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Literature / Parker

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Parker is a fictional character created by Donald E Westlake. He is the main protagonist of 24 of the 28 novels Westlake wrote under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

A ruthless career criminal, Parker has almost no traditional redeeming qualities, aside from efficiency and professionalism. Parker is cold, methodical, and perfectly willing to commit murder to get what he wants. His first name is never mentioned in the novels, and there are many details about him which remain unknown. Four of the novels were adapted into comics by Darwyn Cooke for IDW Publishing before his untimely death.

The novels in the Parker series are:

  • The Hunter (1962, aka Point Blank, Payback)
  • The Man With the Getaway Face (1963, aka The Steel Hit)
  • The Outfit (1963)
  • The Mourner (1963)
  • The Score (1964, aka Killtown)
  • The Jugger (1965)
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  • The Seventh (1966, aka The Split)
  • The Handle (1966, aka Run Lethal)
  • The Rare Coin Score (1967)
  • The Green Eagle Score (1967)
  • The Black Ice Score (1968)
  • The Sour Lemon Score (1969)
  • Deadly Edge (1971)
  • Slayground (1971 — First chapter shared with The Blackbird, a novel in Westlake's Alan Grofield series)
  • Plunder Squad (1972)
  • Butcher's Moon (1974)
  • Comeback (1997)
  • Backflash (1998)
  • Flashfire (2000, aka Parker)
  • Firebreak (2001)
  • Breakout (2002)
  • Nobody Runs Forever (2004)
  • Ask the Parrot (2006)
  • Dirty Money (2008)


The Parker novels contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The Parker graphic novels. The Outfit opens with the heist from The Man With The Getaway Face before swinging into the plot of the book it's titled after, and Slayground features a short story adapted from the finale of The Seventh.
  • The Alcatraz: Stoneveldt in Breakout has this reputation. Parker is told multiple times that no one has ever escaped from there. Played with in the sense that it's not due to the overall defenses but rather that no one's there long enough to formulate a plan.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: Several of the villains from The Black Ice Score while not actual Afrikaners, are from another colonized African country that recently throw out the Europeans, with these characters trying to steal the money that could fund a candidate who might let them back in.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Slayground features an amusement park closed for the winter where Parker is hiding from pursuit. It's when Parker starts MacGyvering the rides into traps for his enemies that it enters this trope, in a rare example of the protagonist being the one to create the park.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Fairly consistently, the books will spend the third of four sections being told from the perspective of somebody else in the story before reverting back to Parker.
    • Got to the point where Alan Grofield got his own series of books, one of which crosses over with Parker's.
  • Anyone Can Die: Parker himself obviously always makes it out. The series is not shy about bumping off anybody else, though.
  • Armed Blag: Several. They never quite go as smoothly as Parker would like.
  • Ascended Extra: Several heisters, such as Nick Dalesia, Dan Wycza, Salsa and Noelle Braselle appear in more secondary roles in one book before achieving a rise in prominence for a later one.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: In The Man With the Getaway Face, Parker attends a clinic run by a highly skilled plastic surgeon who was blacklisted in Hollywood due to his former membership of the Communist Party. These days he specializes in providing new faces to members of the underworld.
  • Badass Boast: Parker excels at these, but one standout is in Flashfire when after Sheriff Farley and Parker trade some information and end their Mexican Stand Off Farley says he’ll always wonder if he could have taken Parker, who replies,
    Parker: Look on the bright side. This way, you have an always.
  • Badass Crew: Parker leads several, most notably in the final third of Butcher's Moon and The Score.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Many of Parker's associates, although Salsa and Littlefield might stand out. A lot of hitmen and mob enforcers that Parker clashes with also have this going for them.
  • Bad Habits: Parker dons clerical garb when he opens a series of bank accounts in Flashfire.
  • Ballistic Discount: The Outfit contains a story about what happened to a young thug who attempted to pull this on an armourer who provides guns to the underworld. He boasted about what he was planning so much that word got back to the armourer. He handed the thug a gun that was rigged to blow up in his hand when he fired it.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Parker is perfectly willing to use guns, knives, clubs and booby trapped amusement parks as weapons, but he prefers to work with his hands.
    Stegman: I don't see no gun on you. I don't see no weapon!
    Parker: (cracks knuckles) You see two of them. They're all I need.
