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The Jugger (Parker #6)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,124 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Not many men knew what Parker did for a living, because what he did was steal. But Joe Sheer, a retired safecracker — also known in the business as a jugger — knew. He knew Parker’s alias, his whereabouts, his plans… and because he knew too much, he knew to keep his mouth shut. Or die. But Joe was more than ready to trade what he knew for a soft mattress, windows without b ...more
Published 1965 by Pocket Books
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6th out of 12 books — 2 voters
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386th out of 444 books — 951 voters

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Richard Stark doesn't give much a description of what Parker looks like. He's a big guy with gnarled tree trunks for hands. This description is given in just about all of the early novels.

It's probably safe to think of Parker as looking sort of like a Lee Marvin type, and since he has probably most famously portrayed Parker, maybe this is what some readers use as their mental image:

Some people might like to think of him as a raving wife-beating anti-semite:

Parker has also been portrayed as an A
Dan Schwent
Parker heads to Nebraska to help out a friend in trouble, Joe Sheer, a retired safecracker (or jugger). Only when he gets to town, Sheer is dead and a crooked cop and a crook both think Parker knows where to find Joe's stash of stolen money. But does the money even exist?

The Jugger is a break from the usual Parker formula. Instead of planning a job, Parker has to get a crooked sheriff off his back and convince the interested parties that Sheer didn't have any money. Of course, Parker does it in
In Richard Stark's The Jugger, everybody's favorite sociopath Parker (AKA Charles Willis) has to beat cheeks to Green Acres when his osteoporotic middle man Joe Sheer sends out a distress signals, and Parker, looking out for Numero Uno, is worried that Sheer's goose is cooked and that there might be a lot of bread crumbs lying around the joint leading straight back to him. And—as we all know—Parker doesn't do criminal celebrity. This leads to successive run-ins: first with a shady crook from Par ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of crime noir
Recommended to Mark by: ed Lynskey
The sixth Parker novel is somewhat of an oddity, there is no heist involved at all. Parkers' general job as organizer and enforcer does not come into play this time.
Parker gets a letter from one of his previous work-partners, a safe cracker aka a jugger, who due to his retirement became a go-between for Parker and something that resembles a acquaintance in Parker his world. This letter makes Parker seek out his previous co-worker and if necessary take action. Parker finds the man deceased and a
When Parker gets a couple of letters from retired safe cracker Joe Sheer saying that he’s having problems, he’s worried that the old man is getting pressured into revealing secrets. Since some of those secrets would be about him, Parker packs a bag and is off to Nebraska thinking that he may have to permanently shut Joe up.

After he arrives in the small town that Joe had settled in, Parker learns that Joe is already dead, supposedly from a heart attack. But the police chief is instantly on Parke
Jane Stewart
An average story most of the way, but I liked the twists and turns at the end.

Parker comes to town after receiving a strange letter from one of his guys. The guy died after sending the letter. Strange things are happening. A bad cop is involved. Parker is trying to figure it out. Then Parker kills someone which shocked me. I shouldn’t like this because he killed a kind-of-good person. But the “shock” was what I liked. And the ending I liked. It seemed Parker had everything all nice and neat and
I guess a "jugger" is a guy that breaks into safes, and Joe Sheer was one of the best, was being the operative word. Now he's come down with a bad case of dead and Parker's concerned, not because Sheer was his golf buddy or anything, but he was one of the few people with a direct connection to Parker and Parker's got a sweet little cover identity set up. He doesn't want anyone nosing around Sheer's death to blow it. Throw in an aging crook who looks like he failed an audition for The Monkees and ...more
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
Somewhat of a depature from Parker's usual storyline, we find our favorite thief returning to a small town in Nebraska. He ties up a few loose ends at the death of his former partner, a safecracker ("jugger"). This is one of my favorite Parker books, to date. Lots of close shaves, greed, and desperados. Westlake's hardboiled writing is sharp. Not much humor or wisecracks distracts the reader.
I really liked this one. Stark was getting too formulaic & this one broke out of that mold in a great way. Parker is still himself, but the circumstances were not what he's used to. As usual, Steven R. Thorn did a good job of reading. Very well done!
Benoit Lelievre
Not bad, but kind of a clusterfuck. The premise is very seducing, Parker's trusted man Joe Scheer has recently passed away and left an intangible treasure and a bunch of greedy rats in his wake. The idea was great, but the execution left to be desired. The characters keep shuffling and bumping into each other to try and get to Joe's money and miserably fail while Parker has to keep up appearanced at all times because someone always finds a compromising piece of information on him. There's a sati ...more
This starts out like a mystery. You have no idea what's going on or why Parker is out in the middle of nowhere. It's a clever change of pace to keep things fresh in a series that often plays on the character's singl-mindedness and reliance on routine.

