The Handle (Parker, #8)
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The Handle (Parker #8)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  653 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any i...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 15th 2009 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1966)
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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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Jane Stewart
4 ½ 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 wa...more
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.
Sep 04, 2009 Mohammed rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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
Tim Niland
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
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
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
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, lea...more
Stuart Langridge

Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to

Joseph Badal
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.
Alex Gherzo
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...more
Shawn McGuan
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
John Defrog
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
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.
Aaron Martz
Your usual fast-paced Parker book. This time he's hired to rob a casino on a Cuban island off the coast of Texas which is operated by a German expatriate named The Baron who is wanted by the FBI. As usual, the book is predominately action, with only minimum setup and character development. This one is peculiar in that Parker starts off as the main character, but his pal Grofield takes over once he's introduced, and the second half of the book is told predominately from his perspective. The clima...more
Parker is back on the job, this time he is to hit a casino on an island off the coast of Texas, and enlists Grofield, who had quite a large part, to help. While Parker is all business Grofield, who is an actor when not working criminal jobs, helps lighten up the mood a bit. A good fast paced listen narrated by Stephen Thorne.
Nathanael Smith
I started reading this book when I found it last summer at a random bookstore while we were on tour and have been wanting to finish it ever since. The majority of it takes place in and around Galveston as Parker is hired by the mob to knock over a casino out on an island off the coast, so the beginning has a great blend of class and atmosphere and is right up my alley. Apparently Richard Stark wouldn't plan out his stories before he wrote them, he would just go in every day and do whatever he fe...more
Mike Sanders
This has been the weakest Parker novel of the series so far. It felt rushed and slapped together, whereas the previous novels were brisk, but expertly plotted. There were so many loose ends at the end that I felt like some of these characters (other than Grofield, of course) should be making appearances in later Parker novels, if only to justify their breezy exits from this novel. (On a side note, this edition had at least ten major typos that editors should have caught. Totally inexcusable. I w...more
Thierry Nguyen
Been reading the Parker books in sporadic out-of-order bursts. First time I didn't "love" one, but an okay Parker book is still pretty good in general. The setup and the actual job itself is cool, it's just the ending feels super abrupt and episodic. It felt like Westlake went, "yup, I'm done" at a semi arbitrary point for even a Parker novel. The fate of the main antagonists gets wrapped up quickly and off-screen with little involvement from the other characters or fanfare. It probably works in...more
Matthuvius Manhandlinglambs
Love these Parker books. This one, written in '66, was clearly influenced by the popularity of James Bond. Enigmatic crime lord, private gambling island, musclebound goons, hot babe in leggings.
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
Marc Weidenbaum
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cold 'till the bitter end. The Outfit wants Parker to knock down a casino and kidnap someone. So they burn the casino down to the ground and have a firefight with the kidnapee fleeing to Mexico with two suitcases full of money and diamonds. So we have Grofield shot and dying while Parker looks for the score in the Mexican desert.

I love how he writes his stories in four parts. The third part is always about the other players in the story, not Parker. This one in particular is dealing with Grofiel...more
With The Handle we get to spend more time with Parker's occasional partner Grofield--part-time thief, part-time actor. In many ways, this job is Parker playing a role too--perhaps even multiple roles. Consider this his James Bond turn. He is the agent with a license to steal provided by two institutions.

(view spoiler)...more
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