  • Berserk Button: In Butcher's Moon, Parker's accomplice Hurley spends a lot of his scenes spewing rage towards Morse, a colleague who sold them the plans to a jewelry store without including the alarm system.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Even the most Affably Evil heisters are generally capable of cold-blooded murder. In The Black Ice Score the same is true of Manado, Fortumesca and Gonor; the three well-mannered, somewhat idealistic Africans Parker works with to rob their corrupt soon-to-be Former Regime Personnel of the country's looted treasury. Antagonits who fit this trope include Auguste Menlo and, at least in his first appearance, Adolf Lozini.
  • Big Damn Heroes: By Parker of all people, in Butcher's Moon.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sheriff Farley in Flashfire is the only cop to realize Parker’s involvement in the robbery, but can’t convince the rest of the local authorities of this.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Parker.
  • Comic-Book Time: The Parker novels span 46 years and are usually set at around the time they were published; Parker himself remains a grizzled fortyish throughout. There were some references to his military service (and bad conduct discharge) in World War II in the first few novels, which are later ignored. It helps that he is given very little backstory, so there's not much to retcon.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Happens to Parker in The Seventh, when he arrives at his hideout to find his Girl of the Week murdered, and the loot from the most recent heist stolen. A few minutes later, two cops walk in and Parker realizes the killer had waited around until he returned and then called the police.
  • Crazy Awesome: Larry Lloyd by the end of Firebeak, when, after the heist is foiled, he drives up to the crime scene, posing as a civilian employee of the house's owner, then hijakcs the truck with the stolen artwork being kept as evidence.
  • Criminal Procedural
  • Dashing Hispanic: Salsa.
  • Death by Adaptation: Darwyn Cooke made a few changes in his retelling of the events of The Outfit. In the original, accountant/troubleshooter Quill is given a message by Parker, and thereby survives the events at Bronson's mansion. In the graphic novel, Parker decides to eliminate the middleman and deliver the message himself.
  • Decapitation Presentation: At the end of The Man With the Getaway Face, Parker unzips a travel bag to show May the severed head of Wells: proving that he has upheld his end of the bargain and Wells is dead.
  • Determinator: Nothing will stop Parker once he puts his mind to accomplishing something (usually vengeance). In The Hunter, he goes to war against The Mafia in order to regain money he believes he is owed. In The Outfit, he is such a thorn in their side that they decide it is easier to make peace with him than keep fighting him despite him having killed several of their bosses.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Many of the POV characters for a single chapter of the And Now for Someone Completely Different sections of each book, especially members of Parker's gangs. Most notable is The Seventh where only five of Parker's six partners die and all but one of them had a POV section and some good scenes through other characters eyes.
  • Driven to Suicide: Poor Joe Sheer, after being tortured by a Corrupt Hick after the loot from his heist (which he'd blown on luxuries years ago), and the clients/fingers in Plunder Squad and Backflash.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Various allies and enemies. Most notable is Caliato. who looks like he's going to be the Big Bad of Slayground. but ends up being the Disc-One Final Boss.
  • Dumb Muscle: Parker tends to avoid these but sometimes they show up as side characters or employees of his enemies, like Ralph Hochberg in The Green Eagle Score.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first installment The Hunter, Parker planned to kill Mal Resnick and take his share as well. Something he'd never do later books.
    • Parker's somewhat different characterization in The Hunter is mainly due to the fact that the story was originally a stand-alone. In both the original and final versions, the end has Parker confronted by some cops who believe he's guilty of one of the few crimes he didn't actually commit in the novel. In the original version, though, the cops shoot and kill him. Editor Bucklin Moon found this ending unsatisfactory but agreed to buy the novel if Westlake would change the ending, have Parker survive and escape, and provide more Parker novels. Westlake changed the ending, but not some of the other events that make Parker's character even darker in this story than in the future ones.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all his sociopathy, Parker clearly adores Claire. He also seems to have genuinely cared for his wife before she double-crossed him.
    • Mob boss Al Lozini also cares about his family and is frustrated about the harassment they get from reporters.
  • Evil Counterpart: Well, eviler counterpart. Quittner, a member of the Tyler mob heavily involved in drug-trafficking is eerily similar to Parker in both personality and demeanor, and one of the few organized crime figures who really seems to understand what makes him tick. They never interact though, and Quittner only shows up in the last thirty pages of the book.
  • False Rape Accusation: In The Outfit, Parker turns down an offer of sex from the wife of one his cronies. She later claims that Parker raped her in an attempt to goad her husband into killing him.
