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Breakout (Parker #21)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  809 Ratings  ·  69 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.
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published November 20th 2002 by Mysterious Press (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Feb 13, 2011 brian rated it liked it
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
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
Mike French
Jan 26, 2015 Mike French rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 13, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
Jane Stewart
Sep 13, 2013 Jane Stewart rated it really liked it
3 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.

This is book 21 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. They
Aug 07, 2016 Erik rated it really liked it
"When the alarm went off, Parker and Armiston were far to the rear of the warehouse, Armiston with the clipboard, checking off the boxes they’d want.”
Sep 12, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
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 tha ...more
Jun 06, 2016 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Simply put, the Parker series in an outstanding series. It was so nice to see Parker again though he seemed to get in a lot of trouble this time. I kind of count on him to get out of any situation, smoothly and with finesse, but not this time. He's well and truly caught after a pharmaceutical heist goes wrong, off to the Stoneveldt Detention Center he goes. Incidentally, there's never been an escape from this facility, but they don't know Parker. The escape is daring, the result perfect. And ...more
I've only read a couple Parker novels,, but, I've liked them both. Unfortunately my library doesn't have anymore kindle versions of them, so, I'll have to get the printed versions of them.

Parker is a criminal. Of that there can be no denial. But, he has a code and he operates by that code. In Breakout, Parker is in prison. And, he needs to get out of prison. Staying for his sentence isn't how he'll get out. He needs out. Now. So, he gets himself a crew that wants the same thing, is professional
Aug 16, 2016 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a robbery goes south, Parker ends up in prison, cut off from his usual string. He manages to get word out to Claire who arranges to have a lawyer really work for him: enter Mr. Jonathan Li, a character I hope to see more of in the next three (and final) books. Also back for another go-round are Ed Mackey and Brenda. Always a pleasure to see those two.

Ed helps Parker get some background info on a few fellow inmates so he can get a crew together and plan a breakout. There's your title. A go
Oct 16, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it
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
Feb 17, 2011 Alecia rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Derek rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2015 J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This has been a lot of fun so far. Caught and in prison, Parker has to break out. Then he has to break out. Then he has to break out again. Westlake/Stark was that rare vintage that seems timeless and manages quality book after quality book.
Jan 30, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime
Parker never disappoints; after 20 novels Stark still manages to come up with new twists and challenges for the implacable anti-hero.
Dec 06, 2016 John rated it really liked it
Four breakouts for one title. How good is that?
Oct 03, 2016 Mario rated it it was amazing
Honestly, 21 books into the Parker series and I wouldn't have expected such a late entry to be my favorite of them all!

This particular story is so much more than the usual Parker heist gone wrong. Part heist, part escape, part heist again, this is by far the most engaging of Stark's novels. I truly had moments, for the first time, where I wondered if Parker would come out of this mess unscathed as usual.

300 pages of constant tension from beginning to end. The best of them all so far!

May 20, 2012 John rated it liked it
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,
Jun 21, 2015 Stven rated it really liked it
My third book into the series, and here are my thoughts on why these are betcha-can't-read-just-one good. It's pretty simple, really.

Things happen. There is always action moving the story forward. Honestly, this one had me worried at first. Parker is in jail, and after a few pages (and the title) you can't help but realize this story is going to be about breaking out. Around page 30, I'm wondering, do I really want to read two-thirds of a book working up to a jailbreak?

Next time I'll know better
So Parker gets pinched on a botched job and ruins a good alias. While in jail he meets up with some other professionals with a plan to get out and a job he agrees to do once they break free. It's a jewel heist, like most of the other recent books. Isn't there a rule about a jewel heist? I can't remember. But one of be guys concocts this game plan to get in and out if the store through a tunnel that looks like it was use by runners in the old days. And of course when they are in the tunnel ...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
Michael Emond
May 13, 2013 Michael Emond rated it it was amazing
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
Tim Hicks
Apr 07, 2013 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2012 Hans rated it really liked it
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
Aaron Martz
Nov 05, 2014 Aaron Martz rated it really liked it
Oddly enough, the prison break is the least effective part of this book. It's far too simple and unbelievable. If prisons were designed like that, you'd have people walking out of them all the time. The book really picks up about halfway through when Parker and his gang botch a jewelry heist and have to improvise an escape. From then on out, it is one increasingly suspenseful sequence after another, including an interrogation scene between Parker's gang and a cheating couple that is brimming ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
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
Gerald Kinro
Sep 23, 2012 Gerald Kinro rated it liked it
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
Aug 07, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
#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
Douglas Castagna
Feb 14, 2014 Douglas Castagna rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 11, 2016 Diogenes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars : Reading a Parker story is like reading through a mirror; everything is on the wrong side.
It's the law breakers who are the protagonists and the cops are the gullible, inept or lazy antagonists.
Fast moving, interesting and with a certain charm, Breakout is like the proverbial Chinese dinner, a short time after you're finished, you're hungry for more.
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Parker (1 - 10 of 24 books)
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  • The Mourner (Parker, #4)
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  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
  • The Handle (Parker, #8)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)

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