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Flashfire (Parker #19)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  949 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Melander likes to do things flashy. When Parker finds himself working with Melander on a bank heist in a mid-sized midwestern city, his job is throwing a Molotov cocktail into a gas station. The resulting explosion sends the cops and fire trucks to the east side of town, while Melander and his gang plunder the bank on the west side. Parker doesn't care for flashy. And he d ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Mysterious Press (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,490)
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Dan Schwent
This is the book the upcoming Parker movie starring Jason Statham is based on.
Parker helps a crew on a bank job and then they take off with his money. Parker goes after them like a bloodhound, gathering money and planning to take their next heist out from under them. Only the man who furnished Parker with a new identity is gunned down and the killer is coming for Parker! Can Parker get his money and avoid getting dead?

Flashfire is one of the non-standard Parker books. Parker is out to steal back
Jul 05, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of noirish writing
So this book is one of those were Richard Stark made Parker return after too many years of absence, and he does so quite well. Parker is still at the top of his game.

This is also the book that lays the foundation for Jason Stathams 'Parker" movie which turned out not to be such a bad movie after all it actually managed to stay fairly close to the book even if the openings scene for the movie at the state fair was not by Stark but a very good done heist.

Parker does this heist and when the dust se
Sep 07, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I know that “Flashfire” was published in 2000, but this book feels like it was written three or four decades earlier. In this book I experienced the same rush that I felt when reading “The Man with the Getaway Face”. I can see why some lament the change in tone of the later Parker novels. I think that I am in that camp, too. Maybe not stringently, but I definitely like the punch and pacing of this book.

Like all Parker novels, the action comes in right at the start. In this one, Parker & asso
Jun 12, 2007 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Parker series
Shelves: crime-fiction
Like nearly every other Richard Stark book, this could just as easily have been entitled The Wrong Guy to Mess With. And I mean that as praise. Part of the pleasure of reading a Parker novel is knowing what you're going to get; a heist, a double-cross, a clockwork plot, and a satisfying conclusion in which Parker kills his betrayers and recovers his money. Unfortunately, Flashfire is too long and its story is unnecessarily convoluted. Perhaps the changing demands of the publishing industry are t ...more
Feb 05, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
After the Great Parker Hiatus, Ronald Starlake restarted the series with a sequence of linked titles: Comeback, Backflash, Flashfire, Firebreak, and Breakout. Of these five, only Breakout (one of my favorite Parker novels) is distinct in my mind; the others blur together, much as Starklake’s titles suggest that he intended. Thus, when the movie Parker was announced as an adaptation of Flashfire, I couldn’t exactly remember which novel that was, but I chose not to worry about it. I wanted to see ...more
Ed [Redacted]
When he heard the new Parker movie was based on this book, Ed thought he should read it again.

After a re-read, I still find this to be a middle of the road Parker book. Not bad, there is no "bad" Parker book, but not his best by some distance.
Jane Stewart
May 17, 2013 Jane Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty good, not the best Parker, but above average. The ending was very feel good.

This was different in that Parker needed help when he was shot and in the hospital. He had to trust and rely on a woman he recently met. I love the way Parker gets revenge on people who cross him which he does here. I liked what Parker did to the bad guys’ hideout home and guns.

I especially liked one line. Parker is describing to Leslie how the bad guys are going to rob a charity auction - coming in or le
Jul 24, 2016 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a fan of Donald Westlake made me curious about the Stark series. So I began with this Parker episode and, despite being out of sequence in the series, enjoyed it quite well. I like the no nonsense character of Parker, a tough, perhaps ruthless bad guy who nonetheless harbors a moral compass and uses his wits,rather than his fists, whenever possible.
I'm just finishing my second Parker novel (more like a short story), "The Man With The Getaway Face," and finding it an entertaining diversion
Intense. Plowed through this 278-page thrill ride all in one day. Another masterpiece by Richard Stark. Only five Parker books to go and it looks like there will be no slowing down for any and all involved.

Next up: Firebreak.
Someone stole Parker's money and he wants it back and he wants the man, actually three men, who stole it dead. Okay, if you've read enough Parker books you know that if Parker wants someone dead, they're gonna get dead and, of course, Parker always gets his money back with interest.

You know all this when you start the book, but you still enjoy reading about how it all unfolds. I don't think I've read a series of books as well written and overall as consistent as Stark's (Westlake's) Parker seri
Jan 20, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me awhile to find out Donald Westlake had published under several names. I'm very familiar with and absolutely love his Dortmunder series and the book of his nonfiction that was published after his death.

