The Black Ice Score (Parker, #11)
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The Black Ice Score (Parker #11)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  581 ratings  ·  57 reviews

A corrupt African colonel has converted half his country's wealth into diamonds and smuggled them to a Manhattan safe house. Four upstanding citizens plan to rescue their new nation by stealing the diamonds back—with the help of a “specialist”—Parker, that is. He has the best references in town. Will Parker break his rule against working with amateurs and help them because

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Published 1968 by Fawcett Gold Medal
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Kemper
Parker has taken his girlfriend Claire to New York so she can do some shopping, but he gets repeatedly approached by people who think he’s in on some kind of score. An African dictator has fled his country with a fortune in diamonds, and one group wants to hire Parker to plan a way to steal them so they can take them back to Africa and use the money to build the nation up. A group of white colonialists are mad that they got booted out, and want to steal the diamonds to install their own puppet g...more
Dan Schwent
Nationals from a tiny African country want Parker to plan a heist for them in an effort to steal back a fortune in diamonds. Parker has misgivings but Claire urges him to take the job. Parker plans the heist and things go smoothly until mistakes the Africans made before contacting Parker come back to bite them all in the ass...

Reading one of Parker's exploits is like visiting an old friend. Parker is himself in this one, although maybe Claire's making him a little soft. The heist was well-planne...more
Greg
I can't do it, I can't write anymore Parker reviews. Not that I've written a substantial one in quite a few books, but I must go on. I must review them all, right?

In this one Parker gets involved in some tiny African countries political landscape and is hired to help plan a robbery to steal back the countries riches from the current president who is trying to steal it all for himself. It's the most far-fetched plot in all of the Parker novels so far--seriously, the entire wealth of the country...more
Tfitoby
Random Parker adventure provided by the local library service, middling in quality that mostly feels like the rushed by the numbers pulp stuff that his contemporaries were churning out. There's some nonsense with a newly independent African nation and training diplomats to steal their national jewels back from an embezzling leader that I could barely raise enthusiasm for but in between there are some nice hardboiled Parker moments. The opening chapter was pretty great though I must say.
James Thane
"The Black Ice Score" was originally published in 1967, and for a good many years has been out of print and virtually impossible to find. Fans of Richard Stark's "Parker" series owe a debt of gratitude to the University of Chicago Press for republishing the book, along with several others in the series.

Parker is a hardened professional criminal who has virtually no moral reservations about the crimes he plans and commits, even when he must occasionally kill someone who gets in his way. He may be...more
David
Comments on second reading: I decided to reread The Black Ice Score, a relatively crappy Parker novel, in the wake of having read the first Dortmunder novel, The Hot Rock. According to author Donald E. Westlake, The Hot Rock came about when a Parker novel went awry: Parker is anything but a comedic character, and Westlake found that he was writing Parker into a comedy. Thus, he rewrote the novel with a new protagonist, Dortmunder, and that novel became The Hot Rock. I repeated this oft-told stor...more
[Redacted]
Parker helps retrieve diamonds from a corrupt African leader. This is kind of by the numbers for a Parker book. The parts with the opposing factions from the African country were pretty interesting, but the rest was fairly standard. I keep getting more and more irritated with Claire and her effect on Parker. I prefer Parker when he is single minded and ruthless.

This isn't my favorite of the Parkers by any stretch but it IS a Parker book, thereby making it a worthwhile read. I would suggest this...more
Mohammed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Stewart
3 ½ stars. Most of the story was average - ok, but the ending was good - when things went wrong.

THE SET UP:
There are three groups of guys from a small African nation. The A guys work for the President. The B guys work for a General who plans to take over with a military coup. C is a guy who stole millions from the African treasury and converted it to diamonds. C’s people are holding the diamonds for him in New York City.

The A guys pay a fee to Parker to plan a heist and teach them how to do it -...more
Tosh
Grading these books after awhile is silly. All of them are excellent and basically they're the same books over and over again. If I was a writing teacher I would present any of the Richard Stark books to a writing class. Here you have perfect plotting, great characterizations, and a narrative that never fails to move. For Donald Westlake (Stark) it is probably writing by numbers, but to the reader, it never fails to suck you into the story - and you know how it is going to end out - but still yo...more
Mark
The latest in my publication-order reading of this series--

Parker acts as a "consultant" (?!) to a group of African ambassadors in NYC who are trying to steal back diamonds from their corrupt dictator in order to restore stability to their country. Not a typical Parker set-up!

I have to believe that BLACK ICE was a major influence on the Dortmunder novel THE HOT ROCK, as it has many of the same elements (African nation and embassy, precious gems to be recovered, etc.). Westlake said in an intervi...more
Derek
Another strong entry in the Parker series. I've heard some people say that this one of the weaker entries, but I liked it quite a bit. Westlake/Stark uses some intersting narrative and structural choices that make it a fun read.

As usual, complications ensue as Parker is asked to help some foreign nationals steal some diamonds. Parker becomes a little more personally involved than usual, and it leads to a compelling denoument. There are a few rough spots here and there, particularly when it steer...more
Jim
I listened to this published by BBC Audio. Good reader, the same as previous ones, I think.

This varied from Parker's usual heists in that he was brought in as a consultant. All the great action & twisty plot, though. Excellent as usual.
Alex Gherzo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marc Weidenbaum
Definitely my least favorite of the Stark/Parker books thus far, as I make my way through them sequentially.

It's definitely the case that the arrival of Claire means less of the Parker we've known -- his ritual is different, and for all her toughness, she ends up causing trouble. This many years after The Thin Man, I would have hoped he'd have more of an equal as a partner.

