The Pequod Review:
In Firebreak, Parker & Co. target a secret vault in a billionaire’s hunting lodge. The book has one of Stark’s best opening paragraphs:
When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man. His knees pressed down on the interloper’s back, his hands were clasped around his forehead. He heard the phone ring, distantly, in the house, as he jerked his forearms back; heard the neck snap; heard the phone’s second ring, cut off, as Claire answered, somewhere in the house.
As with all of his Parker novels, Stark (whose real name was Donald Westlake) has a unique ability to describe scenes of extraordinary violence in a cold-blooded way:
Meany went in first, then Arthur, then Parker, who stepped to his left. As the bandaged guy came in, Parker took out the Beretta, stuck it against the guy's ear and fired. The sound was like a cough from a lion's cage.
Before the body could fall, Parker stepped in to clasp it around the chest with his left arm, while his right hand dropped the Beretta on the floor and went to that hip holster the guy had reached for earlier. He came out with a snub-nosed .32 thumb, finding the safety, and stepped back, holding the body close, as the others all turned to gape at him. Meany, disbelieving, cried, "What did you do?"