He is a man with one name
. He is a thief and a killer, and the protagonist of 24 hard boiled novels
written by prolific author Donald Westlake (previously
) under the pseudonym Richard Stark. He is Parker, and he is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
His first adventures, long out of print, are being reissued
by the University of Chicago Press. While the first three, The Hunter
, The Man with the Getaway Face
and The Outfit
, were published without forwards, the second batch of books featured a forward by John Banville, which originally appeared in Slate
. (This article was also referenced in the Westlake obit post, but is included here for the sake of completeness). The third set of reprints, coming in August, will have a forward by noted writer and critic Luc Sante. It will presumably come from his 1985 essay “The Gentrification of Crime,” for the New York Review of Books
, which is not available online in its entirety. You can read an excerpt
, however (scroll down to the Westlake heading).
Not only are the Parker books being reprinted, but the first novel, The Hunter,
which served as the basis for the movies Point Blank
and Payback, has been adapted as a graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke
. Initial reviews
are positive. Cooke has said he has plans to give the graphic novel treatment to the first four Parker novels.
While the aforementioned Point Blank
are the most well known film versions of Parker novels, there are many more. The first was Made in U.S.A.
directed by Godard. It was a loose adaptation of The Jugger
where Parker was played by actress Anna Karina. Due to the fact that Godard never bothered to acquire the rights to the book, the film did not receive an American release until this year.
For those who can’t get enough, the definitive site for all things Stark is The Violent World of Parker
, which has an exhaustive list of novels and adaptations.
An interview with Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker
An interview with Donald Westlake