Been a long time getting this site back to normal. Lots of updates while it was in safe mode. There will definitely be separate blog posts coming in the near future but, for now, here’s an annotated list of the doings in the past few months…
Violent World of Parker
Happy Birthday to Donald Westlake
[Editor’s note: Special thanks to Trent Reynolds, curator of the most excellent Violent World of Parker, which is more than a blog, more than a fan site. It’s Don’s second home on the web — his only home when this site was barely functional — and a source of fantastic research, history and commentary on all things Parker and many things Westlake. You could spend an entire day on Violent World of Parker and not run out of fun and interesting things to read and learn. An epic labor of love. Thanks for everything, Trent!]
Darwyn Cooke returns to Parker
The Parker graphic novels and stories that Cooke has adapted thus far have all been about who this ruthless criminal who calls himself “Parker” really is, and how he’s different from other men. Parker may change his appearance, but as one longtime compatriot notes in The Score, he can’t change his style. His brusqueness, his coldly analytical approach to planning a caper, and his willingness to kill another human being to avoid complications is all handled with such rationality that it makes Parker something of a freak in the world of hotheaded criminals. Let others play pretend; at his core, Parker’s legit.
SDCC 12: The Darwyn Cooke Panel
On Sunday at Comic Con panel dedicated to Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series of graphic novels, Darwyn Cooke and editor Scott Dunbier announced that a fourth Parker adaptation would be published in late 2013 and that it would be based on Donald Westlake’s Parker novel, The Mourner.
The Washington Post
New audiobook from Donald E. Westlake
First published in 1966, [The Busy Body] is one of Donald Westlake’s earlier novels, a New York crime caper with the wondrous quaintness of a rediscovered artifact. Except for a hoary bumbling-drunk scene, the book’s insouciance and wit are as exhilarating as they ever were.
Crime classic Parker is back in black
In re-imagining Parker — starting with “The Hunter” in 2009, followed by “The Outfit” and now “The Score” — Cooke has stayed incredibly faithful to Westlake’s original novels. He describes his adaptations as being like noir movies on paper. In “The Score,” Cooke works in a lean palette of black, white and gold. His bold pen strokes, moody washes of color, and lean prose help the action pop off the page.
[Editor’s Note: I don’t know what prompted Andrew to post this picture but he’s a wonderful and generous fellow with a marvelous family and amazing stories to tell. He is legend in the literary field and all-around nice guy. Thanks for everything, Andrew!]
Write On The Water
According to plan…
I’m ever amazed by the ways stories can mold characters, and characters can mold stories, and if, rather than fighting what is taking shape on the page you simply go with it, you may find yourself with unexpected and surprising results. And one of the finest examples of this writing zen comes from one of my favorite authors, Donald Westlake.
Mysterious Press (YouTube)
Profile: Donald Westlake
Open Road has put together another fantastic video profile, this time for Donald Westlake. Westlake, who passed away in 2008, was one of the crime genre’s most prolific authors. We’re thrilled to have William Link, Lawrence Block and Brian Garfield discussing his legacy, along with the owner of MysteriousPress.com, Otto Penzler.
The Washington Times
Book Review: The Comedy is Finished
When you read in a book that the copyright is held by “the estate of,” you can be pretty sure you won’t be seeing any more books by that author. That’s what the folks at Titan thought when they published Donald E. Westlake’s “Memory” two years ago. In fact, they were so certain they described it as his “final unpublished novel.” And then they got a letter from Max Allan Collins…
Voice #6: Donald Westlake
I wish I had discovered Donald Westlake years earlier than I did. He is fast becoming a hero of sorts for his ability to tell a story and to make it zing. His novel The Ax is as terrifying a novel as I’ve ever read. His Parker character is legendary, but it’s the Dortmunder crew I love to read.
The Posthumous Donald Westlake: It’s All Bullshit
Not to skip to the end, but this is what fiction has taught me, this is the lesson I feel that the writers whom I admire most are trying to impart to me: it’s all a bunch of bullshit, so don’t worry about it so much.
Voodoo Robot Chili
Writing – Learning Narration
I’m in the process of writing my next novel, VOODOO ROBOT CHILI, and was asked by my editor David Bischoff to look at Chapter Nine of GOD SAVE THE MARK, by Donald Westlake. Dave had found some of my narration a bit lacking (perhaps not the first time, but sadly not the last ). He told me to read this chapter to better understand how Westlake applies showing (not telling) with clear details as part of his narration. Well, I read the chapter and it was quite an eye opener.
I’d been warned by fans of Stark/Westlake that Point Blank’s Walker, as cold and violent as he was as portrayed by Marvin, paled by comparison to THE HUNTER’s Parker, so I was prepared to meet a somewhat less likable protagonist. But damn! Parker makes Walker look like a Salvation Army Santa Claus. It isn’t so much that the body count in THE HUNTER is higher than it is in Point Blank, it’s the ease with which Parker adds to it that makes for such a jarring contrast.
Charles Ardai: “…is there anyone who loves crime fiction who isn’t a Westlake fan? I first discovered him from his short stories in magazines like Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock (not to mention Playboy… yes, I read it for the short stories). At that point I mostly loved him for his wit and the cleverness of his plots. When I graduated from his short fiction to his novels I also came to admire how he could populate a book with a large cast of characters and make every last one of them come across as a fully fleshed-out, living, breathing human being. This is one of the best things about The Comedy is Finished.”
I inched closer to hear what he had to say.
“Yeah,” the guy said. “He’s kind of a fourth-rate Donald Westlake.”
At this point I sidled over and said, “You really think I’m that good?”
And this recently discovered Twitter fan. Spare, or shall we say “stark,” tweeting to be sure…
When the gun jammed, Parker threw it in Stettner’s face.