This latest adaptation of the “Parker” novels by Darwyn Cooke offers up the immense thrill of seeing highly competent professionals plan and pull off a job that is, shall we say, “unreasonable.” After six months of idleness, the title character agrees to take part in a new job through an old contact. It’s a job that breaks some important rules -- It’s planned by an amatuer! It requires about a dozen men! -- but the sheer audacity of knocking over an entire town in one night proves to be ultimately irresistible to the anti-hero. From there we get to see the planning of the heist in meticulous detail as the crew needs guns, a transport, walkie-talkies and a hideout if they’re going to make this work. The buildup here is fascinating to watch as it feels utterly credible, like we’re getting a realistic peek into a way of life that few of us have ever seen, let alone contemplated.
Of course, the way these things go is that the plan usually goes right out the window after the heist starts and we get to see everyone’s real character as they cope with the fallout. That’s only partly true here as the chaos that unfurls here is surprisingly low key. It does take some interesting approaches, such as seeing Parker’s all-business psychological approach to keeping the few townspeople they encounter under control, as well as what happens to the girl who hooks up with Grofield. However, the falling action after the climax goes on for too long. You get the feeling that we’re being set up for some final twist, but then there’s... nothing. I suppose it’s their reward for such professionalism, and don’t get me wrong -- the book is pretty much worth buying to see the setup for the heist and its execution -- but it does end things on a whimper rather than a bang. Even so, the text at the end informing us that Parker will return in 2013 is welcome news indeed.