From Richard Stark’s Parker: The Man with the Getaway Face by Darwyn Cooke


The Parker Novels
The Hunter (1962)

The Seventh (1966)

Deadly Edge (1969) Flashfire (2000)
The Man With the Getaway Face (1963) The Handle (1966) Slayground (1971) Firebreak (2001)
The Outfit (1963) The Rare Coin Score (1967) Plunder Squad (1972) Breakout (2001)
The Mourner (1963) The Green Eagle Score (1967) Butcher’s Moon (1974) Nobody Runs Forever (2004)
The Score (1964) The Black Ice Score (1969) Comeback (1997) Ask the Parrot (2006)
The Jugger (1965) The Sour Lemon Score (1969) Backflash (1998) Dirty Money (2008)
The Grofield Novels
The Damsel (1967) The Dame (1968) The Blackbird (1971) Lemons Never Lie (1971)

Excerpt from Comeback introduction by Lawrence Block (University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition, 2011)Back in 1991 I got a phone call from Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, wanting to know if I’d be interested in reviewing Perchance to Dream, Robert B. Parker’s sequel to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. I’d long been a great fan of both writers, but you might not have known that from my response. I said, “Review it? I don’t even want to read it.” “I know what you mean,” Kenny said. “I don’t think I could say anything good about it,” I said, “and I don’t want to say anything bad about anybody’s work, which is why I’ve pretty much stopped doing reviews.” Well, he said, how about writing about something I already knew I liked? An appreciation of an old favorite, for a new feature they’d started? Could I think of something I’d like to praise in print? I didn’t have to think. “Don Westlake’s Parker books,” I said. “Oh, perfect,” Kenny said. “I love those books.” Me too.

Excerpt from character profile by Kevin Burton Smith, The Thrilling Detective Web SiteDefinitely not a private eye. Richard Stark’s (actually Donald Westlake’s) PARKER is a hardened professional thief who appeared in a string of almost twenty excellent, extremely hardboiled caper paperback originals in the sixties and seventies. Demand for Westlake to bring back Parker resulted in the very well-received (and appropriately titled) Comeback in 1997. And seven more novels follwed, the series continuing right up until Westlake’s death in 2009. Along with the Parker novels, Stark wrote four Alan Grofield books about Parker’s sometime partner in crime. These usually pick up just after Grofield and Parker have finished a job; they’re a bit lighter, a bit more Westlake than the other Starks. Perhaps because Grofield doesn’t see himself as a professional thief. He sees himself as an actor, who’s criminal exploits allow him to turn down roles he’s not too fussy about. The Parker series is often cited as one of the absolute best hard-boiled series ever written, unapologetically brutal and unflinching. It’s also been the inspiration for several movies, although various directors have had some very different spins on his character, changing his name, his nationality, his race and even his gender on occasion. Rumor has it that when Westlake was asked why Parker was never called Parker in the movies, he replied that he didn’t want them to use the name, unless they were going to make a series from the books.

Who is Parker? (Violent World of Parker welcome message)You’ve heard of the hero and the anti-hero…how about the non-hero? That’s how Parker, the main character in a series of novels by Richard Stark (AKA Donald E. Westlake) has been described. Parker is a thief, but he’s no charming cat burglar who playfully eludes the silly authorities. He’s a ruthless thug who does whatever it takes to get what he wants (usually money), and he doesn’t care about a living soul other than himself. Some of the things he does will be repellent (I hope) to readers. So why read the stuff? Because Stark is an excellent writer and the Parker books are exciting and thought-provoking. Like all great crime fiction, the Parker novels give readers not just the story of a crime, but also a detailed look at the inner workings of a fascinating and original character.    Darwyn Cooke: Who is Parker? (Dragon-Con 2010)MTV Shows

Excerpt of remarks by Darwyn Cooke (2011 Long Beach Comic Con) Cooke told the audience that adapting the books was incredibly challenging, as they were very static crime novels. Cooke said he felt it was his job to find a way to make the adaptations an interesting visual experience without drawing anything away from the story. Going along with that, the next audience member asked him why he did not just go back to writing his own work rather than adapting. “The answer is simple: I want to work with the best writer I can find,” Cooke said, adding with a laugh, “And my writing sucks!” Explaining he’s always likened himself more to a director than a writer, Cooke said he believed he worked best coming into someone else’s story. He also told the audience that as a fan of the “Parker” novels, he felt his own writing would not have “stood up” to what Westlake accomplished. “Especially now that he’s gone, to be able to carry his work forward — ” said Cooke before noticeably choking up. Composing himself, Cooke continued, “I assumed ‘Parker’ would come and go and everyone in line would still be going, ‘Green Lantern! Green Lantern!’ But that doesn’t happen! A lot of people have really turned on to this stuff. I have 23-year-old guys coming up to me and saying, ‘I didn’t know this was a line of books. I picked up five of them — they’re amazing!’ So, in many ways, working with Donald — in this sense, I’m doing more than I would have on my own.”

Comic Book Aficionado Corey Blake: Richard Stark’s Parker by Darwyn Cooke “If you like crime fiction and caper stories, I have a pair of graphic novels that are required reading for you.”  The Hunter: A Conversation with Donald Westlake (In Ancram, NY — Included with Payback Director’s Cut DVD)

Read: Donald Westlake’s introduction to the hardcover Gregg Press edition of The Hunter

Excerpt from WRITERS ON WRITING; A Pseudonym Returns From an Alter-Ego Trip, With New Tales to Tell by Donald Westlake for The New York Times In ”Flashfire,” the Richard Stark novel just recently published, he writes, ”Parker looked at the money, and it wasn’t enough.” In one of his own novels a few years ago, Donald Westlake wrote, ”John Dortmunder and a failed enterprise always recognized one another.” Dortmunder, Westlake’s recurring character, proposes a Christmas toast this way, ”God help us, every one.” Parker answers the phone, ”Yes.” For years, it was enjoyable and productive to go back and forth between the two voices. Letting the one guy sleep while the other guy stretched helped me avoid staleness, sameness, the rut of the familiar, kept me from being both bored and, I hope, boring. I missed Stark during his truancy. But finally after 15 years I did come to the reluctant conclusion that he was as gone as last year’s snow. Then an odd thing happened.



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