Kemper's Reviews > The Handle

The Handle by Richard Stark
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's review
Dec 26, 10

bookshelves: bad-guys-rule, crime-mystery, thieves, parker

When Parker finally settled his differences with the Outfit, he didn’t expect to get any job offers from them. However, a guy named Baron has set up a profitable casino operation on his own private island in the Gulf of Mexico, and the head of the Outfit can’t stand that they aren’t getting a piece of the action so he enlists Parker to rip off Baron and burn down his operation.

Since he needs cash after the events of the last couple of books, Parker agrees and begins planning his own version of D-Day with a small crew of stick-up men invading the island. As usual, Parker will have to contend with people he can’t trust and a twist that puts him on the radar of the U.S. government.

Another short but solid Parker adventure. The thing I continue to enjoy the most about these books is Parker’s blunt but efficient nature. The thief continues to be annoyed at anything he considers a waste of time like small-talk or details he doesn’t need to do the job. Despite being a ruthless pragmatist who will kill or double-cross anyone that he thinks can’t be counted on, this book again has Parker going to some trouble and risk to save one of his crew when he could have easily left the man to die. But when he’s thanked for it, Parker can’t grasp why anyone would make a big deal out of it.

The story starts with the standard Richard Stark formula of Parker getting pitched on an odd robbery, the recruiting of a crew, the planning and gathering of equipment, the concerns about someone double-crossing them, and a job that doesn’t go as expected. Then the plot takes some detours and has a different ending than I was expecting, and it was fun having the ending be so far off from where I guessed it’d go.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Adam In his early '80s essay for the NY Review of Books, "The Gentrification of Crime," Luc Sante mentioned that this particular entry in the Parker series seemed to him to be responsible for the entire Mack Bolan series.

While that may not be true, it's certainly plausible.

I liked the ending in Mexico, where the old man and his son start throwing rocks at Parker in an attempt to hang on to the money they've found. (I'm remembering that correctly, right?) This series is full of great details like that, where amateurs take pathetic and/or ineffectual steps to do what Parker does seemingly effortlessly.

message 2: by Kemper (last edited Dec 27, 2010 08:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper Luc Sante wrote the intro that they've used for several of these new reprints. I've never read Bolan, but from what I know, it sounds like a sound theory.

You remembered correctly. I did laugh when they were chucking rocks at Parker and laughed even harder when he just completely ignores them.

message 3: by Mohammed (last edited Dec 28, 2010 02:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mohammed Parker going the distance for his trusted partners is one of the things that makes him appealing,more human. If you dont cross him like Grofield hasnt he will do alot for you.

I like the Mexico part too, the old man,his son was a nice detail. Dont they end up wasting the bad guy ?

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