Spoiler Synopsis: The Hunter

Warning: I’m not messing around when I use “spoiler” as the modifier for “synopsis.”  This synopsis contains damn near every detail about every plot turn and every element you were hoping would surprise you when you thought about reading the book in the first place.

It’s a free country.  Read on if you want.

Personal note: I hate writing these things.  If you would like to contribute one for a book that I haven’t yet written up, by all means, contact me.

If you find any errors in this, please contact me. No error too small!

Now that the ground rules are established and all of that’s out of the way, let’s get on with…

The Hunter

The Hunter - Italian Edition

Parker arrives in New York City, broke, unshaven, and wearing worn-out clothes.

He quickly pulls a series of nickel-and-dime scams to get some money for necessities and acquire a fake drivers license in order to begin getting back on his feet, then tracks down Lynn, his wife, who had shot him as part of the betrayal.  Parker learns from a terrified Lynn that Mal has been funding Lynn at the tune of $1000 per month, but has vanished from her life after she submitted to him sexually him but did not respond. He also learns that this money is delivered by courier on the first of the month, just a few days away.

Parker locks Lynn in her bedroom overnight, planning to stay at her apartment until the payment arrives so that he can interrogate the courier. However, when he awakes the next day, he finds that Lynn, who had confessed to taking sleeping pills, has overdosed and died. Late that night, he drags her body to a nearby park and mutilates her face to delay identification of the body.

When the courier arrives with Lynn’s $1000, Parker pulls him inside the apartment and beats him until he gives up some information. While he does not know who Mal Resnick is, he confesses to Parker that he was delivering the payments on behalf of Arthur Stegman, who runs a local cab company.

Parker goes to Stegman’s cab company and muscles his way into the back, finding Stegman playing an illegal poker game with members of the police (natch). He pulls Stegman out for a ride in one of his cars and gives Stegman the Parker treatment, but is eventually satisfied that Stegman does not know where Mal is.  Parker lets him go with a warning not to tell Mal about Parker. Parker tails Stegman to be certain, but eventually comes to the conclusion that he has reached a dead end.

Following this, Parker flashes back to how he got here. After meeting Mal coincidentally and down a bit money-wise due to a canceled job, Mal and some partners began working with Parker and his wife to rip off funds meant for the purchase of an illegal ammunition shipment. The heist was successful.

Parker had decided to kill Mal and take his share, but before that can happen, Lynn shoot Parker. She fires all of the bullets in the gun, but only one shot hits Parker. Fortunately for Parker, it strikes his belt buckle, injuring him and knocking him out, but not killing him.

Waking, he finds himself in a burning house. Injured but alive, he crawls his way out. Days later, with no shoes and torn up clothes, he is picked up by state troopers along a highway and arrested for vagrancy. He is sentenced to a prison farm for six months. Five months later he learns through correspondence that Mal is in New York City. Parker kills a guard and escapes, and heads to New York to take his revenge on Mal.

In the meantime, Mal had taken up residence at the Oakwood Arms, a hotel operated by the Outfit (organized crime). He has used Parker’s money to buy his way back into the graces of the Outfit, having previously been ostracized after a costly error due to his cowardice. He’s been fairly successful, but dreams of rising within the operation.

Stegman gets in touch with Mal through one of Mal’s subordinates. Mal learns that Lynn is dead and Parker is still very much alive and out for blood.

Frightened, Mal makes an appointment to talk to Fred Carter, a regional manager for the Outfit and one of the top men in the New York operation. Carter considers the problem, and decides that the best way to handle it is to cut Mal out for the present until he takes care of the problem on his own, which would impress the Outfit. He also asks Mal to move out of Oakwood Arms until the trouble is over with.

Mal gets a room at the St. David, a lesser hotel. He rents as nice a room as they have and calls Irma, a local madam, to secure the services of a high-dollar prostitute. The prostitute arrives that evening, and in the midst of their congress, Parker bursts through the window of Mal’s room.

Mal then flashes back to his betrayal of Parker. Mal needed more money than his cut of the successful heist to buy his way back into the Outfit. So he convinces one of the partners, Ryan, that they were going to be betrayed by the others. The two of them kill everyone but Parker and Lynn. Mal at this point determines that he is going to steal both Parker’s money and his wife. He and Ryan enter Parker’s bathroom through an adjoining room, and wait for Lynn to enter. When she does, they convince her at knifepoint that if she does not kill Parker, both of them will be killed.

After a furious lovemaking session with Lynn (witnessed by Mal through the bathroom keyhole), Parker gets up to go kill Mal. When he does, Lynn shoots him. Thinking Parker is dead, Mal sets the house on fire to destroy evidence. On the way to their escape airplane, Mal kills Ryan and gets away with Lynn.

Back in the present, we retrace Parker’s path to Mal’s hotel room. His first stop is the grocery store of Manuel Delgardo, looking for Manuel’s son Jimmy. Although independent operative Parker has worked with him in the past,  Jimmy is now a smuggler for the Outfit. However, Jimmy is out of town making a run at the moment, so Parker is unable to talk to him about the whereabouts of Mal.

