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The Outfit: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)…
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The Outfit: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels) (original 1963; edição 2008)

por Richard Stark

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4561240,983 (3.78)21
The Outfit was organized crime with a capital O. They were big; they were bad; they were brutal. No crook ever crossed them and lived to enjoy it-except Parker. So they wanted Parker dead, and a hit man proved they meant business. Too bad for the Outfit he missed. Ripping off the Outfit was the easy part of Parker's game. Going one-on-one with Bronson, the Outfit's big boss, was the hard part.… (mais)
Título:The Outfit: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)
Autores:Richard Stark
Informação:University Of Chicago Press (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 224 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Outfit por Richard Stark (1963)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Classic crime noir ( )
  jimifenway | Dec 29, 2020 |
Richard Stark and Donald E. Westlake may have been one and the same person, yet their books are dramatically different. True, both wrote about crime, but Westlake's criminals, especially his Dormunder gang, were mostly harmless and mostly hapless. Nothing ever went right for them. It was all about the comedy. Stark, meanwhile, wrote about Parker, a hardcore professional who leaves few clues, and fewer laughs, behind.

“The Outfit” (1962), one of the earliest Parker novels, finds him with a new face, thanks to plastic surgery, but still with the same lifestyle. In the opening chapter he's in bed with a woman when a hitman breaks in to kill him. Parker gets the upper hand and discovers the hit was ordered by the head of the Outfit, a nationwide crime network.

Parker decides to take on the Outfit. First he writes letters to all the freelance criminals he knows, telling them that if they have ever considered striking one of the Outfit's operations, most of them involving illegal gambling, now was the time to pull off those jobs. Meanwhile, Parker himself, aided by a semi-retired associate, goes after the head of the Outfit.

As usual in these novels, the action is fast-paced, and other, even worse criminals, not innocent civilians, are the only ones who get hurt.

Actually this Parker novel does have one thing in common with the Dortmunder novels. Parker enters a bar where the restrooms are labeled "Pointers" and "Setters." This same gag, among the few ever used by Richard Stark, would later be used by Donald E. Westlake in most of the Dortmunder adventures. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Sep 11, 2020 |
Another slam-dunk. This is the third in the series and they've maintained their intensity. I can't believe that there can be twenty or so more of these. There's a blurb inside the front in which Luc Sante states, "Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic" and "He is a free-market anarchist." That's pretty accurate and, I think, one of the draws.

This one contains several solid set-pieces that could be admired by anyone interested in absolutely clean writing. And there's more than one terrific scene. Howard Hawks said a good movie is three good scenes and no bad ones. That's true for books, too. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
this is the third book in Westlake's Parker series. Written in effective actionpacked sequences, these books follow a master thief, Heister, and bank robber, who operates on his own with a few buddies and has had his differences with The Syndicate or the Outfit. There is no wasted narrative in these books, just full-on action.

When Parker had his showdown with Bronson back in the first book in the series, he warned Bronson that he knew one hundred guys who weren't organized, but were professionals. Parker warned that this hundred guys across the country had their eyes on Outfit casinos and collection points, but hadn't hit the Outfit because they had always figured they were on the same side. Sounded like a bit of grandstanding but whoever knew Parker to make empty threats?

Now the Outfit has been sending guys after him again and Parker decides it's time to hit back. He writes letters to the guys, telling them to hit Outfit properties, telling the guys that the a Outfit has gotten fat and sloppy.

The guys get together and start pulling off professional jobs on Outfit casinos and nightclubs and other operations. Bronson doesn't know what is coming.

A fast paced, action-filled novel pitting Parker against his old enemies. Parker is just as tough and as ruthless as ever. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
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 book or two every week, blowing off all my other reading commitments no matter how much I realize I shouldn't. (Sorry, all you authors who are patiently waiting for your book to be reviewed at CCLaP.)