The slow unwinding of what is essentially a non-plot (the macguffin is that there isn't one) is well handled, and Parker's actions in attempting to keep his Charles Willis cover intact is typically brutal.

The narrative structure uses a lot of fals
I was tempted to go 5 stars on this, as it's just a fantastic tight little tale. But I suppose it doesn't fit the description of "amazing".
Throughout this story, like most Parker stories, you find yourself constantly thinking, "Oh man, Parker's gonna kill this guy." Or, "OK, Parker's gonna kick this guy's ass now."
But then he never does, when you think he will.
He's so ruthless as a character (meaning that Westlake is brilliant as the writer) that not only does he catch his victims off-
Though critics and Donald Westlake himself consider The Jugger a failure, it is actually my favorite of the Parker series so far. It's a novel about the inescapable past, and the stakes for Parker are much more than the outcome of the caper at the heart of the story. A former associate of Parker - a safecracker, or a jugger in the parlance of the biz - asks for help but by the time Parker arrives in town, the jugger is already dead. A shady local cop soon ropes Parker into his search for the jug ...more
Steve Isaak
A few months after the events of The Score , Parker finds himself in Sagamore, Nebraska, delving into the real reason for his friend's death. The local newspaper says a heart attack killed Joe Shardin (a.k.a. Joe Sheer), but Parker knows better. A host of shady characters - including Abner Younger, a local corrupt police captain - are hiding something from him, as well as dropping fresh bodies, and it's up to Parker to not only find out who's crossing who (in various ways), but how to protect h ...more
Parker is a problem-solver, and usually these problems arise in the course of planning and committing robberies. In The Jugger, however, Parker's problems are the residual result of a life of crime. Sometimes, Parker must solve problems not to earn money but just to stay out of jail. The staying-out-of-jail Parker is less interesting than the earning-money Parker, but Parker is always Parker, which is to say that The Jugger is a good read.
I am reading this series in order, and I would have to rank this one as the best so far, with the possible exception of "The Hunter". Once again, Donald Westlake delivers a taut, tightly constructed tale, all that takes place in a small town. Like a good one act play,there are only a few characters, and at every turn, it is difficult to guess who is going to do what next.

The town is Sagamore, Nebraska, where Parker finds himself. The plot begins in the middle, with Parker, master thief, concerne
Aaron Martz
The weakest of the Parker novels, this one has an unusual structure from first page to last, which makes it interesting despite its failures. It starts in the middle of events and works its way back to the beginning, then it changes perspectives to tell the bad guy's story, then there is the usual double cross and violent ending. The plot concerns Parker arriving in a small hick town to see what happened to Joe Sheer, an old man who used to contact people for him. There isn't a lot of action thi ...more
The Jugger had a different feel compared with the previous Parker novels which isn't a bad thing. Parker finds himself in a gumshoe role rather than an arch-criminal mastermind. Investigating a mystery fits Parker surprisingly well but not quite as good as being a heist-man. Parker 's opposition is a hick cop from Smalltown Nebraska reminiscent of the sheriff from the Roger Moore Bond films. This bumbling oaf ultimately proves to be an interesting obstacle for Parker as he looks into the circums ...more
In 'The Getaway Car, a Donald Westlake Nonficton Miscellany', Westlake says of this story: '...the worst book I ever wrote under any name.' That leads me to envision a long honeymoon with his writing, as I did not find this first read of his work overly awful at all.
Indeed, the protagonist Parker (who has been described as sociopathic, sad for me as I see him as relate-able) has a singular voice deeper in its unsaid motives than the shallow Jack Reacher, say, and on a par with the consistent mot
He burnt his alias, Charles Willis, but he made it out of the town. This story ready more detective than heist. Which I'm am totally cool with. Parker shows up to find out that his connection for people to get ahold of him through his alias is dead. So he has to deal with the good ol' boy hick cop, the nosy watcher neighbor and another acquaintance. Who are all looking for the dead guys million dollars that he had from all if his robberies. But of course does it spiral out of control with other ...more
Jack Rochester
I've only read one other Parker novel, "The Man with the Getaway Face," which was a good read. However, "The Jugger" did not match expectations. In fact, it honestly put me to sleep every time I picked it up. I kept thinking about Lee Child's "One Shot" and what a memorable read that was. Perhaps it's because Parker is from the 1960s and, as a reader, there has been so much written that is more brutal and cynical and hard-noir - and better - in this genre. I'll try another Parker because Stark/W ...more
Parker is the main character making simple decisions his world. We all live in an environment of choices, but Westlake's character has a very black-and-white view of the world, made monochromatic by the code of being outside of the law.

