27) The Score (Parker Novels) by Richard Stark
Never having been one for crime or detective novels, I saw that this one was on sale for the low, low price of absolutely nothing for the Amazon Kindle. (It still is, as of this writing, by the way.) This is about as blank a state as I've ever approached a book, which is especially notable for one that is number five in a series. My problem is that I always want to start on the first book of any series so I don't feel lost, but I took a chance here and it paid off since the lack of knowledge wasn't a hindrance. These aren't meant to be read in any specific order that I can tell, and any references to previous books didn't stand out enough that they needed an explanation. A new reader doesn't need to know anything other than Parker, the main character, is a gruff, deliberate, no-nonsense, professional criminal. The rest explains itself.
The important thing is that the book is good, even if it's a little dated now, having first been published in 1964. The plan is to rob an entire town. The story builds appropriately, involves a few colorful characters and pays off with a suitable twist that doesn't feel like a cheat. It's not high literature, but it's an enjoyable story that pays itself off and provides a character I wouldn't mind revisiting. In reading up on the Parker series, I found that the first book serves as the inspiration for the movie Payback, starring famous nutcase Mel Gibson, which I really enjoy, so...good job, this book!
My only criticism actually comes in the Kindle layout of the book. There were a few spelling/grammatical errors as well as some problems with the layout where dialogue between two characters is formatted as one paragraph more than once. Again, the book was free, so I'm not complaining so much as warning anyone hoping to read this particular version that those kind of things might make the reading experience confusing.