The Outfit (Parker, #3)
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The Outfit (Parker #3)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,742 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Richard Stark's arch-criminal Parker returns in a classic novel of revenge. With The Outfit trying to kill him, Parker declares war. But with the entire underworld understanding that whatever he does--he does for keeps.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 1984 by Avon Books (first published 1963)
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Stephen
Drip…Drip…Drip
Drip…Drip...Drip

…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...more
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...more
Mara
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...more
Greg
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...more
brian
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...more
Kemper
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...more
Randy
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...more
Jim
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...
Mark
Jul 11, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jane Stewart
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...more
Steve
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
Erik
"When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed."

The Outfit is the third and arguably one of the best entries in the series, concluding the trilogy begun in The Hunter and continued in The Man With The Getaway Face. The very first line finds Parker dodging an assassination by the Outfit, his new face and identity having been revealed to them at the end of the last book. In his singleminded fashion Parker sets out to make good on his warning to the mob to leave him be, leaving a swa...more
Jim
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...more
Tim Niland
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
Eric_W
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,...more
Alex
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
Tony Gleeson
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
Steve Isaak
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 Octob...more
David
The Parker novels are at their best when they are at their most restrained. While Parker and his cohorts are planning and executing their heists, the narratives are fascinating, but when the guns fire and the fists fly, things get much less interesting. So it goes with The Outfit: The action of the opening chapter tries too hard, and the shoot-'em-up climax is anti-climactic, but everything in between is just about perfect.
Jake
Donald Westlake said that when he felt bad about the world, he wrote as Richard Stark. His legendary Parker series is an example of this. My first taste of the books, its as fast paced and yet as bleak as can be. None of the characters are deep or redeemable. Yet it is a quality crime read that roars from page 1 to the end. I'll definitely check out more at some point.
Bruce
I like to say that I like Westlake's humor more than his dark serious books, but the Parker series is REALLY good! Best part is that they're more or less continued (at least the first three are part of a trilogy). Not that you couldn't read them by themselves, but they are richer if read one after the other. Highly recommended if you like hardcase crime / noir.
Wes
That was unexpected. While The Outfit is a Parker novel, and does in fact feature Parker, nearly a third of the book features heists performed by a variety of Parker's acquaintances. (As he threatened in The Hunter.) This serves two purposes, it prevents the readers from overloading on Parker himself, (and perhaps softens him a bit - the Parker of the first novel is somewhat of a sociopath, this smaller dose of Parker doesn't lend to psychoanalysis,) and it provides for quick hit heist chapters...more
Darren
I enjoyed the first couple of Parker novels, but this one was just okay. It also seemed to undermine the whole conceit of The Man With The Getaway Face, considering how Parker breezed through the eponymous enemy, here.
Alberto
This book is as good as the previous ones in the series, but I'm afraid the formula for the Parker books is becoming the same, so I wasn't as thrilled and excited with this one as I was with it's predecessors.
Benoit Lelievre
THE OUTFIT is a tougher nut to crack than the first two Parker novels. Richard Stark has always been deceitfully detail-oriented and the quirk about THE OUTFIT is that you need to have picked up details in THE HUNTER and THE MAN WITH THE GETAWAY FACE to fully grasp the satisfying beauty of the third installment in all its glory.

Stark stays true to his über-methodical approach to storytelling and it plays both for and against THE OUTFIT. If you understand who Parker is, you can feel his imprint o...more
Deanna Knippling
Parker takes on the Outfit again.

On the one hand, long stretches of this novel are pure clunk. The opening is basically a rehash of Book 1. I think the writer got that Book 2 wasn't the direction he wanted to take the series in, and gave it a bit of a reboot. And then there was a long section of the various heists that went on, little vignettes of crime. They fit, but it still read awkwardly.

But...that ending.

(view spoiler)...more
Mario
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shared Universe Reviews.

It’s a credit to Richard Stark’s skill as a writer that I can so thoroughly enjoy a novel for which I’ve already read the comic adaptation (more than once!). His no nonsense prose, his ability to grab the reader’s attention and not let go until the last page is turned, along with this superbly well thought out plots, I can’t help but be transformed into an evangelist of Stark. Unsurprisingly to me and to those who have read so...more
Matthew
Single minded. Parker is a single minded and unsettling creation. God forbid you cross a man like him. Parker has the leanness. No friends, no possessions, no wife, no home. Just a routine of laying low in resort towns before the next score, and relentless, methodical pursuit of those that do him wrong. Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake) starts this novel, like the previous Parker novels, in the thick of the action. A woman screams just before a hired killer is about to pull the trigger on Park...more
Douglas
Jul 19, 2013 Douglas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parker fans, crime fans, people who want to pull off 60's heists
This book more or less wraps up some major loose ends from prior books. Parker had bad blood with The Outfit (the mob) at the end of The Hunter and this just ties that up. Overall I found it a good book. The writing isn't spectacular, but the briefness of the novel means that by the time one might get tired of it the book is over. Short novels are a luxury in this day and age where it seems everyone has to top five hundred pages at least.

There's not a lot of action in the novel, but it is fast p...more
David
Parker is at it again, and is ready to settle scores with the mafia once and for all. This plot line was introduced, actually, in the very first book of the series. The Parker books are best read in order, since each book of the first three, at least, picks up where the last left off. zthere is an opening scene with a femme fatale that gets the book off to a great start, and then Stark is off to the races.

Missing from this first book are the great characters that Stark introduced in the first tw...more
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The Hunter (Parker, #1) The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2) The Score (Parker, #5) The Mourner (Parker, #4) Backflash (Parker, #18)

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