The Hunter, 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 loves 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!
In 1962, Donald E. Westlake, writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark, created what would become one of the most important and enduring crime fiction series ever produced — Parker. Westlake wrote more than 20 Parker novels, many considered classics of the genre, and a number of which have transitioned to the big screen. Most notable of these is Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin, released in 1967. Westlake received many accolades during his distinguished career, including being named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writer's of America, that prestigious organization's highest honor.
Darwyn Cooke has adapted four Parker books as graphic novels so far. The first three, The Hunter, The Outfit, and The Score have all won Eisner and Harvey Awards. He will be providing all-new color illustrations for The Hunter, the first in a series of hardcover prose novels released in chronological order and featuring Cooke's art.
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Richard Stark is the most famous pseudonym of world-renowned author Donald Westlake (1933-2008). In 1962 hecreated the master thief Parker and began a series of novels that have been recognized as seminal works of crime fiction. Several of Westlake’s books have been adapted by Hollywood and Westlake’s adaptation of The Grifters earned him an Academy Award nomination for best motion picture screenplay. Westlake has won numerous awards for his fiction and in 1993 the Mystery Writers of America named him a Grand Master, the highest honor bestowed by that prestigious society.
Darwyn Cooke (1962-2015) was a graphic designer and animator who turned his attention toward cartooning in the late nineties. Known primarily for his work on the DC line of superheroes, Cooke always had an affinity for crime fiction and has often cited the Parker books as a great source of creative inspiration. Cooke has won multiple Eisner, Harvey, and Shuster awards, as well as the National Cartoonist Society’s Best Series award. In 2008 Cooke was Emmy-nominated for the animated adaptation of his magnum opus, DC: The New Frontier.
“Parker represents the antihero with dubious morals. Stark’s clever plot structure, moving back and forth in time, is totally engrossing.”--Library Journal (Library Journal 2008-10-05)
“Writing a couple of years ago . . . John Banville reckoned the Parker novels to be 'among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, any time.' That's high praise from an impeccable source, and Banville is right to single out the technical excellence of these books. The Parkers read with the speed of pulp while unfolding with an almost Nabokovian wit and flair. . . . Original editions of these books, and even later reprints, change hands for scores or hundreds of dollars on the Net, and it’s excellent to have them readily available again—not so much masterpieces of the genre, just masterpieces, period. . . . . The Hunter glitters with seemingly effortless intricacy, being aimed at one episode—a stunner, the kind of moment in fiction that really does have you leaping from your chair and exclaiming in surprise and glee.”
(Richard Rayner Los Angeles Times 2008-09-14)
“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
(Stephen King Entertainment Weekly 2008-09-12)
“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.”
(William Grimes New York Times 2008-08-28)
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.” (Elmore Leonard)
“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.” (John Banville Bookforum)
“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.” (Marilyn Stasio New York Times Book Review)
“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)
“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.” (Los Angeles Times)
“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)
“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."
(Christian Science Monitor)
“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 romans noirs.” (Anthony Boucher New York Times Book Review)
"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." (Luc Sante New York Review of Books)
"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." (Terry Teachout Commentary)
"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for." (John McNally Virginia Quarterly 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." (Josef Braun Vue Weekly)
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments." (Terry Teachout Weekly Standard)
“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 Globe and Mail)
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