Thoughts on Plunder Squad


I have finally written up my thoughts on Plunder Squad. Here they are.

Hearing the click behind him, Parker threw his glass straight back over his right shoulder, and dove off his chair to the left. The bullet furrowed a line through the plans on the table, the sound of the shot echoed loud and long in the closed room, and Parker rolled amid suddenly scrambling feet, his arms folded in tight over his chest. He didn’t have a gun on him, and the first thing to do was get away from the guy who did.

Parker is on a losing streak as Plunder Squad begins. George Uhl (last seen in The Sour Lemon Score) louses up a job and tries to kill him. The next possible job is amateur hour, and Parker walks away. Needing money, he signs on to a high-risk art theft. A top-notch team is assembled, including Ed Mackey and Stan Devers (from The Green Eagle Score). Everything looks like it should come up roses, but that wouldn’t be very much fun, now would it?

Plunder Squad is an excellent Parker adventure that perhaps has never gotten its due because of its scarcity–prior to the University of Chicago reissue, it had only three English-language printings (one of which was in the UK) that all became expensive collectors’ items. The quality of Stark’s prose is even more superb than usual, and he stretches to include chapters from the perspective of several different characters rather than the typical one or two.

An interesting wrinkle in Plunder Squad is that the other members of the title unit are sympathetic, likable, and professional. The weak link is their customers, who are in over their heads in a field they know little about.

Parker may be on a cold streak, but Stark is on a hot one–starting with the rejuvenation of the series in The Sour Lemon Score, continuing with (the second half of) Deadly Edge, and onward to Slayground and Plunder Squad, Stark gets better with each book.

(Plunder Squad shares a scene, written from another person’s perspective, with Dead Skip by Joe Gores.)