So I thought I'd try this.

Good choice.

Don't ever cheat Parker. You'll regret it just as these three did when they "borrowed" part of Parker's share of the loot from a heist to finance a larger one they had planned. They had also planned to have Parker in on it. But he won't join.

Then he
Aug 25, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard Stark/Parker fans
Recommended to Ed by: Series fan
It's good to return to Parker land. This time our favorite hardboiled thief is in on a jewelry heist pulled in ritzy Palm Beach, Florida. Things don't quite work out as planned, and Parker has to improvise like he always does. This entry in the series uses more humor which I find refreshing. Fans of Richard Stark's Parker series should find this one a satisfactory read, too.
Mar 14, 2016 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir, crime-fiction
“When the dashboard clock read 2:40, Parker drove out of the drugstore parking lot and across the sunlit road to the convenience store/gas station.”
Not the best, the meanest Parker novel but i enjoyed the calm,patience of Parker going after his targets. How when he was weakened, he had his quick,dangerous mind to lead him. He was in danger at times in the book of getting caught by the police, for the first time in many books.
Steve Isaak
Dec 29, 2014 Steve Isaak rated it really liked it
When three fellow heisters (Boyd Melander, Hal Carlson and Jerry Ross) cheat Parker out of his money, Parker follows them to Palm Beach, where he hopes to recoup his cash -- with interest -- from them.

Further complications arise when he's at the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in a hit being put out on him, and a blond real estate agent takes interest in Parker, a.k.a. Daniel Parmitt, who doesn't strike her as a typical client.

Stark's writing is pulp icy, blunt and intense (character-
More of a 2.5, so I'm rounding down to distinguish it from the majority. As Lawrence Block pointed out so well in a forward a book or two ago, the Parker series is formulaic. It's a great formula that I've spent many a pleasant hour reading & listening to. But formulas must adhere to some stringent rules for me to enjoy them. This one stretched several badly.

The book was over-long for a Parker novel. I didn't ding Butcher's Moon for that, which was much longer, but in this case there was a f
Tyler Capra
Oct 27, 2014 Tyler Capra rated it really liked it
Parker is a mysterious character that reveals very little about himself. Each piece of information that is learned about him is spread out throughout the book. In the beginning, he and his other coworkers are nothing more than some mediocre shoplifters. But as the story progresses, they show interest into a much larger scale job. A 12 million dollar job. Parker decides that he is out, and finds himself pitted against his old friends and racing them with a civilian that has no idea what she's ge ...more
Douglas Castagna
Jan 28, 2014 Douglas Castagna rated it it was amazing
I guess I am biased since I am a fan of the author and the series, though this time, I saw the movie first. Yes, it was a weakness on my part and I enjoyed it greatly, however I wondered if the J Lo role was just an imagining from the screenwriter or director, but no, the character exists, in some form, in the novel.

The novel and the movie have, at its heart, the same story. After a successful heist, the crew tries to strong arm Parker into using his share to fund another job. They take his mone
Nov 17, 2014 Ted rated it liked it
I was craving a mystery and returned to Richard's Stark, Parker stories. Parker is a cold-blooded and calculating anti-hero who you root for anyway. He's a hit man who is so self-assured that you can't help but be impressed by his confidence and ability. It's easy to forget that he kills and robs people. This time he is down in Florida taking revenge on his accomplices from the prior job who haven't paid him off yet. He doesn't stop when he's outmanned, nearly killed or involves an innocent byst ...more
Debbie J
As I read Flashfire I predicted it would rank low on my list of favorite Parker novels. However, it climbed the ladder by several rungs when I reached a choice bit of dialogue from the cold-blooded heister himself:

"Claire is the only house I ever want to be in," he said. "All her doors and windows are open, but only for me.”

Sah.Woon. This is the closest Parker has come to admitting he loves his woman (who barely appears here). Perhaps his icy veins face betrayal by a warming heart.

