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The Outfit

(Parker #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,524 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Richard Stark's arch-criminal Parker returns in a classic novel of revenge. With The Outfit trying to kill him, Parker declares war. But with the entire underworld understanding that whatever he does--he does for keeps. ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 1984 by Avon Books (first published 1963)
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…that is the sound of icy cold, 80 proof, liquid badasseliciousness seeping from every pore of Richard Stark’s mantastic anti-hero, Parker. Over the past several seasons, thanks in large part to Kemper and Dan), I have become a big fan of crime fiction. During my reading excursions, I have come across some very engaging characters with high quotients of rough and tumble nastiness.

Parker is in a mold-breaking class by himself.

He’s unlike anyone else I've stumbled
James Thane
This is the third novel in Richard Stark's (Donald Westlake's) great series featuring Parker, a completely amoral professional thief. Like all of the books in the series, this one is lean, mean, dark and gritty, and it opens when a professional hitman targets Parker. Not surprisingly, the hitman fails because he's not nearly as good as Parker, and Parker is enraged when he discovers that the would-be killer has been sent by someone connected with the Outfit--the group that controls organized cri ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'll need to read the previous two books in order to fully enjoy this one ...
Parker is one of a kind character, he isn't exactly evil and he's not good too , he steels for a living, very professionally, he's very smart and he has a sharp and strategic mind that allows him to plan his heists efficiently , he doesn't waste words or brags , anything he does has a reason behind it, he is like a machine, he doesn't get involved emotionally except when he does , i think the expression " don't poke t
Glenn Russell

“When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed. He heard the plop of a silencer behind him as he rolled, and the bullet punched the pillow where his head had been.” Vintage Donald E. Westlake/Richard Stark opening lines – violence prompting Parker into action.

Lots of action, a ton of action, since The Outfit, Parker #3, picks up where Parker # 1 (The Hunter) and Parker #2 (The Man with the Getaway Face) leaves off. Although you can read The Outfit without having read the previous
Dave Schaafsma
The third in Stark’s Parker series (and you really should read the first three in order, at least—this is the culmination of an arc). When The Outfit tries to kill Parker, whom we find at eh opening of the book in bed with a woman, he decides he needs to “settle things,” which for you and me might mean having a heart-to-heart talk with someone. But Parker is not like most of us; in the process of getting even, he writes letters to fifty people he knows around the country, such as this one:

Dan Schwent
After a hit man tries to kill Parker while he's in bed with a ladyfriend, Parker decides it's time to settle his score with The Outfit once and for all. While his various criminal acquaintances begin hitting Outfit-owned targets, Parker makes plans to take out the head of the Outfit. But will even taking out the top guy get the Outfit off his back?

As usual, Stark delivers the goods in fast-paced, stripped down style. Parker and Handy do what they do best. The plotting and action, as always, were
I love that I've discovered the Parker series. I'd been searching for a good series of popcorn books that I can read quickly without a whole lot of brainpower when I'm in that mood, or when I'm working and have little time to read. The Parker books have filled that void for me. They're quick, in-and-out little adventures that I can pop like mean little gummi bears whenever I want!

This episode seems to concludes the beef between master criminal Parker and the organized crime syndicate, the Outfit
When Parker and the Outfit had a dispute in the first book of the series, Parker warned them what he’d do if they didn’t leave him alone. But after surviving an attempt on his life, it’s time for Parker to make good on his threat.

As Parker told the bosses of the Outfit, all the professional thieves know each other, and all of them have worked out some kind of scenario for robbing one of their operations because they’re cash-rich and won’t bring any legal attention. Potential revenge by the Outfi
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, 2014-reads
When The Outfit sets its sights on Parker it doesn't count on the fact that men like Parker, the "independent contractors" of the underworld are, in their own way, legion. The powers that be as well as the cogs and drones who comprise the myriad operations under the purview of The Outfit are soft targets, heretofore left alone out of a sort of professional courtesy. But, guess what kids? The gloves are coming off of Parker's freakishly powerful mitts.

