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The Score (Parker #5)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,351 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
It was an impossible crime: knock off a huge plant payroll, all the banks, and all the stores in one entire city in one night. But there was one thief good enough to try — Parker. All he needed was the right men, the right plan, and the right kind of help from Lady Luck. The men and the plan were easy; Lady Luck was another story. She turned out to be a good-looking blonde ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 213 pages
Published 1964 by Pocket Books (first published 1963)
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Tom Rogers not important but you will find that you will want to go go back as many of the books refer to others

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When Parker first hears about the plan to loot all of Copper Canyon, he thinks it’s insane. How can you rob an entire city? However, when he sees the details and realizes that this is an isolated town that could be completely cut off and it’s police force neutralized, Parker starts thinking that it just might be possible if he can find the right men for the job.

A solid crew is put together, a plan developed, and even the amateur who came up with the idea, Edgars, seems smart and willing to let P
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, let's see here. There's been a lot of Richard Stark hoopla around our little corner of Goodreads lately, and I am proud to offer this review as minor corrective to the unbridled enthusiasms unleashed herein. Despite whatever I may say in the course of this review that might lead you to believe otherwise, I did actually enjoy this book. But it is slight, insubstantial, and clunky at times. I'd like to say, with some slippage in the analogy, that it's the equivalent of watching one of those ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a small town in north dakota sits deep in a narrow valley. a single road the only way in or out. parker and eleven men head down at midnight and methodically take over the tiny police department then the fire department then the phone switchboard. once the town's defenses have been neutralized and communication is cut off from the outside world, the team knocks over the town's two banks, the jewelry store, and then robs the town's entire payroll. a heist to the extreme! forget one bank, one stor ...more
David Schaafsma
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Parker #5, and a good one. For 3/4 of the story this is a pretty straightforward story of a a group of men who decide to "take" (i.e., steal all the money from) a small isolated North Dakota town. Parker decides that it is just a crazy enough plan to work, though he also is the lead architect of this meticulous plan. He's worried about a couple aspects of it, but it works like clockwork. Most of the way. What did you expect, a heist that just works perfectly?! Part of the beauty of this ...more
The plan might sound completely nuts but it's too tempting for Parker to pass up. This time, he signs onto a heist to rob the entire town of Copper Canyon, North Dakota! Author Richard Stark had a real knack for conceiving really original plots for his various heist novels. As I've mentioned in other reviews, these books are so simple and although there's not really a whole to talk about, so far they've been consistently enjoyable for what they are. The omniscient POV style that is a trademark t ...more
Dan Schwent
An amateur named Edgars hires Parker, Grofield, and ten others to help him with an outlandish plan: to rob an entire North Dakota town! Things go smoothly until it turns out Edgars has ideas of his own...

After reading five of the Parker novels, I figured out why love them so much. It's two aspects: Parker's superb ability to plan heists and trying to figure out how the inevitable double cross is going to go when it happens. The Score illustrates this nicely. As usual, Parker's cruel professional
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The first place Parker heads to in The Hunter when he gets to New York City to seek revenge on being double-crossed and beginning Stark's series of novels is the Wall Street area. The Score's basic premise is a group of criminals go to a small factory town in North Dakota with the purpose of robbing every business in town of all it's money during one night. Nowhere in the book is it ever mentioned what will be left of the town after Parker and his friends steal all of the payroll money from the ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
A superb caper. An amateur gets in touch with Parker, who is getting antsy from inactivity and a dwindling bank account. Eventually, he is convinced that a small town in North Dakota, Copper Canyon, can be robbed, even though it is accessible by only one highway, and is completely isolated with a state police station just outside of town. Lots of targets for a big payday: a mine payroll, two banks and several stores with large daily receipts, a small cadre of defenders, few conduits with the out ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, thriller
So, knew better than to get involved in this cluster......errr, flop. We all hope you learned from this experience that when your instincts tell you to pass a job by, pass it by.

Lots of action in this somewhat convoluted overly complicated heist...and Parker knew it was too complicated. he almost walked away, and I'll bet by the time it was over he was wishing he had.

Okay so I like the series it's good full of action...and makes me feel a little creepy about liking them. I mean Park
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I think I've hit my limit of Parker books for now. The formula was a bit too predictable, although this was his most ambitious job yet. Unfortunately, I guessed most of the high points pretty much from the beginning. Still, the details were fun to follow & Parker is a wonderful anti-hero. While I have #6, I'm missing the odd numbers after that through #12. I'll see if I can't get them for another Parker marathon at another time.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Even though ‘The Score’ is a short novel – my copy runs to a distinctly svelte 158 pages – this is clearly Richard Stark going for epic. The idea of robbing not just a bank, or a factory pay-roll, but an entire city is just genius. It’s a big idea, but one Stark puts across with a beautiful economy. Of course a raid like this needs a sizeable crew and each of the gang of rogues who are pulled together for this heist is beautifully and efficiently sketched in just a few sentences. (What’s more fo ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good semi-noir entry, with Parker pulled into a heist unlike any he's been involved with before - an entire town ripe for the plucking.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Parker yet. We get a sliver of insight into Parker's character and a very exciting heist story.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Parker, bored with hanging around at the beach, decides to check out  another larcenous job opportunity, but there's something hinky about the guy organizing the whole thing. Against his better judgement, Parker deals in because the payoff could be big. This time Parker and the gang knock off a whole town! But you know what happens when things seem to go too smoothly...

