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Plunder Squad (Parker, #15)
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Plunder Squad (Parker #15)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  499 ratings  ·  52 reviews

âHearing the click behind him, Parker threw his glass straight back over his right shoulder, and dove off his chair to the left.â When a job looks like amateur hour, Parker walks away. But even a squad of seasoned professionals can't guarantee against human error in a high-risk scam. Can an art dealer with issues unload a truck of paintings with Parkerâs aid? Or will the

Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 28th 1985 by Avon Books (Mm) (first published 1972)
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“So Mr. Parker, how can our employment agency help you?”

“Things haven’t been going well with my old job, and I’m thinking about a career change.”

“Let’s take a look at your resume… It says here that you’ve been a professional thief most of your adult life. You’ve got some experience and skill with firearms, false identities, auto theft…. And you’ve done some very impressive jobs, Mr. Parker. I’m surprised you’re looking for another line of work.”

“I’ve had a terrible string of bad luck. A loose en
James Thane
Richard Stark's amoral protagonist, known only as Parker, is low on cash and looking for work. Parker specializes in planning and executing elaborate heists and this inevitably involves working with others. Sadly, not all criminals are as talented and trustworthy as Parker and this means that his first task in planning any job is ensuring that those around him are dependable and up to the task.

This can occasionally be a problem, and that's certainly the case as this book opens. A man Parker know
Dan 1.0
A hijacking job goes south when George Uhl rears his ugly head. On top of that, Parker gets involved in an art heist. Can Parker deal with George Uhl and pull off the art heist?

Parker's run of bad luck continues in this one. The first heist goes bad, Parker has to take care of Uhl AND another guy, and the art dealer who hired Parker and company turns out to be in some serious money trouble. Poor Parker. The guy is as unlucky as Dortmunder in the last few books.

The action is fast and furious in t
The penultimate of the original Parker novels.

Plunder Squad has quite a few things going on in it. Unlike other Parker novels this one has some side stories going on aside from the usual heist that is the focus of the novels.

An old enemy returns to try to kill Parker. A couple of jobs fall through and another one is executed. Some characters from past novels return, actually some surprising characters, or at least ones I didn't think were necessarily that memorable the first time around to thi
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Pretty good. Not the best in the series but worth reading.

Interesting the way Parker has no normal social interaction with others. A married woman knocks on Parker’s motel door, hoping to get something going with Parker. He won’t even answer the door. And then he packs and leaves the job. He won’t be part of a group that includes a woman like her.

The ending action scene was good - how he got out of a bad situation where he was outnumbered. There were two other good scenes where Parker
Another good Parker novel. As usual, a lot happens & Parker is perfectly Parker. The beginning of the book had me wondering as there's quite a glitch in the dates, but otherwise it hung together well. Good reader & the audio volume was a lot better on this one than the last I listened to. i can't wait for the library to get more of the series.
This is the first Parker book I read where I had to put it down to read something else due to work. And I didn't bother to re-read the first part again, I just got into it right away. I love this Parker because everything turns out bad. Parker is still highly professional and deadly, but ....things are now more funky. In fact it is professional way of doing business saves him in the end of the day. Nevertheless people die, money doesn't get made, and things get worst. There is a humor strain tha ...more
After taking a kind of vacation in Slayground, Parker gets back to work in Plunder Squad, and it is, as always, the kind of book that Starklake does best: a slice of life from the career thief. Whereas Slayground was a set piece, Plunder Squad is tangle of events from the ongoing story of Parker's criminal career. And it is, as well, the clearest evidence you could want that Parker is a pure sociopath: Any sane person would work in a McDonald's rather than deal with Parker's problems.
"Then there were fifteen minutes of small-talk. Parker never took pleasure in that kind of thing, but he knew other people found it necessary and he'd trained himself to take part in it.”

Parker was the wonderful creation of Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. All of Parker titles are being reissued by the University of Chicago Press. I’ve read many over the years, bought a couple more than once because I couldn’t remember which ones I had read (pre-Goodreads,) but never-mind, they hold up
things hadn't gone well for Parker recently. He'd had to hide the take from the last job in order to escape, and it would be a long while before the hear died down. Then during the first meeting of the crew for a new job, the last man in takes a shot at Parker, killing one of the others, and igniting a running gun battle. An old enemy, George Uhl, that Parker, in a rare moment, had let live, caused that job to die. Time sensitive, it would be another year before it could be tackled.