The fact that Parker's first task is to laun
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realized the Robert Duvall movie The Outfit was partly based on this book. The movie stole the brilliant chapter about the woman with the orange hair who puts out for Parker and then yells rape to the twin brothers who keeps her, when Parker rejects her. It was funnier than in the movie.

In this book, Parker really hits The Outfit (a criminal conglomerate) hard before they can get to him. He writes letters to independent conmen to have a go at The Outfit, and they do. Stark describes four sepa
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
in the hunter, parker warned the Outfit that if he were to instruct all his contacts to hit Outfit run businesses across the nation, they could put some serious hurting on the organization. it never comes to that. in this book it does. and it's glorious. not only do we track parker's moves against high-ranking members of the Outfit, but individual chapters are devoted to heists and jobs by various transient criminals directed at the Outfit. good stuff.

i've always loved stories which feature an
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I feel like an asshole giving this book five stars while only giving four stars to a much superior book like The Melancholy of Resistance. And then to rub in my shame goodreads goes and makes a new section on our profile pages where our favorite books are shown, and this is one of them, sitting right there in between Gravity's Rainbow and Infinite Jest. Horrors!

I hate the new favorites area on the profiles. Wasn't it enough to have a section in your profile you could list favorite books if you w
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the first three Parker novels one after the other, it’s fascinating to observe what different beasts they are. The first is a terse, tense revenge thriller; the next is a book creating the true Parker formula, where our uber-professional thief gets a job and works on it, taking out every irritation as it comes; whilst the third is an odd combination of the two. In a way the ‘job is planned and carried out’ formula is here: the job being to get to Bronson – the head of the outfit, who we ...more
Nov 2019 Review: Great story, even on a reread & after watching movies that are based on it. Short, to the point, & quite believable. The only grand guild of thieves is at the mercy of the small fry. There were some great characters, too. The audio books are well narrated & short, so I've just got to read another. On to The Mourner!

Dec 2012 Review: My edition was a download from the library produced by Audio Go, read by John Chancer. It's about 300 minutes long & fantastic, again. Occasionally t
This was the first novel I've read by Richard Stark and it was, I think, an early novel Donald Westlake wrote using the nom de plume "Richard Stark." There are 24 books in this series. I will admit upon my initial reading I felt a little disappointed in the quality of the writing. Later, the writing and the story got much better and I suspected that Westlake had taken a while to find his voice as Richard Stark. Just as we change our personas when we speak a foreign language, perhaps some writers ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, action
This was a sort of relief to me. I mean this is far from great literature and it's a little disturbing that I like this/these books. Parker is a pretty cold duck (though he seems to be mellowing or something). It's an action read and a straight up thriller. Don't look for the philosophical take Parker has on life. Mostly he's good if he steals enough to live well.

Of course the fact that the Outfit has a problem with Parker and wants him dead is putting a cramp in his he has to kill th
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They STILL ain't learned- you don't mess with Mr. Parker!!!
My favorite of the series thus far. Parker decides the best defense is a good offense and rallies his fellow thieves to give the Outfit a whole lotta financial headaches. A million of 'em to be exact.
Good stuff!
Michael Finocchiaro
A friend suggested a book to me called The Outfit back in January which I went out and purchased. Well, actually, I bought the wrong one by Richard Stark which is a fictional novel as opposed to the one my friend meant which was by Gus Russo and is a non-fictional history of the Mob. I will go and grab the Russo book, but in the meantime, the Stark one was pretty fun. Apparently, Stark passed away in 2008 after writing about 24 books featuring the main character Parker. He is sort of like a Rayl ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
When Parker and the Outfit had a dispute in the first book of the series, Parker warned them what price they would pay if they did not leave him alone. Book #3 opens with someone trying to kill him in bed with his current fling, and Parker had had enough, wresting the names of the people who arranged the hit. He writes or visits many of the people he has worked robberies with, and encourages them to rob the underprotected businesses of the Outfit to make them pay. He also decides to remove the k ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, noir-crime
I've lost count of how many times I've listened to this and other Parker books. He's always with me. It's been MONTHS, and I'm still obsessed. ...more
Jason Pettus
The best compliment I can give the "Parker" novels by Donald E. Westlake is to admit that they've completely hijacked my usual schedule of reading and reviewing contemporary novels for the CCLaP website; originally planned to be a fun airplane diversion when I flew from Chicago to New Orleans and back about three weeks ago, I ended up reading the first book in the series, 1962's The Hunter, from start to finish in just half a day, and have since been greedily devouring the rest at a rate of a bo ...more
The weakest in the series that I've read so far. But that's not to say it isn't worth a look. On the down side, The Outfit is simply unbelievable, with its notion that Parker only has to sit down and write some letters to his fellow professional robbers to take down a nationwide criminal organization. Westlake (Stark) is trying to say something about corporate America -- and corporate criminals, than runs along the lines of Who can tell the difference anymore? (That was probably a cliche even in ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Noir crime novels
Recommended to Mark by: ed Lynsky
The closing episode of Parkers' Clash with the outfit that started in The Hunter.

