Friday, January 2, 2009

Goodbye, Richard Stark

Alas, Donald E. Westlake has died. I just read the first Parker book, The Hunter, (which was published under the name Richard Stark), over the summer and it was terrific. Hard boiled enough to make egg salad with, but with that wonderful noir style--terse, tense and utterly stripped to the bone. The main character, Parker, is a true anti-hero, tough and unsympathetic, but the people in his sights are so much worse than he is that its easy to cheer him on. Plus, there is something intriguing about such single-mindedness. Parker has been wronged--he's going to set that wrong right and nothing will stop him. There is a bit of a cultural artifact about The Hunter, because it so clearly takes place in the early 1960s, but that context only makes the book more intriguing, I think. It's always interesting to read books that were contemporary when they came out, but today are pretty much historical. There is a lack of artifice in such books that you just don't find in historical novels.

Of course Mr. Westlake wrote many many other mysteries, under his own name and others. He was the kind of writer the market just doesn't support anymore, and he was prolific without being a hack. We should all be so lucky.

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aiyipianni said...
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aiyipianni said...
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