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The Jugger (Parker #6)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,608 Ratings  ·  142 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 ...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published April 15th 2009 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1965)
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Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
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
David Schaafsma
The Jugger, Stark’s sixth Parker novel, is not written in a typical Parker formula. Parker travels from Miami to Nebraska ostensibly to help his old colleague, Joe Sheer, a jugger (safecracker!) and finds him dead.

The most scathing review of this book is by Donald Westlake (using Richard Stark as a pseudonym) himself:

“I spoiled a book by having him do something he wouldn’t do. The sixth book in the series is called The Jugger, and that book is one of the worst failures I’ve ever had. The proble
Jan 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parker surprised me in this book. In previous stories I'd come to think his thieves' code made him moral. His behavior isn't out of character here, but I mistakenly started thinking he was basically a good guy.....not really. He can still shock me with swift brutality. Great book.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
A bit of a departure from the usual Parker fare. One of his old comrades, Joe Sheer, writes to Parker, initially telling him he has some problems he is handling, but then asks Parker to come help. Joe was a safecracker and one of the people who could reach Parker about a job. Parker decides to help his friend, but arrives too late: Joe is dead and the circumstances of his death are shrouded in mystery; however, another crook shows up looking for money and the local sheriff wants the loot too. As ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The Jugger’ is an atypical Parker novel.

There are others, true, which don’t focus on a robbery, but instead deal with the aftermath. But in ‘The Jugger’, there’s no robbery in the background, it’s all aftermath. Yet even though this is quieter and more restrained than other Parker novels, that doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t high, as what ends up being threatened here is one of the most fundamental things of all – Parker’s secret identity.

We’ve already in these books seen Parker come back from
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jane Stewart
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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!
Nov 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noirboiled
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.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
"When the knock came at the door, Parker was just turning to the obituary page.”
James  Love
Jugger (Noun): Box man, Safe-cracker.

The Jugger is the 6th book in the gritty, hard-nosed, action, suspense, thriller series by Richard Stark (a Donald E. Westlake pseudonym). The novel opens with Parker (under the guise of Charles Willis), in Nebraska, trying to find out how a friend and former heist partner Joe Sheer (aka Joseph T. Shardin) died. Joe had retired from the heist game and lived a quiet existence in the American heartland until his untimely demise. Parker is forced to match wits a
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little slow developing, but the last third was excellent. Parker is a viper; don't mess with him.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Jugger is the 6th novel in the Parker series. “Where’s the money?” Everyone is looking for Joe’s elusive stash, but does it even actually exist? Parker lands in the middle of it all and tries to sort out who is who, who knows what and who has blood on their hands. The local police captain Younger soon becomes the ball on Parker’s proverbial chain. Together they rush headlong to the inevitable conclusion.

For someone who churned out two or three Parker novels a year during the time this little
Benoit Lelièvre
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
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was the slowest starter of the Stark books I've read so far, but it picked up well after about the halfway point and finished strong.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one plays with the formula a bit. There's no job, but from the start it's all sour and we see Parker's mercilessly cold calculations in even starker (eh? eh?) relief than in previous books.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this in 2017. One of the best (read: most icy) Parker novels.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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-
A jugger sounds like some mythical creature out of Dr. Seuss's imagination. What in blazes is it? Apparently, in the world of Parker, a jugger is a safecracker, although I haven't seen that slang anywhere else..

Joe Sheer is a retired jugger. But, he's still connected to the life. He knows everyone and has many good ideas. For Parker, this guy Sheer is his contact when he disappears into his Charles Willis identity. Someone wants to contact Parker about a job, they don't go and blow up his safe i
In this sixth book of the Parker series, Stark (Westlake) keeps the series fresh by deviating from the heist formula of the previous books and also drops a monkey wrench into the gears of Parker's carefully planned life so that new energy is ensured for book seven. Both were welcome changes. As for how this book played out, just lukewarm for me. The obstacles and opponents were too easy for Parker to remove and I never felt the urgency that drove the other books. Intellectually, Parker's danger ...more
These books seem to have been written by a novice writer. This is the 2nd Parker book that I have read. It is a little better than the first. I did appreciate that there were on-going characters ( that even the on-going characters may meet an untimely end!). I also appreciated that previous cases were referenced.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something of a departure for Parker as the pages of The Jugger don't contain a heist or indeed any type of 'job' whatsoever.

Parker is drawn to the sleepy hometown of Joe Sheer, his agent for new work and the only guy who knows his real identity. It seems Joe is being shaken down but Parker is more concerned with his own cover being blown than any fraternal criminal bond.

It's a quick & entertaining read, and always thrilling to see our man employ his two main talents, planning and violence. P
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Parker novel, and a little different in structure from the first few. No heist, no score, just Parker trying to figure out what happened to ol' Joe Sheer. I wish his giant hands had more screen time - for some reason as the series continues his massive, veiny, throbbing mitts get mentioned less and less.
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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?” 7 likes
“Well, it just figures," Younger told him, like a man explaining his religion.” 2 likes
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