Powell's Richard Stark Sale!
For a limited time, save 30% on select Richard Stark crime novels!
Written between 1962 and 1974 and published under the great Donald Westlake's most famous pseudonym, these 15 novels - featuring the relentless antihero Parker - put the "hard" in hardboiled. If you love the style and period of Mad Men but long for more gun battles and bloody knuckles, Stark is for you! Offer good on select titles, new (not used) copies only.
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Synopses & Reviews
You probably haven't ever noticed them. But they've noticed you. They notice everything
. That's their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.
They're thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They're pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you're planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister's heister, the robber's robber, the heavy's heavy. You don't want to cross him, and you don't want to get in his way, because he'll stop at nothing to get what he's after.
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark's eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style — and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency — Stark is a master of crime writing; his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover — and become addicted to. This season's offerings include volumes 4–6 in the series: The Mourner, The Score, and The Jugger.
The Mourner is a story of convergence — of cultures and of guys with guns. Hot on the trail of a statue stolen from a fifteenth-century French tomb, Parker enters a world of eccentric art collectors, greedy foreign officials, and shady KGB agents. Next, Parker works with a group of professional con men in The Score on his biggest job yet — robbing an entire town in North Dakota. In The Jugger, Parker travels to Nebraska to help out a geriatric safecracker who knows too many of his criminal secrets. By the time he arrives, the safecracker is dead and Parker's skeletons are on the verge of escaping from their closet — unless Parker resorts to lethal measures.
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He's a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.” Elmore Leonard
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.” Washington Post Book World
“Donald Westlake's Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you've been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust — these are the books you'll want on that desert island.” Lawrence Block
"Perhaps this, more than anything else, is what I admire about these novels: the consistent ruthlessness of an unapologetic bastard." Virginia Quarterly Review
“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”
H. J. Kirchoff
“Perhaps this, more than anything else, is what I admire about these novels: the consistent ruthlessness of an unapologetic bastard. And so if youre a fan of noir novels and havent yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch youve been searching for.”
Globe and Mail
“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
John McNally - Virginia Quarterly Review
“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”
Stephen King - Entertainment Weekly
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude."
William Grimes - New York Times
“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
John Banville - Bookforum
“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”
“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call roman noirs.”
"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
Anthony Boucher - New York Times Book Review
"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."
Luc Sante - New York Times Book Review
"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."
Terry Teachout - Commentary
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."
Josef Braun - Vue Weekly
“If you’re looking for crime novels with a lot of punch, try the very, very tough novels featuring Parker. . . . The Hunter
, The Outfit
, The Mourner
, and The Man with the Getaway Face
are all beautifully paced, tautly composed, and originally published in the early 1960s."
Terry Teachout - Weekly Standard
About the Author
Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008), a prolific author of noir crime fiction. In 1993 the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the societys highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master.