Flashfire was
John Defrog
Jun 25, 2015 John Defrog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 19th book in the Parker series, and – if you didn’t know – the one that was made into the recent Jason Statham film. Parker pulls a job with a team who only afterwards inform him that the take is intended to finance an even bigger job – a jewelry heist in Palm Springs. When Parker refuses that job, they take his share anyway and promise to repay him later. Bad move. This is probably the most elaborate Parker caper of the series so far, as Parker’s plan to get his money back involves ...more
Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Φυσικά συγγραφέας δεν είναι άλλος από τον Ντόναλντ Γουέστλεϊκ, που με το ψευδώνυμο Ρίτσαρντ Σταρκ έγραψε τα βιβλία της σειράς Πάρκερ καθώς και τα λιγότερο γνωστά βιβλία της σειράς Άλαν Γκρόφιλντ και με το κανονικό του όνομα τα βιβλία της σειράς Ντόρτμουντερ, κάποια βιβλία για την σειρά Hard Case Crime και κάποια άλλα εκτός σειρών.

Ένα περίεργο πράμα, φέτος μεταφράστηκαν δυο βιβλία του, το Πως να κλέψετε μια τράπεζα από τις εκδόσεις Άγρα, που είναι το δεύτερο βιβλίο της κωμικής αστυνομικής σειράς
Cherese A. Vines
Dec 03, 2013 Cherese A. Vines rated it liked it
Recommends it for: crime, heist
Shelves: crime, fiction, quest
I found this book in the library because I had just seen the movie Parker starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez. Something didn't feel right about the movie and when I saw that it was based on a novel, I decided to find out just what felt wrong about Parker. I enjoy Jason Statham movies, but Parker was just "off." Anyway, after reading the book, I see what the script writer was attempting to do. It didn't work.

Flashfire by Richard Stark is about Parker. He is a criminal--a very creative one,
Dec 19, 2007 Justinthunderliger rated it really liked it
The Parker character was getting way too close to a Superman complex in the previous books. You know he's always going to win out, but at least there's some thrill in finding out HOW he does it. It's easy for a seemingly invulnerable character to become boring if he's never in any real danger. Then we get Flashfire. What happens when Superman isn't invulnerable and Murphy's law about everything going wrong kicks in? Instead of rolling with the punches and dodging bullets, Parker leans into them ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Derek rated it it was amazing
Another in the long-running PARKER series about a tough career criminal and his attempts to keep from getting caught, or worse. This is actually a very atypical novel in the series, mostly due to the fact that Parker just can't seem to catch a break. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but Parker spends most of the book trying to get back some money he feels is owed him, which leads to more problems down the road.

I really liked the atypical interplay between Parker and the real-estat
Jul 19, 2015 Stven rated it really liked it
This was a good Parker tale, a longer and more winding story than average but all there to connect Scene A to Scene Z. Involves fire trucks and Pasadena, Texas, but not at the same time. Book cover says it's "now a major motion picture" (wouldn't it be nice if just once they told us it was "now a MINOR motion picture"?) with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez. Ah, and Nick Nolte down at the tail end of the cast list -- THAT will make me find it and see if they did a decent job.
Michael Emond
May 21, 2013 Michael Emond rated it really liked it
My short review is: Another solid Parker novel (I have read 80% of them) very enjoyable, very fast read, very Parker with some new elements, and a lot of twists and changes of direction. The negative is there are a lot of "seriously?" moments when the coincidences start to mount up. But the fun of the story allows you to overlook those moments. We get a nice little part in the beginning of Parker doing a lot of quick one off heists to raise money. I love when Parker gets the freedom to do his th ...more
Tim Niland
Apr 12, 2016 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was originally published as Flashback, one of the latter books in the Stark (aka Donald Westlake) canon. It starts with a bank robbery. Parker and and a group of three men pull of the heist like clockwork. The three other men involved in the robbery make a some big mistakes: they decide to cut Parker out of the money and use it as seed money for their next caper, and more importantly, they let Parker live. When he is double crossed, Parker doesn't get mad, he gets even. Scouring the country ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Carl rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2014 Logan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Westlake obviously is more interested or adept at character development at this later stage of his career; however, he manages to entwine that depth of character seamlessly into the plot-action, never allowing a single thing to slow down throughout. On top of that, there isn't one "good guy" in this whole book, but you like all the characters, whether they play a small or large part in the story. Good stuff.
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The best of all 28 novels? 2 3 May 13, 2016 05:34PM  
  • Thieves' Dozen (Dortmunder, #12)
  • The Killing
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score
  • Quarry (Quarry, #1)
  • Nothing More Than Murder
  • The Woman Chaser
  • Lucky at Cards (Hard Case Crime #28)
  • His Name Was Death

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 Score (Parker, #5)
  • The Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
  • The Handle (Parker, #8)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)

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