Fiction, Reviews

The L.A. Times reviews the Parker novels

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The Los Angeles Times‘ Richard Rayner has written an excellent review of the Parker novels—a noir crime series written by Donald Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark, that follows the exploits of master thief Parker as he cheats, steals, and murders his way through page after intoxicating page to get what he wants. From the review:

Writing a couple of years ago in Bookforum, the Irish novelist and Man Booker Prize winner John Banville reckoned the Parker novels to be “among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
That’s high praise from an impeccable source, and Banville is right to single out the technical excellence of these books. The Parkers read with the speed of pulp while unfolding with almost Nabokovian wit and flair. Stark loves to shift character points of view, not only to advance the story but to go back inside the action and examine it for further angles and riches. The result is noir that drives forward relentlessly while feeling kaleidoscopic and reflective.…
The first three novels—The Hunter (filmed as Point Blank with Lee Marvin and, later, less successfully, as Payback with Mel Gibson), The Man With the Getaway Face and The Outfit—constitute a trilogy in which Parker first regroups, gets himself a new face and then takes on the organization, the Mob, which had supported his enemy, Mal Resnick, the guy who betrayed him.…
Original editions of these books, and even later reprints, change hands for scores or hundreds of dollars on the Net, and it’s excellent to have them readily available again—not so much masterpieces of genre, just masterpieces, period.

You can read Raynor’s review in this Sunday’s L.A. Times book review, or online now at their website.
Also read an interview with the author.