I've read Parker #1, #3 and now #5. You'd think I was hitting all the odd ones first. Nah. That's just what my local library has
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction fans
Recommended to Eric by: Free download on
Shelves: crime
This best comparison for this book is Ocean's Eleven, if it were more hardboiled than flashy and the goal was to steal an entire town instead of a casino. Yes, you read that right, an entire town -- not the town's bank, jewelry store, or mining payroll, but all of them simultaneously. What could possibly go wrong?

This is the first Parker book I have read -- in fact, it is the first I have read by author Richard Stark/Donald Westlake. I enjoyed reading about Parker and would definitely read anoth
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've been a long fan of Richard Stark's (aka Donald Westlake) hardboiled Parker the thief series. THE SCORE is set in a boxed-in Western town where Parker and a large gang hit several banks and the mine's payroll at once. A clever twist is dropped into the last part. Parker is like Mr. Spock, all business and no time for humor or fools. One of the gang members, Alan Grofield, appears later in LEMONS NEVER LIE published by Hard Case Crime.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely my favorite of the Parker novels since, unfortunately, the first one. Basically it’s about Parker and a crew of some known and unknown variables robbing an entire town. I mean, what else can I say? If you’re not interested in this book just from reading that sentence, there’s nothing I can say to get your attention. These books are short as hell so it’s really hard to get bored, and Parker is of of course one of the all-time tough guys, a dude for whom it’s a routine workday when he k ...more
As I've stated before, these Parker books fucking rule. Of the ones I've yet read, this one may rule hardest.
Jane Stewart
Weak 3 stars. There wasn’t enough suspense or the unexpected.

This wasn’t as good as some of the others in the series, but it was ok. I’m intrigued with Parker, and that keeps me reading.

Edgars has an idea for stealing from several businesses at the same time in a North Dakota town. He tells a guy who brings in Parker to plan and run it. It will require 12 to 20 guys.

The ending was weak. Things felt hanging and not wrapped up well. I would have liked a different ending for some of the good guys w
Did anybody write better heist novels than Stark (Westlake)? Well, maybe Dan J. Marlowe - One Endless Hour and Four for the Money are good examples. Seriously, though, it's hard to top these Parker novels for their depiction of heists. And this one is all about the caper - to rob an entire town in rural North Dakota. In the previous Parker novels he'd been trying to clear himself from the Outfit or dispensing with unfinished business. In this one he is free and clear and all about the job. The f ...more
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Parker gets five stars because of the description of the methodical techniques described in pulling off the perfect score. Like with other Parker novels he is almost thwarted by those unknown variables that seem to crop up in the execution of any job. But Parker is the consummate professional at his craft, which is always a pleasure to read about.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read. The heist is absoloutely outrageous. The pacing and action are beautifully judged. The plan is masterful, and the inevitable double cross is diabolical.

Turns out there was a French New Wave movie made of this one, would love to see it but doesn't look like it's been released on any format, so not much chance.

Highly recommended for fans of hardboiled caper fiction.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Shut up, Grofield."
Mario Šaravanja
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Odlična knjiga,topla preporuka.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Parker is lollygagging in Miami in-between jobs when he gets a tip on a big score. The job is loaded with red flags, but the take is too tempting; rob an entire town in North Dakota. It will take loads of coordination, a team of thieves, an insider, and more than a little luck. The story is a straightforward account of the set-up, execution and aftermath, but the sparse writing keeps it clipping along. A little far-fetched at times (still not sure why the entire town is under a night curfew), an ...more
Andrew Georgiadis
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A tad too much.

Unlike the first four novels, this one had an overly complicated set-up and plot in which Parker and a ton of other criminals are robbing an entire town. The profusion of characters made this short story more difficult to follow than was necessary, and there was an obvious conclusion/twist that you could see coming from the opening chapters. Tight, well written, but ultimately too much happening for a 200 page novel.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic Parker job. Not as enthusiastic about this one, it seemed like Stark was trying to do too much with such a short format, but at the end of the day a lot of fun was had and a good score was made.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply couldn't put it down. A fantastic read. Parker stays the king
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Score” is number five with a bullet of the twenty-four Parker novels provided to us by Mr. Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. It was first published in 1964, but doesn’t feel dated. Parker, who by now is almost the king of thieves, is asked to run an operation that requires twenty-four men. Although Parker knocks it down to a dozen men, it still is quite an operation. Nothing like this has ever been done before. They are going to take over a small North Dakota mining town, Copper Can ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I have now read six of Stark's Parker novels, for the most part following their publication chronology.

This is the weakest I've read, but that said, it remains a pleasure to read from beginning to end. Most of the characters are lightly sketched, but we get to see more of how Parker operates in the midst of a complex crime. He puts victims at ease by learning and using their first names before they are tied up and gagged. That's a nice touch. When a not-to-bright colleague brings a young woman i
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The Sons of Literacy: The Score by Richard Stark 33 34 Jun 11, 2014 07:07PM  
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score
  • The Cutie (Hard Case Crime #53)
  • Lucky at Cards (Hard Case Crime #28)
  • Choke Hold (Angel Dare #2)
  • The Name of the Game Is Death (Drake, #1)
  • Too Near The Edge (Cleo & Tyler Mysteries, #1)
  • The Wheelman
  • The First Quarry (Quarry #8)
  • Dead Deceiver (A Loon Lake Mystery, #11)
  • The Vengeful Virgin (Hard Case Crime #30)
  • The Killing

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 Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • 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)

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“What was the sense of talking about a problem if you didn't have a way to solve it?” 1 likes
“The operation was shaping up to have good men in it, and with good men in a deal it was tough for the deal to go sour. Not impossible, but tough.” 0 likes
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