When Parker and Manuel emerge from the back room where they have talking, there are a couple of police officers. As they are suspicious of Parker, Parker shows them his fake driver’s license. They begin asking questions, hinting that Parker and Manuel were engaged in a drug deal. Parker says that he is not on heroin, arousing their suspicions further. When pressed, Parker tells them that he is from upstate New York, a friend of Jimmy’s just come to visit, that he was laid off from GE, and is staying at the Carlington Hotel after a fight with his wife. The cops are still suspicious, but they let Parker go.

Parker goes to a bar frequented by prostitutes and begins talking to one, looking for an Outfit hooker known as Rose Leigh. The prostitute doesn’t know her, but agrees to help him find her after Parker convinces her that Rose Leigh is his sister and he needs to see her because he is dying of a terminal disease. The prostitute convinces the bartender to get in touch with Irma, the madam, and eventually Rose Leigh is reached. Rose Leigh is shocked to learn that Parker is still alive and agrees to see him.

Through Rose Leigh (who Parker knows as Wanda), Parker learns that Mal is at the Oakwood Arms. He stakes out the Oakwood Arms from a coffee shop, but eventually has to move to a nearby beauty shop. There is still a woman in the beauty shop, who Parker ties up with electrical cords and gags. After more fruitless stakeout, he checks on the woman. She is dead. She was asthmatic, so the gag killed her when her breathing troubles started up.

After continued staking out is fruitless, Parker comes up with a plan to break into the Oakwood Arms.  He breaks in successfully, but finds Mal’s old room abandoned.

Furious, he goes back to Rose Leigh’s, thinking she had lied to him. Frightened for life, Rose Leigh tries again to track down Mal, this time finding out that he had moved to a different hotel. As Parker prepares to go kill Mal, Rose Leigh begins packing, knowing that the Outfit will kill her for asking about Mal’s whereabouts the night before he turns up dead.

After breaking through the window of Mal’s hotel room, Parker disarms Mal and sends the prostitute home. At this point, he decides that killing Mal is not enough. He wants his share of the loot, $45,000. Of course, Mal no longer has the money, having paid it to the Outfit to get back in good standing. Parker determines that he is going to get his money back directly from the Outfit and learns from Mal that the top Outfit people in New York are Mr. Carter and Mr. Fairfax, and also learns the location and layout of Carter’s office. Parker strangles Mal.

Parker arrives at Carter’s office, disarms his bodyguard, and goes in to see Carter. Parker tells Carter that he has killed Mal, and that Mal was not entitled to give Parker’s money to the Outfit and that he wants it back. Carter tells him that this is impossible-that isn’t how a business operates. Parker convinces Carter that he will be killed unless he finds a way, so Carter gets Fairfax on the phone and explains the situation.

Fairfax gets on the phone with Parker, whereupon Parker tells Fairfax that unless he gets his money, Carter will be killed. Fairfax says no, so Parker kills Carter, gets back on the phone with Fairfax, and says that he knows where Fairfax lives and unless he gets his money, Fairfax is next.

When Fairfax, who was out of town, arrives back in New York, Parker is waiting at his house. Parker quickly disables Fairfax’s bodyguards, who were foolishly transporting Fairfax’s luggage instead of being ready for action. Understanding the gravity of the situation, Fairfax contacts Bronson, one the three men who run the entire Outfit. Bronson agrees to give Parker the money in exchange for letting Fairfax live, but tells Parker that, by going against an operation as big as the Outfit, Parker has sealed his fate. With operatives everywhere, someone one day would find Parker and kill him. Parker just tells him to send two men with the money to the subway station at the end of the line.

Parker makes a stop to kill Arthur Stegman for telling Mal that Parker was looking for him, and then goes to the subway station. After evading several Outfit operatives, Parker gets away with the money.

Money in hand, Parker begins to leave his hotel with plans to go meet Joe Sheer, a retired thief in Omaha, through whom he will arrange for plastic surgery so that the Outfit cannot find him. On his way out the door, he is stopped and questioned by the two officers from Manuel Delgardo’s store. Giving a closer look to Parker’s license, they realize it is fake. They also tell Parker that the story he told them at the grocery store didn’t check out. Parker tells a new one, that he is a drifter who can afford a good hotel due to gambling winnings, but they don’t buy it. By a stroke of bad luck, Jimmy Delgardo had been caught while smuggling alcohol and marijuana across the border and the cops believe that Parker is involved.

Parker quickly takes the cops by surprise, kicking one in the head and butting one in the stomach. He grabs his suitcase and runs out of the hotel, where he is able to quickly get into a cab. In the cab, he opens the suitcase to find that he has grabbed the wrong one. He has the suitcase with his clothing in it, having left the suitcase with the money in it with the police officers.

In need of cash, Parker decides to hit the Outfit prior to getting plastic surgery–to do so is a violation of an unwritten code of freelancers, but Parker no longer cares. In St. Louis, he and three partners hit a sales office that is an Outfit front, making off with $70,000, a third of it Parker’s. Parker tells the Outfit guy in the office to tell the Outfit that it was Parker who robbed them.

Parker takes a cab to the St. Louis airport and catches a flight to Omaha.