Friday, June 10, 2011

Parker Needs a Deadly Edge

This is another of Richard Stark's (Donald Westlake's) Parker series that has been out of print and unavailable for a good number of years. Happily, the University of Chicago Press has recently published a new edition of the book with an introduction by Charles Ardai, the man behind the Hard Case Crime series.

The basic framework of the novel will be familiar to most fans of the series. Parker and a crew of men execute a carefully planned heist, in this case at a rock concert. Then, almost immediately, things go awry and Parker has to spend the rest of the book extricating himself from the resulting jam, hoping to get away with both his life and his share of the loot. As always, it's great fun to watch Parker at work both on the caper and in the aftermath.

At this point in the series, Parker is settling into a relationship with Claire, the woman he met a few books earlier in The Rare Coin Score. After living in hotels, Claire has found a house for them to share, which she hopes will be a haven for Parker between jobs. This is important to her, less so to him. Parker "didn't think about houses, they had as much to do with his life as apple trees." But Claire is important to him and so he feigns more enthusiasm than he actually feels.

This book is unique in the series, because a good portion of it is told from Claire's perspective. But it's an interesting approach, and given the importance that Claire assumes in Parker's life and, thus, in the series, it's nice to have this more complete introduction to her character.

A number of fans of this series have been extremely frustrated through the years because these books have been impossible to find. But with the books published by the University of Chicago Press over the last couple of years, the entire series is at long last available again. All of Parker's (and Richard Stark's) fans are enormously grateful.        

No comments:

Post a Comment