoff could be big. This time Parker and the gang knock off a whole town! But you know what happens when things seem to go too smoothly...

I've read Parker #1, #3 and now #5. You'd think I was hitting all the odd ones first. Nah. That's just what my local library has
Sep 02, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction fans
Recommended to Eric by: Free download on
Shelves: crime
This best comparison for this book is Ocean's Eleven, if it were more hardboiled than flashy and the goal was to steal an entire town instead of a casino. Yes, you read that right, an entire town -- not the town's bank, jewelry store, or mining payroll, but all of them simultaneously. What could possibly go wrong?

This is the first Parker book I have read -- in fact, it is the first I have read by author Richard Stark/Donald Westlake. I enjoyed reading about Parker and would definitely read anoth
Apr 09, 2010 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a long fan of Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) hardboiled Parker the thief series. THE SCORE is set in a boxed-in Western town where Parker and a large gang hit several banks and the mine's payroll at once. A clever twist is dropped into the last part. Parker is like Mr. Spock, all business and no time for humor or fools. One of the gang members, Alan Grofield, appears later in LEMONS NEVER LIE published by Hard Case Crime.
Jane Stewart
Apr 18, 2013 Jane Stewart rated it liked it
Weak 3 stars. There wasn’t enough suspense or the unexpected.

This wasn’t as good as some of the others in the series, but it was ok. I’m intrigued with Parker, and that keeps me reading.

Edgars has an idea for stealing from several businesses at the same time in a North Dakota town. He tells a guy who brings in Parker to plan and run it. It will require 12 to 20 guys.

The ending was weak. Things felt hanging and not wrapped up well. I would have liked a different ending for some of the good guys w
Did anybody write better heist novels than Stark (Westlake)? Well, maybe Dan J. Marlowe - One Endless Hour and Four for the Money are good examples. Seriously, though, it's hard to top these Parker novels for their depiction of heists. And this one is all about the caper - to rob an entire town in rural North Dakota. In the previous Parker novels he'd been trying to clear himself from the Outfit or dispensing with unfinished business. In this one he is free and clear and all about the job. The f ...more
Tim Niland
Dec 17, 2009 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
Master thief and anti-hero Parker is getting antsy and bored. So when the call comes offering him a chance to head up to Jersey City to hear about a potential job he takes it. And what a job it is - the plan is to immobilize an entire small North Dakota town and rob it blind. Even for somebody like Parker, who has ice water in his veins, this is an audacious plan. Can a dozen men really take out an entire town and get away with the loot? This was another exciting fast-paced Parker adventure, Sta ...more
This Parker gets five stars because of the description of the methodical techniques described in pulling off the perfect score. Like with other Parker novels he is almost thwarted by those unknown variables that seem to crop up in the execution of any job. But Parker is the consummate professional at his craft, which is always a pleasure to read about.
Dec 05, 2011 V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read. The heist is absoloutely outrageous. The pacing and action are beautifully judged. The plan is masterful, and the inevitable double cross is diabolical.

Turns out there was a French New Wave movie made of this one, would love to see it but doesn't look like it's been released on any format, so not much chance.

Highly recommended for fans of hardboiled caper fiction.
Jun 16, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Shut up, Grofield."
Mario Šaravanja
Sep 06, 2016 Mario Šaravanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Odlična knjiga,topla preporuka.
Apr 15, 2017 Caleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic Parker job. Not as enthusiastic about this one, it seemed like Stark was trying to do too much with such a short format, but at the end of the day a lot of fun was had and a good score was made.
Mar 31, 2017 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply couldn't put it down. A fantastic read. Parker stays the king
Charles Dee Mitchell
I have now read six of Stark's Parker novels, for the most part following their publication chronology.

