Donald E. Westlake’s pseudonym Richard Stark knows how to kick off his novels with incredible first lines and openings. The novel Firebreak is no slouch in that area: When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man. His knees pressed down on the interloper’s back, his hands were clasped round his forehead. […]Read more "Considering Westlake: Firebreak"
By the time 2000 rolled around, Donald E. Westlake had been chronicling master heister Parker’s adventures for almost four decades. Sure, the Richard Stark pen name had taken a bit of a hiatus for about two of those decades, but there are only so many times you can write a criminal doing crimes, right? Even […]Read more "Considering Westlake: Flashfire"
After the return of Westlake’s cooler crime fiction pseudonym Richard Stark with two Parker novels in almost two decades, Westlake was not quite ready to get back to the lighter fare that had made his reputation in the latter half of his career. Instead, he returned to the satiric, psychological horrors of The Ax for […]Read more "Considering Westlake: The Hook"
With his return to action in Comeback, Parker (and by extension, Westlake’s Richard Stark penname) was only beginning to warm back up. Sure, there would not be four novels a year anymore, but there would be a slew of Parker novels appearing across the remainder of Westlake’s life. For the Parker novels appearing under The […]Read more "Considering Westlake: Backflash"
They say you never forget your first. Sometimes you don’t forget your second either. I actually first read the Parker novels released under Donald E. Westlake’s pseudonym Richard Stark following the release of the 1999 movie Payback. My copy of The Hunter was a tie in edition to that movie, with a cover sporting Mel […]Read more "Considering Westlake: Comeback"
The more things change, the more they stay the same . . . This is not a comment about Donald E. Westlake’s chilling novel from 1997, the work under consideration today. Instead, it is a comment about the subject matter he tackled in that particular volume and its relationship to today. The Ax is a […]Read more "Considering Westlake: The Ax"
The adventures of John Archibald Dortmunder (the beleaguered and bewildered crook who hates his middle name and ends up in the oddest escapades) have taken some strange turns (starting in the first volume of the series, in fact). The Hot Rock might have been slender in terms of page count, but it was no less […]Read more "Considering Westlake: What’s The Worst That Could Happen?"