The story starts with an attempt on Parkers' life while enjoying a physical tryst with a lady. When Parker obviously survives he wants answers and he gets them. Parker realizes that the Outfit will keep targeting him unless he takes steps to make it financial unappealing to keep tracking him down while at the same time taking out the responsible person.
This book is about Parkers' campaign against the Outfit in whic
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parker had gotten a face lift to disguise himself from the Outfit. Word was out now, though they didn't know what he looked like. When someone fingers him and a hit man is sent, he decides it's tme to do something about it.

He heads north from Florida, visiting people along the way he'd worked with in the past. He also wrote letters to others to far off the route. He asked all if they had plans to hit outfit(they all idly thought about such jobs). As a professional courtesy, they left such hits a
Parker is one tough guy. He’s a hard-boiled thug, but he likes to relax by prancing around in frilly dresses and high heels. Then he sees just what he is looking for in a fancy shop on Fifth Avenue: The Outfit. OMG, so cute! Cute enough to die for...or kill for!

Sorry, that is #4 in the Parker series.

Almost sixty years since it was initially published, you could say that this novel hasn’t aged well. Still, the story begins with a hit gone wrong, which wasn't a bad opening. Parker was targeted by
Greg McClay
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the entire Parker run a number of years ago and other than Darwyn Cooke's graphic novels hadn't touched them since. I got in a mood and got this to maybe see if I wanted to go through them again. Still not sure. Its good tough but mean. Not cruel or vicious or bloody or anything like that. Just cold and mean. Which is what makes Parker Parker. He's not an anti-hero, he's a criminal you're just too caught up in the nature of it all to care.

It probably wasn't a five star book this time arou
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audiobook
3.5 - Good entry into this series! Parker is such a great character to read about. And by great, I mean ridiculous. He's crazy. And will do literally anything he has to. I'm happy to root for him, though, and happy with how the story went in this one. ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This third installment in the Parker series is a direct sequel to the first, The Hunter. After a botched assassination attempt by the organized crime syndicate known as the "Outfit", Parker decides to take matters into his own hands, making good on his previous threat to even the score if they should ever come after him. With the help of his loose network of independent professional criminals countrywide, Parker ruthlessly and methodically exacts his revenge. ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Series is Currently on Audible Plus

I thought the first book was the roughest one to get into but it did a great job of establishing the setting & Parker. #2 was a lot of fun. This one had one of the best 'flash fiction shorts' written into the story line. By themselves, they may not hold as much impact but they were brilliant little shorts within the larger arc. Clever & fun. I'm appreciating the spare wording but clear imagery that Stark can weave into the tale.

Uh, bad guys for the win?
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stark's Parker enlists the aid of other undesirables to even the score with the crime syndicate The Outfit. ...more
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A pseudonym used by Donald E. Westlake. ...more

Other books in the series

Parker (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Hunter (Parker, #1)
  • The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2)
  • The Mourner (Parker, #4)
  • The Score (Parker, #5)
  • 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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