The Pequod Review:
Breakout is one of the best Richard Stark novels since his 1997 return (following a 23-year hiatus). The narrative is precise and intelligent, as Parker plots two heists sandwiched around a short stay in Stoneveldt Prison. Stark is heavy on the intricate details of the thefts and the prison escape, which gives the otherwise far-fetched plot a thrilling believability.
And Stark's observational details have never been better. Here he describes one of Parker's fellow prisoners:
Walter Jelinek was a man, but he looked like a car, the kind of old junker car that had been in some bad accidents so that now the frame is bent, the wheels don’t line up any more, the whole vehicle sags to one side and pulls to that side, and the brakes are oatmeal. Half the original body is gone, the paint job is some amateur brushwork, and there’s duct tape over the taillights. That was Walter Jelinek, who Mackey had told Parker not to talk to, since he had a reputation for carrying tales to teacher, but now Jelinek on his own wanted to talk to Parker.
Later, he describes a meeting between Parker and his new lawyer (Li):
Li was amused, not by Parker in particular but by his own entire life; it made him easy to be around, but suggested there were circumstances when he might not be completely reliable.
Twenty-one books in and the Parker series is as good as ever.