The next job
Steve Isaak
*Loosely linked crossover novel with Joe Gores' novel Dead Skip *

Plunder is another favorite-for-this-reader entry in Stark's Parker series. It not only varies up the usual Parker storyline in a taut and thrilling way, it brings together familiar faces from previous novels in this series: Ed Mackey, one of Parker's cheerful semi-regular heistmates; Dan Kearny*, a P.I. who crossed paths with Parker prior to the main storyline of The Hunter ; George Uhl, a murderous thug Parker encountered in T
Mike Jensen
What a strangely structured book. The first third has nothing to do with the rest, except in a comedy of errors way. Thief Parker is close to broke and needs a big score. Things keep falling through, but an old acquaintance tries to kill him. Parker must track the guy down and kill him first, if Parker can find him.

While the other plot overlaps slightly in the way that Stark (really Donald E. Westlake) chose to tell it, this book is almost two novellas. The caper that will fill the rest of the
Parker has an old for who he let love come back to try and take him out. But knowing Parker he gets him after the attempts at Parker's life. The heist in ribs is about paintings with big money, but not having all the resources to sell these hot commodities afterwards is the problem. On top of that the middle man who Parker and his friends were going to sell the 21 paintings took a stupid loan with be mob, who of course had their high interest rates. The mob come to collect what is owed after the ...more
The only thing that could make the Parker novels more perfect would be if Donald Westlake were still alive enough to be writing more. So if anybody knows a little necromancy, I'd like to see him as some kind of undead author lich, churning out novels into eternity. My birthday is in August. I eagerly await the fulfillment of this request.
Debbie J
I guess there's usually at least one bad apple in the bunch and Plunder Squad is it, in my opinion. The story is rather a letdown, especially for ace thief Parker.

The key heist scene is well-written despite seeming a bit implausible. Nonetheless, Parker's a pro and he knows how to get the job done; he just can't account for other people's hidden greed or momentary stupidity.

I did enjoy seeing the return of several characters from earlier Parker books. Their comments are often subtle references t
Jim A
Other than Parker being Parker, it's always fun to see if Parker and his merry band of thieves can actually get away with the swag. In some novels he does, in others he is thwarted by circumstances or by partners that have their own idea of 'fair'. Whatever the outcome, getting to the end game of the novel is a fun read.
Classic Parker. Lucky to escape with his life from this heist. But if I were him, I would start to consider another career path given his on-going lack of success on the dark side of the pursuit of earning a living.
Aaron Martz
A disjointed but still relentless Parker novel, this one ties up some loose ends left over from earlier books in the series. In it, Parker has run out of money and is desperate for a job, and worse yet his luck has run out and job after job is foiled before he can collect. This book, like The Rare Coin Score, is interesting because of how uncharacteristically restless Parker is at its outset and how that gets him into trouble he would otherwise have steered well clear of, and like Slayground it ...more
Alex Gherzo
For the past few years I've made my last book read each year a Parker book. I didn't get to for 2013 as I was reading quite a large book over the Christmas season (and I tend to read rather slowly; I like to savor) that I didn't finish until after New Year's. So I made my first book of 2014 the next on my list of Richard Stark's amazing series. It was a great way to start the new year. Plunder Squad is vintage Parker, fast-moving and violent, with some great Parker moments. It continued with a t ...more
John Hood
Bound: A Six Pack of Kickass

A Half Dozen More Heist Books from Richard Stark

SunPost Weekly August 5, 2010 | John Hood

Gotta luv the folks at University of Chicago Press. Not only have they decided to bring back Richard Stark’s belovedly badass Parker novels, but they’ve been doing so in sequence, with a niftily packed series that smacks back to the ’60s beginning and — Zeus-willing — won’t let up till its 21st century end.

The beginning, for those few who don’t know, was The H
Justin Sorbara-Hosker
Another good one; the ones where Stark breaks the mold a bit always seems to result in the best entries in the series. Reading them in order is much preferable to picking them up scattershot (which one certainly can do) - really looking forward to Butcher's Moon, the last of the original run.

