Tuesday, 7 November 2017

2 BY RICHARD STARK (AKA DONALD E. WESTLAKE) - PART 2

A couple from Richard Stark AKA Donald Westlake and featuring one of my favourite series characters - the thief called Parker.





















Parker first came to life before I was even born, debuting in the 1962 novel Point Blank and thrilled me for 16 adventures before Westlake downed tools on him after Butcher's Moon in 1974. I was late to these and read them sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s.

After a 23 year hiatus he came back in the appropriately titled Comeback. A further seven books followed, with Dirty Money the 24th and last in the series - published in 2008, the year the author died aged 75.

I ought to pull my finger out and read these eight bad boys, but I'm kind of delaying the satisfaction - tantric book reading anticipation, if you like - once they're gone they're gone.





Comeback (1997)

Before there was Pulp Fiction, before Elmore Leonard was a household name, Richard Stark was the American master of noir - telling tales of bad men and bad moves that were hailed for their cutting edge realism. Now Richard Stark, one of the most acclaimed American crime writers, is back. And so is the unforgettable character of Parker, a man who lives for the perfect crime, and refuses to die committing it. The heist went down while the people prayed. An angel walked with sagging shoulders - he was Parker's inside man, dressed in wings and robes and destined to be a problem. An hour later, Parker, Liss and Mackey were out in the shimmering heat of a stadium parking lot with four duffel bags full of cash. Then the double-cross began. Now the half-million-dollar robbery of a Christian crusade is drawing a crowd of cops, crooks and the evangelist's own unrelenting security man, a tough ex-Marine who trusts nothing and nobody. What began at a gathering of the faithful has moved into the realm of night. Here every move has a countermove, every man is on his own and every lie leads to the deadliest moments of truth.


Dirty Money (2008)
"[One] of the greatest writers of the twentieth century...Richard Stark, real name Donald Westlake...His Parker books form a genre all their own."
--John Banville, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea

Master criminal Parker takes another turn for the worse as he tries to recover loot from a heist gone terribly wrong. In Nobody Runs Forever, Parker and two cohorts stole the assets of a bank in transit, but the police heat was so great they could only escape if they left the money behind. In this follow-up novel, Parker and his associates plot to reclaim the loot, which they hid in the choir loft of an unused country church. As they implement the plan, people on both sides of the law use the forces at their command to stop Parker and grab the goods for themselves. Though Parker's new getaway van is an old Ford Econoline with "Holy Redeemer Choir" on its doors, his gang is anything but holy, and Parker will do whatever it takes to redeem his prize, no matter who gets hurt in the process.


A couple from Stark's pen featured a year and a half ago in March, 2016 and I still haven't read them yet.

2 BY RICHARD STARK (AKA DONALD E. WESTLAKE)


8 comments:

  1. Well, you're right about that, Col. There's nothing quite like Westlake/Stark, and I'm sure you'll enjoy those books. When you get to them, I hope you'll post review.

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    1. Margot, it's been too many years since I read one, so sometime soon. The plan will be to post on it and probably shout about it from the rooftops!

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  2. Point Blank is a great film with Lee Marvin & a really good remake as Payback with Mel Gibson - so I should really read the book & start the (long) series. I've got a couple of Westlake ebooks from Project Gutenberg - I believe at least one of them is a detective novel set in space (? on the moon) - well, they were recommended somewhere, sometime ago :).

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    1. I don't think I've seen the Lee Marvin one, but I did catch one with Jason Statham which I enjoyed.

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  3. Col – I’ll be jumping into an early Stark/Westlake soon.

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  4. Well, it will be a long time before I get to these books, since I will read them all in order.

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    1. Tracy, I'm hoping to pick back up with the series next year. We'll see if I do, I'm bound to get side-tracked.

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