  • Famed in Story: Parker has quite the reputation among the underworld by the events of Butcher's Moon.
  • Fiery Coverup: George Uhl does this in The Sour Lemon Score after he murders his two co-conspirators: burning down the farmhouse where the murders took place. He knocks the teeth out of the corpses before setting the fire to make identification of the bodies almost impossible.
  • Finagle's Law: Especially in the later books, almost inevitably something no amount of planning could anticipate hits Parker from the side.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Parker served in the army in Europe during World War II before being dishonorably discharged for black marketeering. Although he was probably a criminal before he enlisted (or was drafted), it is implied his time in the service is part of why he is so good with firearms. Due to Comic-Book Time, his military service is not mentioned in the later novels.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Near the end of Butcher's Moon, Dan Wycza gets distracted from the job for a while when he discovers that the casino manager he's holding hostage is a fellow health nut and they spend a while comparing opinions before it's time to go.
  • Good Samaritan: A slightly more morally gray version than usual comes from Marty form Breakout, who gives a hitch-hiking Parker a ride and due to being an ex-con himself lies for him when they stop at road block.
  • Great Escape: The first third of Breakout is dedicated to Parker organising a Great Escape from Stoneveldt.
  • Hall of Mirrors: In Slayground, Parker, cornered by rival criminals in a closed up amusement park, takes a precaution to assure that he will not end up confused by the Hall of Mirrors. He spraypaints a white line across the mirrors in the Hall of Mirrors. That way, when he does not see the white line, he knows he has the actual person in his sights.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: sometimes, Parker is willing to make truces with people who were trying to kill him few books ago like Al Lozini and Frank Meaney. if there's something in it for both of them.
  • Hypocrite: The Hunter has a pretty egregious example. Parker is pretty damn pissed that Mal nearly killed him and took his cut (not to mention his wife). Of course a few seconds before his wife shot him, he was off to kill Mal off and take his cut.
  • The Heist: Most of the novels revolve around some kind of heist.
  • Hidden Depths: Even some of the most antagonistic characters usually get some depths.
    • Cal Dennison from Ask the Parrot is the first one to figure out Parker’s identity as the fugitive, referencing Poe in the process.
    • Marcaontoni in Breakout is a racist who overestimates his own abilities, but as his chapter POV reveals he didn’t plan on trying to cheat Parker or Brandon out of their shares (unlike so many similar characters) and he and his regular accomplices have a True Companions vibe.
    • While Captain Haradawl in Flashfire is a pretty nasty, highly racist Right-Wing Militia Fanatic he did train his men pretty well based on how well they do against the hitmen they stumble across trying to kill Parker.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: In Comeback, Parker poses as a bounty hunter pursuing the villain who double-crossed him, and is convincing enough that the man they robbed ends up hiring him to capture all of the thieves and retrieve his money (even providing a cash down payment).
  • Honor Among Thieves: Parker has a rigid code of honour, in that A) he will absolutely not double-cross another professional criminal with whom he is working, unless B) if anyone tries to double-cross him, Parker will unhesitatingly undertake to exact a thorough and brutal revenge.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Seventh opens with Parker arriving back at the apartment he is using as a hideout to find the girl he was sharing it with stabbed with a sword that has gone through her and the headboard of the bed to pin her to the wall.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Minor characters from Dirty Money and Backflash.
  • It Works Better with Bullets:
    • In Comeback, Parker unloads Liss's shotgun while Liss is sleeping. This saves his life when Liss double-crosses him.
    • In Flashfire, Parker breakers into Melander's hideout and misaligns all the firing pins in the gang's automatics, and drains all of the powder from their shotgun shells. This ends badly for Melander and his gang when they pull these weapons when the police storm their hideout.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Several times. Notable example include Melander's gang (who take Parker's share of the money but do plan to return it after it helps them finance a bigger score), Menlo from The Mourner and Nick Dalesia in the opinion of the others after he kills a cop while breaking out of custody.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In the final book, a bounty hunter who recovered and turned in the body of a man Parker killed invokes this, saying the reward is being delayed due to multiple agencies having posted rewards on the man, while another had him wearing a wire (which was the reason Parker killed him) and that now they're squabbling over who should pay the reward.
  • Karma Houdini: If Parker is just stealing something, he'll generally get away clean with no repercussions, although not without trouble. If Parker commits murder, it comes back to bite him.