This is the weakest I've read, but that said, it remains a pleasure to read from beginning to end. Most of the characters are lightly sketched, but we get to see more of how Parker operates in the midst of a complex crime. He puts victims at ease by learning and using their first names before they are tied up and gagged. That's a nice touch. When a not-to-bright colleague brings a young woman i
Jun 12, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mystery noir
Recommended to Mark by: ed lynskey
Another outing in Parker land and it involves of course a robbery as expected. The scale of the robbery this time makes the book an original. An amateur hires Parker and some of his colleagues to rob an entire town! As this is quite an concept it takes a larger crew as usual to pull this off. And while there still is a big unexpected surprise at the end it is Parkers' professionalism that saves the payday.

Another very strong tale from the Parker series as written by Richard Stark / Donald E. Wes
Aug 31, 2009 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parker was bored when he got the call from his broker for a new job. He didn't like it from the start. An amateur named Edgars brought the deal. A small town in a box canyon, one way in and out, a highway patrol station on the main road by that one way.

He was gradually convinced. A small town with a curfew and a tiny police force. Two banks, a mine with a substantial payroll, jewelry stores. Hit it late at night while everyone was in bed, only a handful of people to deal with.

It would take a lar
Nov 22, 2015 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Score: This is the longest of the Parker books I’ve read so far and I’d rank it about where I ranked #4, The Mourner. It was good, but not as good as the first three. In this book, a man comes to Parker and some colleagues with an idea for a huge score, one in which they’ll essentially rob an entire town. Everything seems to be going well when the fellow who initiated everything turns out to have a private agenda. Hell breaks loose. I thought there were a few slow spots, particularly where P ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the original hard boiled tough guy. Stark (Westlake writing as Stark) boils the essence of a smart no-nonsense tough guy down from the work of the greats that wrote detective and crime fiction before him, and created Parker. Forget the movies you may have seen - be they timeless classics or modern dreck - and do yourself a favor and read these. If you like crime fiction you have to check these books out. The Chicago Press has re-released them in sharp stylish new paperbacks that are inex ...more
In The Score, Richard Stark plays to the greatest strength of the Parker series: His ability to imagine, in fascinating and believable detail, the working life of a professional thief. The narrative focuses tightly on the planning, execution, and immediate aftermath of Parker leading a gang of men into Copper Canyon, North Dakota, to rob the town--or at least as much of the town as is worth robbing. Of the first five Parker novels, The Score is the purest and most self-assured.
Pete Morin
Sep 28, 2011 Pete Morin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am embarrassed to admit that I'd never heard of Richard Stark, and only recently discovered he is a pseudonym for Don Westlake. I have read everything written by Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald, Ross Macdonald - and missed Stark entirely. I must not have been paying very close attention.

Stark's prose is every bit as tough and gritty as all of them. His Parker character doesn't take his hat off to nobody - not even Phillip Marlowe.

This is noir at its best. No question.

Oct 25, 2010 Tosh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Score" is not my favorite Richard Stark novel, due that the characters are a tad dull to me, and there seems to be a lack of energy in the narrative. But saying that, there is no 'bad' Stark book. This book reads easy and is perfectly formalized in that it doesn't deeply disappoint, but for the Stark connoisseur this is the house brand instead of the expensive stuff. But still... It is Richard Stark, and there are no replacements for this writer.
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The Sons of Literacy: The Score by Richard Stark 33 34 Jun 11, 2014 07:07PM  
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score
  • The Cutie (Hard Case Crime #53)
  • Lucky at Cards (Hard Case Crime #28)
  • Choke Hold (Angel Dare #2)
  • The Name of the Game Is Death (Drake, #1)
  • Too Near The Edge (Cleo & Tyler Mysteries, #1)
  • The Wheelman
  • The First Quarry (Quarry #8)
  • Dead Deceiver (A Loon Lake Mystery, #11)
  • The Vengeful Virgin (Hard Case Crime #30)
  • The Killing

Other Books in the Series

Parker (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Hunter (Parker, #1)
  • The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2)
  • The Outfit (Parker, #3)
  • The Mourner (Parker, #4)
  • The Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
  • The Handle (Parker, #8)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)
  • The Black Ice Score (Parker, #11)

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“The operation was shaping up to have good men in it, and with good men in a deal it was tough for the deal to go sour. Not impossible, but tough.” 0 likes
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