I was properly shocked by the callous disregard for life Parker displays to protect his identity. Greed blinds one character, duty another, and inexperience proves to be the biggest liability in this Richard Stark novel. I really liked this one.

On to the next one!
Parker has a problem. He got a letter from Joe Sheer, a retired safecracker he'd worked jobs with in the past and who now served as his jugger, go-between, for others in their profession. In the letter, Joe asks for help with a problem.

Parker wasn't worried about helping him as much as protecting himself. When he arrives in town, Joe is dead, about to be buried, and too many people are nosing around in the man's business. Parker had already given his "civilian" name before he learns all this, th
After the juggernaut of a heist in The Score, Parker is basically back on track. Which means that it's time for the author to throw another curve at our favorite self-employed entrepreneur. It would have been hard to follow such a major heist with a more outlandish heist, so this book moves into noir territory. By pushing Parker into this situation, we get a chance to view his methods and personal code in another light.

Donald Westlake had an amazing ability to craft a story. Unfortunately, craf
Charles Dee Mitchell
Joe Sheer is a character who has appeared in other of Richard Stark's Parker novels, He's a retired jugger --a safecracker, I had to look it up as well. Now in his seventies he lives quietly in a podunk town outside Omaha, NE, where he keeps his finger in the game by keeping track of some of the old crowd, getting messages to those who need them, and occasionally helping out during the planning stages of a job. Parker often says, "if you need me, get in touch with Joe Sheer."

Sheer sends Parker a
Debbie J
The early challenge of The Jugger is to determine what the mystery is. Several shady types are pursuing a treasure trove but initially ace bandit Parker's unsure why they're being so coy.

Parker must deal with a corrupt small town Nebraska police chief who believes Parker knows the location of a hidden cache of wealth. Problem is, Parker doesn't believe the ill-gotten booty exists and has difficulty convincing the scheming copper (and other seekers) of this likely fact.

Additionally, Parker reali
These Parker novels are some of the best crime fiction ever written. The Jugger is tightly structured, swift, and brutal. It wraps up Parker's "Charles Willis" phase and leaves the reader wanting more. (Indeed, I have the next three Parker novels lined up, as well as the first Grofield novel). It's amazing that Stark/Westlake can keep the quality of these narratives so high throughout the first six books. I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out for Parker in the next few novels.
Donna Davis
This, and all of Richard Stark's books, were written by Donald Westlake. He used a different name for these titles with good reason: anyone who expected a jolly romp or a comic caper, for which Westlake was and is famous, would be deeply shocked.

The Stark books have a distinctive noir flavor to them. There is no humor. The pace is spare, If Parker, the protagonist in many of them including this one, needs to break a window, he'll break a window. If he needs to break a face, he'
I've beer reading the Parker novels chronologically. After The Score
i took a break, and wasn't even sure I'd feel like getting back into this character: it began to get a little monotonous. (Although, it's partly the point: Parker is such a machine of an operator. He reminds me sometimes of Valery's Monsieur Teste).
The Jugger surprised me a little. The writing goes up a notch, psychology and motivation of some of the characters get better coverage, and it is the first in the series kinda resem
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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 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)
The Hunter (Parker, #1) The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2) The Outfit (Parker, #3) The Score (Parker, #5) The Mourner (Parker, #4)

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“Already today I hit you twice. Once I knocked the wind out of you, once I knocked the consciousness out of you. Here you are back the third time. You call that smart?” 6 likes
“Well, it just figures," Younger told him, like a man explaining his religion.” 1 likes
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