  • Killer Cop: The corrupt main antagonists of Backflash, Butcher's Moon, and The Jugger all go down this path.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: None of The Outfit besides Bronson object to the idea of a truce with Parker, and Al Lozini also comes to this conclusion after being harassed for the first section of Butcher's Moon.
  • Lack of Empathy: Not always but Parker can display this pretty harshly. Notably in The Seventh. after being angrily told by Little Bob Negli, who is chasing and shooting at him, how his (flawed) strategy to recover the money just got the rest of their partners killed or arrested, rather than feel any concern or guilt, all Parker seizes on from that statement is that they’re the last two and he won’t have to split with the others once he kills Little Bob, which won't violate his not-betraying-partners rule since Little Bob is trying to kill him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Almost anyone on Parker's heist team who seems really despicable, or any murderer outside of his team, is likely to suffer this fate. One downplayed example is Otto Mainzer, a Neo-Nazi member of Parker's string in The Rare Coin Score, who survives to be arrested but pisses off the police so much that they offer total immunity to the other (more sympathetic) robber they captured to testify against Mainzer, and a later book mentions that his sentence was extended after he hit a guard.
  • Lawful Evil: Parker is methodical, self disciplined and performs some pretty unsavory tasks. He has more of a sense of honor than the miscreants he works with. Averted in The Hunter where his character was somewhat irrational and used brutality more than necessary. Somewhat justified in that he might be suffering from PTSD from his near death experience.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Parker, a Villain Protagonist, is an amoral thief. However, he is pragmatic. He would kill to get what he wants, but he would not do it if it was unnecessary because he knows that the police put more effort in hunting murderers than thieves. Some books like The Sour Lemon Score or Deadly Edge, put him against complete psychos who rape and kill on a whim.
    • A few occasions, Parker invokes this while killing a mobster when knowing that someone more reasonable towards leaving Parker alone will take his place.
  • Left for Dead: Parker is left for dead when he is betrayed by his wife and his partner after The Heist in The Hunter. He wakes up inside a burning house. Managing to escape, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Loose Lips: The undoing of more than one of Parker's carefully planned heists.
  • The Mafia: Called "The Outfit" in the books; Parker deals with them so effectively they begin referring work to him.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Parker uses a Molotov cocktail to firebomb a gas station to create a distraction for a bank robbery at the start of Flashfire.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Both enemies and allies of Parker can use this (sometimes this turns into a Revealing Cover-Up). Zulf Masters in Flashfire stands out as the worst offender. To quote Parker,
    Parker: I think he’s somebody comes from a former life where making people dead was the solution to most problems.”
  • The Napoleon: Little Bob Zelig in The Seventh. Less than five feet tall, Zelig has a serious case of 'small man's syndrome', and Parker notes that he deliberately says things that no taller man could ever get away with. He even picks fights with Parker which, as his boyfriend points out, is tantamount to suicide. After he finally snaps and starts trying to kill Parker, Parker dispassionately shoots him in the back of the head.
  • Nazi Nobleman: The villain of The Handle.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Parker is arguably more dangerous without a weapon than with one.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: In Slayground, Parker sits in a wax museum display and his pursuers fail to notice him.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Parker's not a hero and he doesn't do good deeds, but in The Jugger he is not setting out with the intent to commit any crimes in particular and actually ends up ridding a small town of a corrupt sheriff. These actions result in blowing his legitimate cover identity, which leaves him broke and in a very bad spot for some time.
    • Morris going to warn Parker and Claire about the men picking off members of their latest heist crew in Deadly Edge has him walking right in on those men.
    • One of the rare times Parker shows mercy against someone who would be an Asshole Victim if he hadn't is George Uhl in The Sour Lemon Score, and yet the next time Uhl appears he's trying to kill Parker.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Many of Parker's heists go astray when one of his partners decides to betray the crew and take the loot for themselves.
  • One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title for the series, but also the books which are this trope are also Portmantitles for being compound words:
    • The Hunter with its alternate title of Payback.
    • The Score with its alternate title of Killtown.
    • Slayground
    • Comeback
    • Backflash
    • Flashfire, which is also a Protagonist Title for its alternate title of Parker.
    • Firebreak
    • Breakout
  • Only One Name: Parker's first name is never revealed. It's an open question as to whether "Parker" is even his real name.
