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The Outfit (Parker #3)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,443 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews

You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at

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Published September 15th 2009 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1963)
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…that is the sound of icy cold, 80 proof, liquid badasseliciousness seeping from every pore of Richard Stark’s mantastic anti-hero, Parker. Over the past several seasons, thanks in large part to Kemper and Dan), I have become a big fan of crime fiction. During my reading excursions, I have come across some very engaging characters with high quotients of rough and tumble nastiness.

Parker is in a mold-breaking class by himself.

He’s unlike anyone else I've stumbled
Dan Schwent
After a hit man tries to kill Parker while he's in bed with a ladyfriend, Parker decides it's time to settle his score with The Outfit once and for all. While his various criminal acquaintances begin hitting Outfit-owned targets, Parker makes plans to take out the head of the Outfit. But will even taking out the top guy get the Outfit off his back?

As usual, Stark delivers the goods in fast-paced, stripped down style. Parker and Handy do what they do best. The plotting and action, as always, were
Richard Vialet
I love that I've discovered the Parker series. I'd been searching for a good series of popcorn books that I can read quickly without a whole lot of brainpower when I'm in that mood, or when I'm working and have little time to read. The Parker books have filled that void for me. They're quick, in-and-out little adventures that I can pop like mean little gummi bears whenever I want!

This episode seems to concludes the beef between master criminal Parker and the organized crime syndicate, the Outfit
Mar 28, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, 2014-reads
When The Outfit sets its sights on Parker it doesn't count on the fact that men like Parker, the "independent contractors" of the underworld are, in their own way, legion. The powers that be as well as the cogs and drones who comprise the myriad operations under the purview of The Outfit are soft targets, heretofore left alone out of a sort of professional courtesy. But, guess what kids? The gloves are coming off of Parker's freakishly powerful mitts.

The fact that Parker's first task is to laun
Jan 24, 2011 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I feel like an asshole giving this book five stars while only giving four stars to a much superior book like The Melancholy of Resistance. And then to rub in my shame goodreads goes and makes a new section on our profile pages where our favorite books are shown, and this is one of them, sitting right there in between Gravity's Rainbow and Infinite Jest. Horrors!

I hate the new favorites area on the profiles. Wasn't it enough to have a section in your profile you could list favorite books if you w
When Parker and the Outfit had a dispute in the first book of the series, Parker warned them what he’d do if they didn’t leave him alone. But after surviving an attempt on his life, it’s time for Parker to make good on his threat.

As Parker told the bosses of the Outfit, all the professional thieves know each other, and all of them have worked out some kind of scenario for robbing one of their operations because they’re cash-rich and won’t bring any legal attention. Potential revenge by the Outfi
Jan 14, 2011 brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
in the hunter, parker warned the Outfit that if he were to instruct all his contacts to hit Outfit run businesses across the nation, they could put some serious hurting on the organization. it never comes to that. in this book it does. and it's glorious. not only do we track parker's moves against high-ranking members of the Outfit, but individual chapters are devoted to heists and jobs by various transient criminals directed at the Outfit. good stuff.

i've always loved stories which feature an
Oct 26, 2015 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the first three Parker novels one after the other, it’s fascinating to observe what different beasts they are. The first is a terse, tense revenge thriller; the next is a book creating the true Parker formula, where our uber-professional thief gets a job and works on it, taking out every irritation as it comes; whilst the third is an odd combination of the two. In a way the ‘job is planned and carried out’ formula is here: the job being to get to Bronson – the head of the outfit, who we ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 21, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, thriller
This was a sort of relief to me. I mean this is far from great literature and it's a little disturbing that I like this/these books. Parker is a pretty cold duck (though he seems to be mellowing or something). It's an action read and a straight up thriller. Don't look for the philosophical take Parker has on life. Mostly he's good if he steals enough to live well.

