Flashfire (Parker, #19)
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Flashfire (Parker #19)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  593 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Parker seeks revenge on the criminals who betrayed him as Melander and his gang head for Palm Beach to score a fortune in stolen jewelry.
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published November 21st 2000 by Mysterious Press (first published November 1st 2000)
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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...more
Adam
Jun 12, 2007 Adam rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Mike
Sep 07, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
David
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
Jeff
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...more
[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
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...more
Tim Niland
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
Douglas Castagna
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...more
Ed
Aug 25, 2013 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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...more
Cherese Vines
Dec 03, 2013 Cherese Vines rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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,...more
Justinthunderliger
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
Derek
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...more
Michael Emond
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
Carl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Logan
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.
Alecia
I especially liked this Parker novel as Stark (aka Donald Westlake) uses his acerbic sense of humor to take on Palm Beach, FL. Even though the Parker series is not funny per se, Stark cannot keep his humor stifled during the whole narrative. No matter how grim and brutal it gets, there's always something very wryly observed to make the reader smile a little. In this story, Parker feels slighted by his partners in crime at the beginning of the narrative. He spends the rest of the time planning hi...more
Miss  Mushrooms
I would like to note that I was really skeptical and unsure of this book to begin with as I had won this in a competition alongside the book to movie adaptation, and chose to read the book first over watching the movie.

But the book is somewhat really addictive to get into, after the third or fourth chapter I couldn't put it down and hated putting it down when I had to do other things. Because of this book I would really like to read other Richard Stark books.

Parker has the witty, and yet sarcas...more
Aaron Martz
Another great Parker book. Engaging from the outset, relentlessly paced, violent, filled with more than the usual twists. Plot complications come out of nowhere, and the fleet-footed Parker is kept constantly on his toes. That Westlake is able to cram this much plot into less than 300 pages shows what a master he is at efficiency of description and dialogue. This book concerns three criminals who throw Parker over and head down to Palm Beach to plan a jewelry heist among the elitist snobs. Parke...more
Rog Harrison
I am a great fan of this series so I was pleased to come across a book I had not already read. There are lots of twists and turns in this story and Parker is as resourceful as ever but somehow I did not find the ending satisfying.
PinkieBrown
However generic, in the McGee/ Reacher sense, Parker is; I'm confident Stark is going to keep twisting story elements around. Parker needs a new identity to track some guys who borrowed his cut of a robbery to financed a bigger heist. His appointment is on the same day as a man who doesn't want anyone to know what his new name is. Parker needs some local knowledge of a neighbourhood but the real estate agent is sharp enough to know he isn't buying property. Very inventive and naturalistic plot b...more
Ed-kay
Looking for a substitute for Reacher now I've nearly finished that series, I heard good things about this character Parker. He's a bit harder, a bit meaner, and a lot more taciturn, so steps in neatly to fill the hole left wanting revenge fantasies pursued by utterly assured and realistic but invincible protagonists.
Phi
Great caper novel!

It's my first read in the Parker series by Stark, as it's the one the new movie with Jason Statham is based on. Very easy to imagine cinematically, somewhat like a cross between 'Get Shorty' and 'The Bourne Identity' with a pinch of 'The Italian Job'
Laura
Fun stuff! I picked this up because of the movie forthcoming next year, and of course because of Levi Stahl’s infectious enjoyment of the author’s work. Enjoyed this more than the earlier Parker book I read, and made me want to read more of these. The pseudo love triangle that never happened stuck with me afterward for some reason. When we actually were in the vicinity of Palm Beach visiting Scott’s grandparents before American Thanksgiving, I kept thinking back to this book. That's the best kin...more
Hans
First read 7/13/2001; second read 11/16/2012
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This is a highlight of the Parker series overall, but especially the post-Butcher's Moon books. (view spoiler)

A few of the side characters feel like Westla...more
Ed
#19 in the Parker series.

Parker series - Parker has joined three other pros in robbing a midwestern bank. They make their getaway and the trio invites Parker to join them in a really big score--$12 million in diamonds from a Palm Beach mansion. Parker opts out, even after they explain that they need his share of the bank robbery as seed money .Angry at being stiffed, Parker resolves to steal the Palm Beach haul from them. Needing his own seed money, Parker stages a series of carefully wrought bu...more
Patrick
Solid writing and plotting, with more details revealed about Parker than usual, including a vulnerable phase.
James Cage
I enjoyed all the Parker books, especially the ones that came after the 23 year gap between Butcher's Moon and Comeback. With Flashfire, the author (Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark) was at the peak of his ability. Flashfire is the 18th novel in the series, and by this point the character of Parker is very firmly placed in the mind of the author (and of the minds of the readers). In Flashfire, the story and the supporting characters stand out against the black-on-black background of Par...more
Zora
Except for the fact that this is the last Westlake book I get to read, which makes me want to kill myself a tiny bit, reading this was an enjoyable two-hour experience.

Parker gets stiffed by fellow bank robbers and hunts them down to steal their next haul from them. As always, at the edges of the plot, Westlake is the working man's advocate, making fun of rich people in Palm Beach to good effect. Clever plotting, crystal clean prose, well drawn secondary characters: Westlake. I miss him more tha...more
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