I guess a "jugger" is a guy that breaks into safes, and Joe Sheer was one of the best, was
being the operative word. Now he's come down with a bad case of dead and Parker's concerned, not because Sheer was his golf buddy or anything, but he was one of the few people with a direct connection to Parker and Parker's got a sweet little cover identity set up. He doesn't want anyone nosing around Sheer's death to blow it. Throw in an aging crook who looks like he failed an audition for The Monkees and a greedy small-town cop looking for a big payoff and you've got yourself another great Parker read.
novels are consistently excellent books (at least for me so far) and there's basically nothing to say about the writing that I haven't said before. The writing is sharp as a tack and is a welcome respite from today's bloated five-hundred page thrillers.
There are a couple of interesting things that I've noticed about this one. For one, there's no big heist in The Jugger
. Parker's just out to preserve his cover identity, but I find that an interesting analog to Donald Westlake's own "cover identity," Richard Stark.
Also, we get a little glimpse into Parker's philosophy of life:
…a man never apologized for what cards he'd been dealt; what did Joe Sheer think all of a sudden at age seventy, he was the captain of his fate? A man was what the world decided he would be, and where the world decided he would be, and in the condition the world had chosen for him. If the world decided to deal Joe a bad hand this time, it wasn't up to him to apologize for not having better cards.
It's an interesting look into the fatalistic worldview of Parker, whom John Banville in the introduction describes as "the perfection of that existential man whose earliest models we met in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky." Parker's a symbol of Sisyphean revolt, making no apologies for the cards he's been dealt because he's always got another one up his sleeve.