Synopses & Reviews
Over the course of a fifty-year career, Donald E. Westlake published nearly one hundred books, including not one but two long-running series, starring the hard-hitting Parker and the hapless John Dortmunder. In the six years since his death, Westlakes reputation has only grown, with fans continuing to marvel at his tightly constructed plots, no-nonsense prose, and keen, even unsettling, insights into human behavior.
With The Getaway Car, we get our first glimpse of another side of Westlake the writer: what he did when he wasnt busy making stuff up. And its fascinating. Setting previously published pieces, many little seen, alongside never-before-published material found in Westlakes working files, the book offers a clear picture of the man behind the booksincluding his thoughts on his own work and that of his peers, mentors, and influences. The book opens with revealing (and funny) fragments from an unpublished autobiography, then goes on to offer an extended history of private eye fiction, a conversation among Westlakes numerous pen names, letters to friends and colleagues, interviews, appreciations of fellow writers, and much, much more. Theres even a recipe for Sloth à la Dortmunder. Really.
Rounded out with a foreword by Westlakes longtime friend Lawrence Block, The Getaway Car is a fitting capstone to a storied career and a wonderful opportunity to revel anew in the voice and sensibility of a master craftsman.
"Cooke has transformed the first volume of the late Donald Westlake's long-running Parker series (written under the pseudonym Richard Stark), about an indomitable outlaw, into a smashing graphic novel, making its ferocious mood and retro aesthetics the stars of the show. Parker belongs to the bottom of the urban jungle's economic strata, but the top of its food chain anyone who stands between him and his revenge is doomed, whether they're trying to resist him or just happen to be in the way. As the book begins, he's returning to New York City in the Kennedy era with murder in his eyes: double-crossed by his wife and partners, he's come back to kill whoever needs killing to get his money. Cooke has a real affinity for the tough-as-hammers tone of Westlake's story. His Parker doesn't seem to enjoy or dislike slaughter (or anything else); he's just doing what it takes to reach his goal, with a certain dispassionate savoir faire. And Cooke's delicious two-color artwork nails the look of the early '60s, from hairstyles and tiki bars to the illustrative technique that defined the era everywhere except for comics: angular caricatures that capture his characters' motion and expressions with a bare minimum of elegantly rugged lines. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] near-perfect match of artist and character....Cooke's a powerful enough cartoonist that his images do most of the heavy lifting here....Parker's a very bad man, but it's hard to take your eyes off him." Douglas Wolk, The Washington Post
"[S]tunningly rendered....Imagine Mad Men, with its cool stylishness, but with characters even more depraved and rapacious, and you'll have an idea for what's in store when you read The Hunter." Boing Boing
"[Cooke's] work truly shines. Fans of the noirest noir, such as Frank Miller's Sin City series, will find a lot to like in this well-executed adaptation." Kirkus Reviews
"[W]onderfully engrossing....Mr. Cooke depicts his characters with such emotion and conveys so much with gesture and composition that, except for the specifics of the hijacking, you could almost follow the story by the images alone." The New York Times
"Although his cartoony style may strike some as unsuited to Parker's milieu, Cooke's visual economy and mastery of atmosphere, not to mention his obvious affinity for Westlake's work, prove otherwise." Booklist
"Cooke retells [Stark's] story in his own unique voice, and as expected, Darwyn Cooke's The Hunter is a superb comic book....It is a graphic novel better than most and as good as the best. (Grade: A+)" Comic Book Bin
"I cannot imagine a comic creator more ideally suited to adapt the Parker novels than Cooke....Cooke's graphic novel is a sumptuous feast for the eyes, equally spare yet visually arresting, filled with small but powerful touches and simple but evocative linework that will be studied by generations of aspiring comic artists." Chris Bolton, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest.
Betrayed by the woman he loved and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind — to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him!
Richard (Donald Westlake) Stark's groundbreaking Parker books are adapted for the first time as a series of graphic novels by Darwyn Cooke. The initial graphic novel brings to life the first Parker book, The Hunter, which introduces readers to the dangerous anti-hero's cold and calculated world of criminals, thugs, and grifters.
This anthology gathers the very best of Donald Westlakes nonfiction, including reviews, essays, letters, and interviews, plus a recipe for tuna casserole. Levi Stahl, aficionado of the novels Westlake wrote as Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, and Westlake, was given access to the writers personal files and chose the most interesting bits, such as a memoir fragment on how Westlake taught himself to write. This is the only collection of nonfiction by the grand master of mystery, who wrote scores of crime novels from 1959 till he died in 2008. Lawrence Block has provided an amusing and revealing foreword.
About the Author
Darwyn Cooke is the Eisner Award-winning writer/artist of the best-selling DC: The New Frontier
, which was adapted as an Emmy-nominated feature-length animated film in 2008. In addition to New Frontier
, Cooke has garnered much critical and popular acclaim as the writer/artist of The Spirit, Selina's Big Score
, and others.
Richard Stark's Parker novels have influenced several generations of writers and filmmakers, from Elmore Leonard to Quentin Tarantino. Since their debut in 1962 there have been more than 20 Parker novels that have sold millions of copies. The Parker series continues to be one of the most imitated works of crime fiction ever published.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Lawrence Block
1 My Second Life: Fragments from an Autobiography
2 Donald E. Westlake, a.k.a. . . .
Hearing Voices in My Head: Tucker Coe, Timothy J. Culver, Richard Stark and Donald E. Westlake
Living with a Mystery Writer, by Abby Adams
Writers on Writing: A Pseudonym Returns From an Alter-Ego Trip, With New Tales to Tell
3 So Tell Me about This Job Were Gonna Pull: On Genre
The Hardboiled Dicks
Introduction to Murderous Schemes
Introduction to The Best American Mystery Stories, 2000
Dont Call Us, Well Call You
4 Ten Most Wanted: Ten Favorite Mystery Books
5 Returning to the Scene of the Crime: On His Own Work
Introduction to Levine
Tangled Webs for Sale: Best Offer
Introduction to Kahawa
Letter to Howard B. Gotlieb, Boston University Libraries
6 Lunch Break: Mays Famous Tuna Casserole
7 The Other Guys in the String: Peers, Favorites, and Influences
Lawrence Block: First Sighting
On Peter Rabe
Playing Politics with a Master of Dialogue: On George V. Higgins
On Rex Stout
Introduction to Jack Ritchies A New Leaf and Other Stories
Foreword to Thurber on Crime
Introduction to Charles Willefords The Way We Die Now
On Stephen Frears
John D. MacDonald: A Remembrance
8 Coffee Break: Letter to Ray Broekel
9 Anything You Say May Be Used against You: Interviews
An Inside Look at Donald Westlake, by Albert Nussbaum, 81332-132
The Worst Happens: From an Interview by Patrick McGilligan
10 Midnight Snack: Gustatory Notes from All Over
11 Side Jobs: Prison Breaks, Movie Mobsters, and Radio Comedy
Love Stuff, Cops-and-Robbers Style
Send In the Goons
12 Signed Confessions: Letters
To Judy ?
To Peter Gruber
To James Hale
To Stephen and Tabitha King
To Brian Garfield
To David Ramus
To Pam Vesey
To Gary Salt
To Henry Morrison
To Jon L. Breen
13 Jobs Never Pulled: Title Ideas
Comic Crime Titles
14 Death Row (Or, The Happily Ever Afterlife): Letter to Ralph L. Woods