I’ve read almost all the Parker books. My favorites are the initial trilogy (The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face — which is an amazing title — and The Outfit), The Jugger, The Seventh, The Rare Coin Score, and Deadly Edge. I think if I had to pick one favorite, it would be Deadly Edge. I like how it develops Claire more than any of the others, and how it makes the point that Parker survives because he’s even more ruthless than the other criminals he faces.
The Hook. I’m afraid most of his humor doesn’t really resonate with me, but The Hook was almost a Richard Stark novel for the well-read, if that makes sense. Oddly, to my mind the worst part of the book was, well, the “hook,” as it were.
Kind of how I feel about somebody like Lawrence Block. Love the Matt Scudder novels, can’t stand the Bernie Rhodenbarr ones.