Of course the fact that the Outfit has a problem with Parker and wants him dead is putting a cramp in his he has to kill th
My edition was a download from the library produced by Audio Go, read by John Chancer. It's about 300 minutes long & fantastic, again. Occasionally the job setups dragged a bit, came across as pedantic, but they were interesting for all that. As usual, Parker's acquaintances cause him issues, but this time they helped out, too. Great idea & very well done.

A thread from the beginning leads me in to the next book, too. On to read the next, The Mourner. I just have to know...
Mar 22, 2016 C.W. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 - Good entry into this series! Parker is such a great character to read about. And by great, I mean ridiculous. He's crazy. And will do literally anything he has to. I'm happy to root for him, though, and happy with how the story went in this one.
Oct 24, 2013 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parker had gotten a face lift to disguise himself from the Outfit. Word was out now, though they didn't know what he looked like. When someone fingers him and a hit man is sent, he decides it's tme to do something about it.

He heads north from Florida, visiting people along the way he'd worked with in the past. He also wrote letters to others to far off the route. He asked all if they had plans to hit outfit(they all idly thought about such jobs). As a professional courtesy, they left such hits a
Jul 11, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Noir crime novels
Recommended to Mark by: ed Lynsky
The closing episode of Parkers' Clash with the outfit that started in The Hunter.

The story starts with an attempt on Parkers' life while enjoying a physical tryst with a lady. When Parker obviously survives he wants answers and he gets them. Parker realizes that the Outfit will keep targeting him unless he takes steps to make it financial unappealing to keep tracking him down while at the same time taking out the responsible person.
This book is about Parkers' campaign against the Outfit in whic
Jane Stewart
Apr 15, 2013 Jane Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Outfit (mafia) sends a hitman to kill Parker. Parker makes the Outfit sorry it ever tangled with him.

I’m enjoying these stories and find myself wanting to read one right after the other. Like potato chips, you can’t eat just one. These are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They don’t go to jail. They’re smart. It’s fun to be in this world for a change. A few times I’m delighted or surprised with something. I liked the plot in this one.

The narrator John Chancer was ok.

This is book 3 in the
The weakest in the series that I've read so far. But that's not to say it isn't worth a look. On the down side, The Outfit is simply unbelievable, with its notion that Parker only has to sit down and write some letters to his fellow professional robbers to take down a nationwide criminal organization. Westlake (Stark) is trying to say something about corporate America -- and corporate criminals, than runs along the lines of Who can tell the difference anymore? (That was probably a cliche even in ...more
Dec 02, 2014 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
Third in the Parker series. Parker went to all the trouble to get a new face that was revealed in book 2, but finds by the end of that book that his new appearance has been revealed anyway and the "Outfit," (Organized Crime) is out to kill him. Parker strikes back as only he can do. Good one!
Talk about a kick-ass beginning: right from the first sentence Parker is rolling out of bed as a hit man's bullet fluffs the pillow Parker's head just vacated. Now that is starting in the middle of the action for dang sure. Doesn't let up either. So that I love. And Stark/Westlake's style in these Parker novels is beautifully precise. Lean, yet concrete. Not lush, yet sensory. Complicated heist descriptions, yet easy to read as a recipe. And if you love heist books, well, this is the motherlode ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Piker7977 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
The quest to complete the Parker canon is very fun and extremely addicting.

The Outfit was a blast. Parker is looking to tie up some loose ends with the Outfit and hit them right where it hurts. Right from the start one realizes the Outfit still has plans for Parker and after that it's off to the races. The reader is in for a real treat with some clever heists and a satisfying ending. One can appreciate the code of professional armed robbers after reading this episode.