  • Outlaw Couple: Ed and Brenda Mackey are among Parker's more recurring and reliable companions and work together well. Tommy and Noelle from Plunder Squad as well, although Tommy quits after that novel while Noelle keeps at it.
  • Pinned to the Wall: The Seventh opens with Parker arriving back at the apartment he is using as a hideout to find the girl he was sharing it with stabbed with a sword that has gone through her and the headboard of the bed to pin her to the wall.
  • Pistol-Whipping: In The Sour Lemon Score, Parker's opening move in the bank heist is to cold cock the bank guard with his pistol hard enough to knock him out when he turns to look at the distraction.
  • Plethora of Mistakes: Parker's carefully planned heists seldom go according to plan; usually due to either the greed of his partners or the interference of other criminals.
  • Pocket Protector: Parker survives his wife's attempt to kill in The Hunter because her first shot hits his belt buckle. This knocks him down and causes her remaining five wild shots to pass over the top of him.
  • Portmantitle: All of which are One Word Titles as well:
    • The Hunter with its alternate title of Payback.
    • The Score with its alternate title of Killtown.
    • Slayground
    • Comeback
    • Backflash
    • Flashfire
    • Firebreak
    • Breakout
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In The Handle, Parker is faced with two Mexican thieves who happened to hit his target first, and hidden a portion of the proceeds. Being short on time, he lets them go, noting that an interrogation would be useless since he doesn't know any Spanish and assumes that they don't understand English.
    • The Outfit decides it is simply easier to make peace with Parker than to risk further losses fighting him, making a business decision to write off the money and personnel Parker has claimed to that point.
  • Prefers Rocks to Pillows: Arguably Joe Skimm from the second book, who buries most of his money and lives in cheap motels.
  • Protagonist Title: Also a One-Word Title, for the title of the series, and the alternate title for Flashfire, which is Parker.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Frequently. It's most notable in The Outfit where Bronson's employee Mr. Quill explains to him that mot of their people view themselves as simple working stiffs, rationalizing their crimes by saying that all big corporations break the law. He says that if they were persuaded that they were in fact criminals, utterly divorced form society, then nine out of ten of them would quit on the spot and find a legitimate job. Bronson is not pleased to hear this, especially when advised that killing the employees who screwed up would be viewed as excessive itself and cause mass resignations.
  • Ransacked Room: Parker does this to Brock's apartment in The Sour Lemon Score; emptying every drawer, cutting open every pillow and cushion, and breaking open every stick of furniture where something could be concealed. Brock is shocked that someone could be destructive, and regards the apartment as having been raped.
  • Redemption Equals Death: occasionally. Notably, Chambers in The Score, who is one of the least likable group members but dies trying to keep the Psycho Party Member from killing a bunch of innocent firemen.
  • Red Shirt: At least one per book.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The Score features Parker and a team robbing an entire town in one night.
    • The Green Eagle Score features Parker heisting a payroll from an Air Force base.
    • Butcher's Moon has a team of thieves Parker assembles strike multiple Outfit targets in one night before assaulting their headquarters.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: In Flashfire, Parker is saved from a pair of hitmen when they run across the Christian Renewal Defense Force on maneuvers in the Everglades. The hitmen try to kill the CRDF to eliminate the witnesses and get gunned down.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Hunter is about Parker going after his wife and partner who double-crossed him and left him for dead.
    • Butcher's Moon features Parker assembling an army and ruthlessly killing most of the criminal infrastructure of a small city.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Several of Parker's targets.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: In The Outfit, Parker gets sick of the contract The Mafia has placed on him. He contacts all of his independent operator associates and asks them to put into effect any plans they might have had for robbing outfit operations (which is something he had threatened to do at the end of the first novel The Hunter). The third section of the novel details several of these robberies being carried out. The result is so costly to the outfit that they are willing to make peace with Parker and call off the contract.
  • Senseless Violins: In The Outfit, two of the gang who knock over the Outfit's number-running operation are dressed as musicians and carrying burp guns hidden in trombone cases.
  • Shoot the Builder: In The Man With the Getaway Face, a criminal on the run returns to the underworld plastic surgeon who changed his face and murders him, as the surgeon was the only one to know what his new face looks like. This causes problems for Parker, who is another client of the surgeon, as the surgeon's staff start hunting down past clients for revenge.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Parker gets slipped a mickey by the middleman Brock when he shows up asking questions about Rosenstein and Uhl in The Sour Lemon Score.
