- Evil Is Cool: Played with. Parker is undeniably a badass, but the "professionals" he works with often wind up dead and Parker himself can find himself stripped of a stake.
- Squick: The knife going through Parker's hand.
- What an Idiot: Westlake will generally take some time at some point in each book to illustrate what an amateur would do in a situation, and why it's a bad idea.
- This is taken to new heights in one of Westlake's Dortmunder books, which alternates between the crooks reading a Parker novel with a carefully executed kidnapping, and the thieves in "real life" screwing up the plan completely.