We also learn a little bit
Luca Lesi
Apr 01, 2016 Luca Lesi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Credi a me, al mondo c'è un'unica cosa giusta: la poligamia — sentenziò lui.
Simbolicamente si chiude la trilogia iniziale di Parker, personaggio di difficile collocazione tra bene e male, giudice, giustiziere e vittima, ironico e spietato.
Letture senza impegno ma di buona qualità
Se è vero che le persone oneste non devono mai dare spiegazioni, Parker non ne da nemmeno quando agisce da disonesto.
Parker si accontenta di arraffare il denaro, dovunque lo trovi. Fa uno o due colpi all'anno, e si tratt
Sep 27, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I purchased this on Amazon based on the fact that a friend on Goodreads had been reading this series by Richard Stark, one of Donald Westlake's pseudonyms. This was another attempt at finding a crime author who can match John D. MacDonald. No dice on that score; Stark/Westlake is no JDM. However, I found this book interestingly satisfying, and I'm interested in reading more in the series. (I have also finished, before writing this review, the first in the series, The Hunter.)
Stark/Westlake is wh
Tim Niland
Aug 18, 2009 Tim Niland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
The mob never should have messed with Parker. Before it was business, but when they sent the hit man to his hotel, it became personal. Can the master thief and ultimate anti-hero take down the entire Syndicate? Loners like Parker and his underworld associates had previously honored an uneasy peace with organized crime, but now all deals are off. Parker spreads the word - hit them and hit them hard. Soon, Outfit fronts for gambling and loan sharking are being hit all across the country, but Parke ...more
What is it that makes us (me) find the bad guy so intriguing? Why do we root for Parker? His sense of independence? Is it the David v Goliath theme? Probably all of the above.

This story is dated: no cell phones or other little technological marvels that surround us today, but it's a good story. Parker, our favorite bad guy, is annoyed after the syndicate hires a hitman to take him out. Parker had stolen back some money he was owed and the "outfit" was pissed. Realizing that they won't give up,
Apr 28, 2009 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 13, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was decent Noir. It was a quick read, and enough to convince me to buy more Parker novels- if they aren't over five dollars or so.
Tony Gleeson
Jun 23, 2010 Tony Gleeson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the moment I skipped the second entry in Stark/Westlake's Parker series, "The Man with the Getaway Face," and moved on to "The Outfit." Simple premise. The Mob has decided to come after Parker-- a bad mistake since that results in Parker coming after them. Again the plot runs like a well-designed machine: nobody and nothing stands in the way of the callous and unrelenting criminal. There are few surprises and the end is never really in doubt-- but the story remains captivating throughout. A ...more
Nov 05, 2015 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, crime-fiction
"When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed.”
Joe Santoro
Mar 09, 2016 Joe Santoro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-caper
This is a bit of a departure from the 1st 2 Parker novels. Parker's only in the story for about 1/2 of it. When he is, the majority of his time he's writing letters, visiting people he did jobs with in the past (he doesn't call anyone a friend), or on stake out. Sounds boring, right?

Somehow, it's not. This is certainly the best of the 3 so far, though honestly if written today they'd probably be a single book. Parker survives a hit attempt from the Outfit (who like to call themselves the Syndica
Michael Emond
Nov 11, 2015 Michael Emond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reread this book for fun (read it in 2012) and it still holds up and is still one of my top five Parker books - a series I have read from start to finish and enjoyed every book. It tries to wrap up Parker and his first story line with the Outfit (the Mafia really). It starts with the Outfit trying to kill off Parker with a hitman and failing and this sets Parker off on his vendetta to hit the Outfit back. The best idea of this book is that Parker sends his fellow criminals out to rob Outfit op ...more
Steve Isaak
Jun 09, 2014 Steve Isaak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outfit, which takes place three months after the events of The Man with the Getaway Face , is as word-lean, intense, entertaining and character-intrinsic as its preceding novels, achieving that last warm-familiar effect by featuring characters from them, namely: Handy (from Getaway) and Bronson and Fairfax (from The Hunter ).

Outfit's ending is a direct, promising lead-in to the next Parker novel, The Mourner.

This series is worth owning thus far.


The resulting film was released stateside in Oct
Feb 14, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So good! I have a whole new appreciation of organized crime's money-making schemes. Fun to read and an education too.
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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 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)
  • The Black Ice Score (Parker, #11)

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