University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 9780226771069, 160pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark's eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose style and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover and become addicted to.
In "The Handle," Parker is enlisted by the mob to knock off an island casino guarded by speedboats and heavies, forty miles from the Texas coast.""
"Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark's noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world he] makes things simple. William Grimes, "New York Times"
Whatever Stark writes, I read. He's a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude. Elmore Leonard
Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible. "Washington Post Book World"
Donald Westlake's Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you ve been telling yourself about "War and Peace" and Proust these are the books you ll want on that desert island. Lawrence Block.
Luc Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium, and now lives in New York City. He is the author of "Evidence", "The Factory of Facts", and "Walker Evans", and his work has appeared in "The New York Review of Books", "The New Republic", and "Harper's", among other publications. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College.
“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”
“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible."
“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”
“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”
“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call roman noirs.”
"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."
"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."
"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."