Anyhow, the book's about a diamond heist related to an African nation that uses a Manhattan museum as a hideaway. Parker ha...more
V.
The set up here is reminiscent of another Westlake (aka Stark) book starring his other regular MC, Dortmunder, who is the complete opposite of Parker, but no less entertaining.

In the first of that series (The Hot Rock) there is a similar African nation needing to get hold of a diamond. In that story, comedy ensues, in this one we seemed to go down a familiar path of thinsg gone awry and Parker sorting them out.

Since the addition of Claire, Parker isn't quite the hard case he once was and the jo...more
F.R.
The cover of my edition of this book (which is different to the one pictured) reads "Parker again! Teaching a class in advanced jewel theft, with postgraduate work in kidnapping, mayhem and applied terror". And that sums it all up as well as I could.

Parker finds himself caught between two rival African gangs in the hunt for diamonds in this rollicking quick read (it's more of a novellette than a novel). Written in 1968 it's attitide towards race is more modern than I expected it to be, although...more
Dominick
This is a strong entry in the Parker series. Some of the later ones especially began to lean slightly in the direction of the comic caper books that are Westlake's trademark, and this one hints in that direction early on, what with various competing factions invading Parker's hotel room successsively, trying to sway him one way or other in regard to a potential job: stealing a cache of hot African diamonds. This one's an unusual entry in the series in that Parker's not actually really in on the...more
zackxdig
"The right barrel. The left barrel. The lights went out." That's a hell of a way to end a story. Bodies and broken down cars. If only people would get their facts straight before coming to talk to Parker. He didn't really need the money but he told them how to do it so they could get their small African country back. But you don't double cross and you sure as shit don't steal his girlfriend as an ultimatum. That's the one thing that is weird to me. Him evolving and having feelings for Claire. He...more
Aaron Martz
One of the more complicated Parker books, this one is unusual in that Parker is not involved in the heist and leaves after the planning stages. Parker is recruited by members of a small African nation to plan the heist of diamonds from a private museum in New York. Things grow complicated when political rivals become involved, forcing Parker back into the mix. The writing is crisp and clean as usual, and the twists mount up until there is nearly a new one every chapter. The heist is efficient, s...more
Debbie J
In The Black Ice Score, master robber Parker doesn't commit the heist; he plans it and trains a group of thievery novices to execute it. He later helps clean up the bloody aftermath due to his unexpectedly personal vested interest.

His clients are supporters of a hopeful Black African leader who intends to win election and replace the current president--a figurehead controlled by White former colonists. Parker has exactly zero concern about African liberation politics but his girlfriend Claire en...more
Randy
When Parker walked into his New York hotel room, a man was going through his luggage. Two more, armed, stood against a wall. He had no idea what they were talking about when they warned him to stay away from the job. he was only in New York with Claire to do some shopping. They even knew his Parker alias.

When they finally left, still warning him to stay away from the job, and he'd made sure Claire was fine in the bedroom, the phone rang. A voice wanted to know if he'd taken the job.

Still clueles...more
Michael Emond
This was the last book for me to read in the Parker series, so #24 even though it was the 11th to be written. I have to say I loved this series and all 24 were a treat to read. They are not deep they are not thought provoking they are just a great series of heist novels expertly told by a master of the genre. How did this one compare? I would say it was in the middle. Not to be lumped in with the greats (Butcher Moon, The Outfit, The Score) or the "worst" (Comeback, The Deadly Edge) but another...more
Aaron Schmidt
This has been the hardest Parker novel to review. After 10 books, I felt I was still able to find either a) unique angles added to a familiar construct or b) expansions on that common construct to make the book noteworthy. This installment seemed to be lacking in either, even when there were new angles or expansions.

For one, Parker is hired as a consultant, which as readers know by now won’t last. The novel straddles that construct, making Parker less of a participant but also less of a teacher...more
Hood
Bound: A Six Pack of Kickass

A Half Dozen More Heist Books from Richard Stark

SunPost Weekly August 5, 2010 | John Hood
http://bit.ly/doqxmv

Gotta luv the folks at University of Chicago Press. Not only have they decided to bring back Richard Stark’s belovedly badass Parker novels, but they’ve been doing so in sequence, with a niftily packed series that smacks back to the ’60s beginning and — Zeus-willing — won’t let up till its 21st century end.

The beginning, for those few who don’t know, was The H...more
Tim Niland
This was the eleventh book in the gritty, hardboiled Parker series about the cool and efficient master thief and his scores. This one is a bit unusual as Parker doesn't take an active role in the heist itself, but instead acts as a consultant to a group of men from a small recently independent African nation, whose wealth has been stolen and converted into diamonds and held in a New York City museum. Several factions are competing for the jewels, and after the Parker directed heist, another grou...more
Steve Isaak
Black is another lean, blunt and excellent crime-noirish entry in the Parker series, with a foreign intrigue/political edge thrown into the mix.

Followed by The Sour Lemon Score.


(This review originally appeared on the Reading & Writing By Pub Light site.)
John Defrog
In which Parker is hired by four nationals from the African country of Dhaba to help them steal back the country’s treasury – which has been stolen by the current president, converted into diamonds and stashed in New York – before their political rivals can get to it first. It’s an unusual Parker book in that Parker is basically a consultant (although not to the point of staying out of the action), and only because his girlfriend Claire wants him to do it. The latter feels slightly out of charac...more
Michael
I enjoyed this one, up until the heist itself. After the heist, the plot fell apart, and the idea of an entire chapter of Parker explaining his actions to other people is very out of character for him. Parker doesn't explain himself to anyone; that's what we want from the guy.
Pat
Our hero's character continues to develop even within the context of Stark's sparse, direct writing-quite a feat really. The subject matter is more modern and complicated and Parker's involvement id on a different level. Stark remains inventive, book after book.
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