That's high praise indeed from someone who usually doesn't like crime novels that much, with the key being that the main character is just so utterly fascinating, who like Ayn Rand's Howard Roark is less a real human being and more an example of the "theoretically perfect" version of the philosophy the author is trying to espouse (Stoicism here in the case of Westlake, versus Objectivism in the case of Rand). A professional thief who only pulls off one heist a year (netting him in today's terms somewhere between a quarter-million and a half-million dollars each time), so that he can spend the other 51 weeks lounging poolside at resort hotels and having rough sex with trust-fund blue-bloods with a taste for danger, Parker doesn't give even the tiniest little fuck about anything or anyone that falls outside of this monomaniacal routine, never negotiates nor compromises when it comes to his take or who he'll work with, doesn't have even the slightest hesitation about torturing or killing people who get in his way (yet avoids doing it anyway, simply because physical abuse is the "lazy" way to get what one wants, and being lazy is the first step towards getting caught), and possesses a psychotic distaste for such banal activities like "talking" and "having friends" or "acknowledging the inherent worth of the human race." (A true misanthrope, these pre-PC novels are not for the linguistically faint at heart, filled on every page with dismissive contempt for women, homosexuals, and people of color; although in Parker's "defense," such as it is, he also displays such contempt for most of the straight white males he meets too.)

There are 24 novels in the Parker series (which Westlake published under the pen-name "Richard Stark"), most from the '60s and early '70s, the series then activated again in the late '90s and up until Westlake's death in 2008; but the first three form a trilogy of sorts, in that they all concern one overarching storyline that spans from one book to the next, and so make a tidy reading experience for those who are curious about the series but don't want to make a 24-book commitment. (Most of the others are franchise-style standalone stories that each follow a similar blueprint -- Parker decides on his heist for that year, Parker obsessively plans out his heist for that year, then everything goes to hell when Parker actually tries pulling off his heist for that year.) The first, The Hunter, will seem familiar to many because it's been made into a movie so many times (including 1967's Point Blank with Lee Marvin, 1999's Payback with Mel Gibson, and 2013's Parker with Jason Statham); in it, we pick up a year after a heist that went bad because of a duplicitous partner, who needed both his share and Parker's in order to pay back the Mafia for an old job gone bad, the novel itself consisting of Parker basically crisscrossing the country and getting his revenge on every person who had been involved, eventually provoking the ire of the Mafia when he insists that they pay him back the money that had been stolen from him, even though they had nothing to do with the actual theft. The second book, then, 1963's The Man With the Getaway Face, sees Parker get plastic surgery in order to stay out of the glare of the Mafia's nationwide murder contract they now have out on him, just to have his new face divulged to the Mafia at the very end; so then in the third novel, The Outfit from later that same year, Parker decides to get the Mafia off his tail once and for all, enlisting his buddies-in-crime to pull off Mafia-victim heists across the country to the modern tune of ten million dollars in a single month, while he tracks down and kills the head of the entire organization by breaking into a mansion that's been weaponized like a fortress, after affecting a promise from the number-two in charge that he'll end the persecution if Parker does him this "favor."

Like Parker himself, these novels are quick and lean, part of what makes them so obsessively readable; Westlake had a real talent for stripping narratives down to just their bare essentials, then cleverly invented a character for whom this fast-paced minimalism works perfectly, a true human monster but one you can't help but root for anyway, if for no other reason than because he has zero tolerance for the chatty bullshit and regards for acquaintances' feelings that you as a non-psychotic are forced to deal with in your own schmucky non-bank-robbing life. (Stupid schmucky non-bank-robbing life!) Unfortunately my obsessive focus on these books must come to an end soon -- I simply have to get back to the novels I'm "supposed" to be reading, plus I can already tell by the fifth book that this series gets a lot more formulaic as it continues, which I bet will dampen my enthusiasm on its own -- but I couldn't let the opportunity pass by to mention how unexpectedly thrilled I was by at least the first few books in the lineup, picked up on a whim completely randomly but that have turned out to be some of my favorite reading experiences of the entire last year. They come strongly recommended whenever you have some downtime soon, especially to those like me who aren't natural fans of this genre to begin with. ( )
  jasonpettus | Jun 2, 2017 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Stark’s novels are not only entertaining for what they are—midcentury noirs—but they are also better than a lot of what was coming out back then.
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When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed.
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The Outfit was organized crime with a capital O. They were big; they were bad; they were brutal. No crook ever crossed them and lived to enjoy it-except Parker. So they wanted Parker dead, and a hit man proved they meant business. Too bad for the Outfit he missed. Ripping off the Outfit was the easy part of Parker's game. Going one-on-one with Bronson, the Outfit's big boss, was the hard part.

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