Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BREAKOUT by Richard Stark


by Richard Stark

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 2002
ISBN: 0-89296-779-X

When an attempt to lift generic pharmaceuticals from a warehouse goes belly-up, career criminal Ronald Kasper/Edward Johnson/Charles Willis/Edward Lynch/the indomitable Parker, world-class antihero, finds himself in Stoneveldt Prison, friendless and itchy to escape. After Ed Mackey, his pal on the outside, vets them as trustworthy, he settles on inmates Tom Marcantoni and Brandon Williams to effect a breakout and reluctantly agrees to Marcantoni’s plan that once out, they’ll stick around to rob the jewelry wholesaler plying his trade next to a dance studio in the basement of an old armory. With the sort of derring-do Stark and his alter ego Donald E. Westlake are infamous for, the trio, abetted by Mackey and his lover Brenda, are soon out of prison and tunneling into the jewelers. They fill their pockets and stash bags with loot, but on the way out, their tunnel collapses, claiming enough casualties to make Parker very curious about where another exit might be. Would you believe a call to a pizza parlor gets them out? Such are Stark/Westlake’s skills that it’s almost plausible, but there’s still a catch. Poor Brenda’s been railroaded into jail, and Mackey insists they spring her. More authorial sleight-of-hand eventually has Parker hitching his way back to upstate New York and into the arms of his beloved Claire with only three Patek Philippe watches to show for all his trouble.

Lots of carpentry and building razing: a sort of a breaking-and-entering manual for do-it-yourselfers. A minor but very readable effort from master craftsman Stark (Firebreak, 2001, etc.).