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The Handle (Parker #8)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  992 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
The Baron ran a gambling island off the Texas coast in the Gulf’s blue waters. To Parker, it was just a floating crap game with class. To the Big Boys, it was competition they couldn’t stomach. They wanted a specialist to rob the Baron blind, pluck him like a chicken, and burn this paradise island into the sea. That’s why they sent for Parker. His price was 200 grand in ca ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 158 pages
Published 1966 by Pocket Books
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The Hunter by Richard StarkThe Outfit by Richard StarkThe Seventh by Richard StarkThe Man With The Getaway Face by Richard StarkThe Score by Richard Stark
Richard Stark's Parker Novels
11th out of 13 books — 3 voters
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
479th out of 509 books — 1,138 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,426)
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When Parker finally settled his differences with the Outfit, he didn’t expect to get any job offers from them. However, a guy named Baron has set up a profitable casino operation on his own private island in the Gulf of Mexico, and the head of the Outfit can’t stand that they aren’t getting a piece of the action so he enlists Parker to rip off Baron and burn down his operation.

Since he needs cash after the events of the last couple of books, Parker agrees and begins planning his own version of D
Dan Schwent
Parker, Grofield, and Salsa are hired by the Outfit to rob an island casino and burn it to the ground. Only the feds get wind of the plot and force Parker to either bring back the man running the casino or go to jail himself. Can Parker get the handle and bring in the Baron?

As usual, Stark weaves a serpentine tale of scheming, violence, and double crosses. Things start going south at the beginning but Parker's motivation to continue was believable considering he lost most of his money when the W
the Outfit hires parker to head to a cuban controlled island/casino off the coast of galveston, texas not just to rob it, but to burn it the hell to the ground. the american cops track parker's every move, but leave him be: a case, i suppose, of 'the devil we know (parker) over the devil we don't (commie-financed ex-nazi and casino boss baron von altstein)'

grofield, parker's crime buddy, offers a flamboyant contrast to parker's cold-as-ice existential anti-hero, and that's where most of the fun
May 27, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of noir
Recommended to Mark by: Ed Lynskey
Number 8 in the series that Richard Stark wrote about "Parker" who on screen have been played by Lee Marvin in "Point Blank", Jason Statham in "Parker" & Mel Gibson in "Payback". All movies are worth your while and fairly true to the character that Richard Stark wrote about.

After having his identity and modus operandi burned in the previous book Parker is in need of some serious cash. So wisely of not he accepts a job from the outfit in robbing a casino on an island outside of the US territ
Jane Stewart
4 stars. Several times I laughed or enjoyed something surprising or unexpected.

Parker is on a job. Things go wrong. How he and his partners respond is neat to watch.

A fun scene: The Outfit assigned Crystal to help Parker with part of the job. They were on a boat going to an island. She talked too much. Parker discovered the way to handle her. When she paused he grunted. She turned his grunts into whatever words she wanted to hear and went on with her monologue again. She’s deathly afraid of wat
Mar 01, 2011 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Maybe one day soon I'll be inspired to write some longer Parker reviews again, but really there is only so much I have to say about them without giving a book report.

In this one Parker and his buddies are hired by the Outfit to rob and destroy an off-shore casino run by an ex-Nazi. This is the most far-fetched Parker novel so far (I enjoyed his knocking over a riverboat casino in his 1990's reincarnation better) and the mob would have done better to go hire the heavies from Tiger Cab for this k
Jun 21, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the reasons these books are so great to read is Parker's unwavering 'all business' manner when he's planning and executing a job. This heist goes wrong, but sorting out complications make the story for me.
Mike French
Jan 26, 2015 Mike French rated it it was amazing
The second Parker novel I have read. This series is written by one of my favorite authors-Donald Westlake under the pen name Richard Stark. Until I joined Goodreads,I didn't know of their existence. Now I am on a quest to read them all!

Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Another good adventure with plenty of twists & turns. There were a few things that didn't sit all that well, such as (view spoiler) but overall it was a lot of fun.

