Paper $14.00 ISBN: 9780226771014 Published September 2008
E-book $14.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226772899 Published September 2009

The Outfit

A Parker Novel

Richard Stark

Richard Stark

224 pages | 5-1/4 x 8 | © 1963
Paper $14.00 ISBN: 9780226771014 Published September 2008
E-book $14.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226772899 Published September 2009
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 the racetrack.

They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.

Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir.  Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.

In The Outfit, Parker goes toe-to-toe with the mob—hitting them with heist after heist after heist—and the entire underworld learns an unforgettable lesson: whatever Parker does, he does deadly.
 
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World
 
“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
 
Elmore Leonard

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”

John Banville | Bookforum

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”

Anthony Boucher | New York Times Book Review

“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call romans noirs.”

Marilyn Stasio | New York Times Book Review

“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”

Washington Post Book World

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”

Los Angeles Times

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”

Lawrence Block
“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”
Christian Science Monitor

“If you’re looking for crime novels with a lot of punch, try the very, very tough novels featuring Parker. . . . The Hunter, The Outfit, The Mourner, and The Man with the Getaway Face are all beautifully paced, tautly composed, and originally published in the early 1960s."

Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly
“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

William Grimes | New York Times
“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”
Luc Sante | New York Times
"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
Terry Teachout | Commentary
"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."
John McNally | Virginia Quarterly Review
"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."
Josef Braun | Vue Weekly
"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."

Terry Teachout | Weekly Standard
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."—Terry Teachout, Weekly Standard

H. J. Kirchoff | Globe and Mail
“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Chicago Blog: Literature

Events in Literature

Keep Informed

JOURNALs in Literature