  • The Social Expert: Affably Evil Frank Farran is this to the Tyler mob, having friends in criminal organizations across both the city and the country. Due to these contacts, he knows enough to tell Al Lozini it would be a bad idea to fight Parker (once he hears his name) when he's willing to deal, and later he is kidnapped by Parker specifically for this reason, as he knows all the inner workings of the mob and can be interrogated about how to hit their locations.
  • Society Marches On: a couple books have crooked doctors who fell victim to disgrace or blackmail after referring patients to an abortionist.
  • Spoiler Title: The title of The Seventh makes it pretty clear what's going to happen when you discover it involves a seven-man job.
  • Super Window Jump: In The Sour Lemon Score, Parker escapes from George Uhl's ambush by diving through the farmhouse window when Uhl shoots Bernie Weiss. The house is so dilapidated that he takes most of the most of the window frame with him.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: In The Outfit, Parker is incredulous about how easy it is to break in the mansion of Bronson: a mob boss he has come to kill. He eventually theorizes that Bronson must be so confident in his cover in Buffalo that he doesn't feel the need to have obvious (or efficient) security.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: most of the non-corrupt cops who chase Parker with any chance of success. Gwen Reversa in Nobody Runs Forever and Dirty Money, Turley in Breakout, Dougherty in The Seventh (although it’s undermined a bit as he lets it get personal), Captain Mondale and his men in the last two books, Sheriff Farley in Flashfire, and Moxon in Firebreak ( although its zigzagged in that the subject of his attention is the heist target and his contact with Parker and his partners is more incidental). Calevecci from Comeback is a hard subversion, being honest, but an incompetent sadist.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: In Flashfire, Lesley tells Parker that she is not interested in him sexually and has no desire to get naked in front of him. He then tells her that she has to. He is checking to see if she is wearing a wire.
  • Taking Over the Town: In The Score, Parker is recruited to lead a crew to take over and loot a small copper mining town. The town has a curfew, which makes things easier, as the crew only has to take over the police station, the fire station, and the telephone exchange—the only places manned all night—before launching their assault.
  • The "The" Title:
    • The Hunter
    • The Man With the Getaway Face
    • The Outfit
    • The Mourner
    • The Score
    • The Jugger
    • The Seventh
    • The Handle
    • The Rare Coin Score
    • The Green Eagle Score
    • The Black Ice Score
    • The Sour Lemon Score
  • Those Two Guys: Wiss and Elkins, although, interestingly, they aren't explicitly this in the first book and only seem to have started working together so much afterwards. By Butcher's Moon, it's prominent enough that its mentioned their children are dating and will probably get married.
  • Throw-Away Guns: In The Outfit, Parker knocks out a hitman by throwing his revolver into his face because he doesn't want to risk shooting in a crowded hotel where the gunshot is likely to attract the attention of the law.
  • Truth Serums: In The Sour Lemon Score, Rosenstein and Brock use a truth serum on Parker to find out what he knows about George Uhl. Parker later uses the same serum (which he discovered when her searched Brock's apartment) to interrogate Uhl about the location of the money.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Happens several times in Butcher's Moon after the mob boss who Parker is able to work with gets murdered in a coup. First the new boss, then The Dragon, then another member of the gang all wrestle power from each other and all come across as this trope.
  • The Un-Reveal: The name of the amateur who soured Parker's score in The Seventh. The police discover his identity, and at several points the reader almost learns his name, but something always interrupts the action before it is revealed on the page. The novel ends without the reader (or Parker) ever learning who he actually was.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • What a Piece of Junk: In The Outfit, Parker visits a mechanic who specialises in supplying cars to the underworld. One of the vehicles he shows Parker is a Volkswagen Bug that he has been modifying into a getaway car, with a souped-up engine, reinforced chassis, ballast to allow it to corner properly, etc. The one problem he is having is that he cannot make it sound like a VW. Later in the novel, the reader gets to see the car in action, and he has solved the sound problem, at least at low speed.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Often tried by Parker and/or his partners in the aftermath of a complicated heist. How well it works depends on the novel.
  • You're Insane!: Parkers initial reaction to realizing that Edgars wants to rob all the businesses in a whole town in one night in The Score, but he gets persuaded to do it anyway. In Backflash he has a similar reaction to reading the planners manifesto and realizing that he had them rob a river boat casino just so he'd be able to latch onto that as proof that gambling attracts crime.


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