While I have the next 4 books in audio book format, I think I'll take a break & listen to a different author for a while.
Jun 23, 2016 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, reviewed
I love these Parker books. They practically read themselves! Stark/Westlake sticks to what makes the story move forward and foregoes all the padding other, less capable authors would cram in there just to lengthen the book. Anyhoo, this being the eighth book of the series, it was nice to see references to previous storylines. This helps to establish a sort of continuity that makes Parker's world feel real, as opposed to every story happening in a vacuum. I like that Parker, as a character, is ev ...more
Sep 13, 2014 Alecia rated it really liked it
Since I have not read the Parker series in order, it is a wonderful surprise when I discover one I have not yet read. In The Handle, the formula is similar;Parker is pitched an idea for a heist, a crew is gathered, things go wrong and double crosses take place. This time the heist is on an island location with a gambling casino run by a sketchy Baron. I have read the few stand-alone Grofield books by Stark, so it was fun to see the Grofield character play off against Parker's no-nonsence persona ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 16, 2016 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, thriller
Ocean's Eleven meets The Wild Bunch..without the horses though.

Parker gets a call for another job, he has second thoughts and still doesn't listen to his intuition. You'd think by book 8 he'd have learned.

So another outing full of violence, betrayal, dishonesty, theft, blood...a little humor in this one to. Just everything you need for an uplifting, fun and positive read.

Tim Niland
Apr 20, 2010 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parker, the ultimate anti-hero and master thief receives an audacious proposition. The organized crime unit (The Outfit) that he had thwarted in previous books comes back to him, hat in hand, asking for his help with a problem. Thirty-five miles off the coast of Galveston, TX is an island owned by "The Baron" who operates a lucrative gambling casino there and mocks The Outfit's attempts to extort the profits. The Outfit wants Parker to take out The Baron's operation permanently, allowing him and ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
May 03, 2015 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
This was Richard Stark’s eighth Parker novel, and it hit a new level of structural perfection and characterization. Some members of The Outfit – Stark’s version of the Mafia – want Stark to rob and level a casino that operates past the 40-mile limit off Galveston coast on an island under Cuban jurisdiction. It’s run by Wolfgang Baron, who really was once a Baron – and an art thief, an SS officer, and an international fugitive. Planning the job is well underway when two FBI agents visit Parker. T ...more
Sep 04, 2009 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard Stark/Donald.E Westlake fans
Shelves: noir, richard-stark
Another quality book in Parker series. I hadnt read a Parker/Stark book in a year and almost forgot how much quality there is in the writing of Stark. The characters was top notch as usual. Parker business like efficiency,his ways are always great to read.

Grofield made this book extra fun read, he is so different from Parker. He is funny,unique in his field.

Not the best book in the series but still very good read and what i expected.
Apr 30, 2010 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parker is partners with the Outfit in this one. They want a gambling kingpin, nestled on an island forty miles off the Texas coast, robbed because he's out of their "legal" reach, thus they can't cut them in.

Plus a government agency has him backed into a corner, They want the guy brought ashore so he can be arrested. It's him or Parker.

But Parker doesn't trust the government or the Outfit.
Apr 13, 2016 Dave rated it liked it
My first experience with Parker--this is great pulp adventure written by someone who uses comic timing and characterization for a much grittier story. Plot isn't much, but it certainly moves quickly with a refreshing lack of superheroes. I might rank it higher after I see how it sticks with me.
Dec 13, 2010 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
The eighth Parker novel starts out slowly, gets interesting in the middle, then devolves into an action-adventure novel. No reason to read this one unless you're working your way through the entire series--which, of course, you should be doing.

Footnote: Shame on the University of Chicago Press for the shoddy state of this particular reprint. Their version of The Handle is a minefield of typos, some of which radically change the meanings of sentences. The worst of these is on page 123.

Steve Isaak
Aug 23, 2014 Steve Isaak rated it really liked it
Six weeks after the bloody craziness of The Seventh , Parker is back in business, plotting an island heist job at the request of Walter Karns, the Outfit boss who indirectly helped Parker in The Outfit . One of Parker's active associates in his current endeavor is Alan Grofeld (last seen in The Score), happily married to that Mary, that "telephone girl" who forsook her Nebraska hometown to run off with one of the bandits who robbed it.