Believable - jobs get set up, then loused up & don't actually happen, old loose ends that require attention reappear, & generally nothing seems to go right for Parker. Perhaps the most realistic in
Tim Niland
This novel should be titled A Study In Frustration because whatever the ultimate thief and anti-hero Parker tries to set for a score falls through, leaving him angry, frustrated and low on funds. After a couple of jobs fall through due to an ambush and personal problems, Parker is forced to eliminate one of his rivals that he allowed to live during a rare moment of compassion in a previous novel. Finally Parker and colleagues settle on an ingenious heist of an armored car loaded with precious ar ...more
Three and a half stars. I really wanted this to be my favorite of the Parker novels because the title is SO GREAT. Also, the beginning and middle of this book were fast-paced and surprisingly funny for Parker really unravels at the end. The book continues the bad luck streak of our hero/anti-hero and I'm getting kind of tired of seeing Parker continually lose his well-earned swag. The reason I read Parker is because I like seeing the bad guy win!
I have been reading mysteries and crime novels for decades and have somehow not read Donald E. Westlake until now; odd because he is one of the most prolific writers of the genre. Richard Stark is one of his many pen names and "Plunder Squad" is part of a long series of Parker novels. It is the story of a heist--actually the story of several months in the life of a professional criminal who does hijackings and armed robberies always as part of an ad hoc crew that comes together for a specific cr ...more
Sean Hackbarth
An odd book in the Parker series in that it jumps around from initial attack to a heist that fails in its planning stages to an actual heist. It's still outstanding, well-crafted, dark noir with the dark, brooding Parker as the star, but it feels more like Richard Stark (A.K.A. Donald Westlake) used this book to tie up some loose ends while setting things up for the future.
This started well and seemed to be going in a new direction with characters popping up from older books. But the Uhls storyline didn't seem to have much to do with the heist (except maybe thematically) and once he was out of the way he was forgotten.

To be honest it felt like two separate shorts stuck together and even though the art heist part was as well written and exciting as any in this series, it was very quick and straghtforward (in the style of the series, although obviously there were a
Heath Lowrance
Stark's writing style is lean and no-nonsense, and the action keeps moving along, but it's Parker as a protagonist that makes this all work. A professional criminal, he's tough (understatement), clinical, and as ruthless as the job demands.
Plunder Squad is structured oddly; it's not a novel so much as it is a set of interconnected vignettes. My only complaint about it (and it's a small complaint) is that, early on, a plot thread is introduced and we're sorta led to believe it will be the centra
John Defrog
The 15th Parker novel, in which Parker actually has trouble finding a heist worth doing, experiencing a couple of false starts – one of which involves a run-in with a character in a previous book that he should have killed when he had the chance – before settling on a plan to steal some art on its way between exhibitions. And even that comes with complications, one of the biggest being the guy contracting the heist in the first place. This is classic Stark, and it’s fun seeing Parker go through ...more
Once again, reading a Parker novel is, for me, a guarantee of excellent, tight prose, a fantastic amoral "hero", and wonderful plotting. I love the way these books usually start, no wait, and take the reader right into the action. Here is the first sentence: " Hearing the click behind him, Parker threw his glass straight back over his right shoulder, and dove off his chair to the left." I also love Parker's disdain for small talk amongst his companions in crime, only doing so at a bare minimum b ...more
Aug 17, 2012 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
#15 in the Parker series. Just when you think nothing else can go wrong, it does p- and fascinatingly so in the hand os master craftsman Richard Stark (the late Donald E. Westlake).

Parker is on a losing streak as Plunder Squad begins. George Uhl (last seen in The Sour Lemon Score) louses up a job and tries to kill him. The next possible job is amateur hour, and Parker walks away. Needing money, he signs on to a high-risk art theft. A top-notch team is assembled, including Ed Mackey and Stan Deve
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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)
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  • The Handle (Parker, #8)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)
The Hunter (Parker, #1) The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2) The Outfit (Parker, #3) The Score (Parker, #5) The Mourner (Parker, #4)

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