Plunder Squad (Parker, #15) - Richard Stark, Charles Ardai "Then there were fifteen minutes of small-talk. Parker never took pleasure in that kind of thing, but he knew other people found it necessary and he'd trained himself to take part in it.”

Parker was the wonderful creation of Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. All of Parker titles are being reissued by the University of Chicago Press. I’ve read many over the years, bought a couple more than once because I couldn’t remember which ones I had read (pre-Goodreads,) but never-mind, they hold up well even on second reading.

Parker is the bad guy you root for in that subconscious we all have that wishes we could step out of our roles and be the tough anti-hero.

Plunder Squad, unlike many of the others, reads a little like several short stories linked together by two tenuous threads: the search for George Uhl who tried to kill him, and art heists populated by a motley group of thieves who often can’t seem to get it right.

Some marvelous passages. Leo Sternberg, one of the thieves, lives in London but only steals in America. He checks into the motel where they are to have their first meeting. "Ghastly. Drinking glasses in the bathroom were encased in little white paper bags imprinted with a message including the word ‘sanitized.’ A similar message was on the paper band bridging the toilet seat. It was like dating a sexual hysteric who can never stop talking about her virginity.”

All of the Parker novels are very-well done, terrific for travel reads.