The Jugger (Parker, #6)
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The Jugger (Parker #6)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  801 ratings  ·  75 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

Published 1965 by Pocket Books
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The Hunter by Richard StarkThe Man With The Getaway Face by Richard StarkThe Score by Richard StarkThe Mourner by Richard StarkBreakout by Richard Stark
Richard Stark's Parker Novels
6th out of 12 books — 3 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Books of the Decade: 1960's
476th out of 622 books — 731 voters

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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
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!
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
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.
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...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...more
John Wilson
A retired con buddy by the name of Joe Sheer writes Parker asking for help. Someone's leaning on him and as a result, everything Joe knows, including Parker's known aliases are in danger of being found out. So Parker drives over to Joe's fleaspeck Nebraska town. Not to help him, you understand. But to either kill the guy leaning on Joe. Or Joe himself before he blabs everything.

But somebody's already beaten him to it. And Parker must deal with a corrupt cop, a sleazy heistman (Tiftus) and severa...more
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-...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 hi...more
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
Some readers consider this one a dissapointment for being different from other Parkers: little scenario, very few characters... but I consider those a plus and they added originality to the story which is as good as usual.
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Mike Sanders
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.
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'...more
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...more
John Defrog
In this installment, interestingly, there is no job for Parker – but a crooked cop seems to think there is. Parker is looking into a mysterious letter from elderly safecracker and former colleague Joe Sheer asking him for help. By the time he gets there, Sheer is dead, and local sheriff Abner Younger not only knows Sheer’s real name and criminal past (and possibly Parker’s), but also seems convinced he has a fortune stashed away somewhere. Donald Westlake (a.k.a. Stark) has disowned the book, sa...more
Tim Niland
Parker, the master thief and ultimate anti-hero, is on vacation in Miami, when he gets an ominous and out of character letter from retired safe cracker Joe Sheer, who acts as Parker's contact to the criminal underworld. Sheer is in trouble and asks Parker to come to his small town Nebraska home to help. When Parker arrives, Sheer is dead of an apparent heart attack, and cops and crooks alike are lining up to cash in on the fortune they believe Sheer squirreled away. Parker needs to walk a fine l...more
Reading Richard Stark's Parker series is one of my favorite things to do, especially while on vacation. I've only got a few left, so I'm enjoying each one. The Jugger was a little different. There actually was no money to score for Parker. He's trying to save his other identity, Charles Willis, from being discovered and ruined. He's worked hard to maintain this cover name, and when it is threatened by incidents in this book, Parker needs to solve this problem. This entails some murders (some don...more
Heath Lowrance
Some Parker fans consider this a lesser effort from Stark, but honestly, it's one of my favorites in the series. Parker gets a call for help from an associate-- he responds, not out of altruism (a quality Parker does not possess) but self-preservation; the associate has information about our man and letting that information get out won't do. So Parker finds himself in a small, corrupt town matching wits with several players all in search of some hidden loot.

We see Parker at his most brutal here-...more
John M.
I've been reading all the Parker novels in order, and so far this is the most unique of the series. I won't give away the details, but I can say that Parker is put in a situation that is much different than in the other novels, and we have an opportunity to learn more about the supporting characters. This is a welcome change after the last two caper novels (The Mourner, The Score), and I anticipate the narrative created in The Jugger will carry on through the next book, and possibly keep going.

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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?” 5 likes
“Well, it just figures," Younger told him, like a man explaining his religion.” 1 likes
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