Like the preceding Parker novels, Handle is short, sharp, l
John Cain
Nov 04, 2014 John Cain rated it liked it
A short fun read for fans of Parker, of which I am.
Apr 15, 2015 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stark continues his winning streak by following my two favorite Parker novels (so far) - The Jugger and The Seventh - with another tightly plotted and deftly written installment. Here, Parker's task is to rob and raze a nationless island casino on behalf of the Outfit, without getting nabbed by the FBI (who want to take down the casino owner just as badly as the Outfit does). Parker is joined on this adventurous heist by his ersatz companion (and Stark's other great literary creation), the melod ...more
Serge Pierro
Sep 25, 2016 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Once again I've been pleasantly surprised by the "Parker" series of books by Richard Stark. This time we have recurring characters and organizations involved, all with a 1960's James Bond "feel" throughout, complete with a villain. Parker is no James Bond, but his "cold" personality engages the reader in a similar fashion. One of the main features of this volume is that it provides more exposure for Grofield, who would be featured in his own series of books beginning in 1967, a year after this ...more
Joseph Badal
Oct 05, 2012 Joseph Badal rated it it was amazing
Stark's character Parker becomes more rounded, more complete with each book in the series. I just loaded the next 4 in the series onto my ipad.
Luca Lesi
Apr 08, 2016 Luca Lesi rated it liked it
Non era importante sapere quanto ci fosse in cassa, ma sapere se si poteva fregare il denaro e portarselo via.
The handel, la rapina, titolo tradotto per la serie dei gialli Mondadori come Parker : a ferro e fuoco, scritto nel 1967 e ottavo libro della serie, forse uno dei migliori.
Parker decide di lavorare per la mafia che lo assolda per rapinare un casinò gestito da un certo Baron, ex nazista (quindi il più cattivo di tutti ) che non intende pagare la sua quota. Parker può tenersi tutto il bott
Alex Gherzo
Mar 20, 2012 Alex Gherzo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fast-paced Parker caper. The Outfit wants to send a message to Wolfgang Baron, an escaped Nazi who runs a gambling and prostitution racket out of an island in the Gulf of Mexico and refuses to pay them their share. Problem is, they have no way of getting to him, so they hire Parker to clean the place out. As Parker puts the robbery together, he has to deal with the Outfit's bureaucracy and shady teammates, as well as the law, who know what he's up to and have their own interest in Baron. If ...more
Debbie J
The Handle finds ace criminal Parker embarking upon a caper doomed to fail. The island-based casino has only a single entrance and exit and the robbers’ escape will involve navigating a boat in the dark of night. In addition, the plan requires several people to execute near perfectly-timed and interdependent tasks.

In this series entry, author Richard Stark demands the reader’s greater-than-usual suspension of disbelief. He has our “hero” Parker manage a wild array of improbable characters and si
Shawn McGuan
Sep 10, 2013 Shawn McGuan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8 books in to Westlake's run of Parker books, and I expected things to potentially drag a bit. But it's becoming apparent that the books (and character) succeed because of the formula. Westlake spends so much time over the series reiterating Parker's mindset and worldview and each book follows the same four-act structure (usually with the non-linear third act), you barely notice how he's rearranging the pieces until you're in a different timezone from the start of the book. The Handle had a lot ...more
May 05, 2015 Piker7977 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
When Parker dabbled with international intrigue in The Mourner it was silly. The Handle offers a more entertaining and less goofy approach to a Fleming style story. Grofield and Salsa are back ... Yay!!! I always enjoy the partners whom help Parker pull off his schemes.

This was enjoyable but will be forgettable in the series for me. I'm still looking forward to reading the other entries in the Parker canon.
John Defrog
Nov 11, 2013 John Defrog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The eighth Parker novel, in which Parker is hired by the Outfit (a.k.a. the mob) to knock over an island casino in the Gulf of Mexico run by ex-Nazi Wolfgang Baron. The reason: Baron is competing with the Outfit, and they don’t like competition. So they want Parker to rob the casino and burn it down. This installment almost feels a little like a James Bond adventure, at least if Bond was a professional thief instead of a spy. But it’s still classic Parker in terms of planning the heist, recruiti ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Yves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
A big job with a story that overlaps the action with the complex motivations of the characters, as buildings burn and people die as the plot moves forward. When the story seems to end ... it goes on stretching out the suspense & putting the conclusion in jeopardy but not the reader who is literally glued to the final chapters looking to grasp ... the handle.
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  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score
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  • King Blood
  • Survival Zero
  • I Should Have Stayed Home
  • Quarry in the Middle (Quarry #9)
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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)
  • The Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)
  • The Black Ice Score (Parker, #11)

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