The Hunter (Parker, #1)
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The Hunter (Parker #1)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  4,208 ratings  ·  417 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

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Published September 15th 2009 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
When PARKER is after you...IT’S PRETTY MUCH Photobucket

4.5 to 5.0 stars. I haven't read oodles of crime fiction but this is certainly one of the best I have read so far. Parker is a pinnacle of the noirish, badass main character. He's simply superb. In this first installment, Parker returns to New York to “even up the score” with some former crew-mates who double-crossed him and left him for dead. Uh…BIG MISTAKE (for them). Now Parker is out for payback and it's pretty much lights out for his former assoc...more
Mike
Mar 16, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of hard-boiled crime and noir
Recommended to Mike by: Goodreads group Pulp Fiction Member
The Hunter, Donald Westlake aka Richard Stark writes the first Parker Novel

I wrote an absolutely brilliant review of The Hunter: A Parker Novel last night. Trust me, it really was. Then it simply vanished. The laptop hiccuped and all those wonderful words went off to where good words go to die.

Richard Stark was a guy I had never heard of until I joined goodreads group Pulp Fiction. Donald E Westlake, I had heard of. I was in Junior High School when I read Fugitive Pigeon. It was a stitch, althou...more
Kemper
When we meet Parker, we don’t know much about him. He’s just a guy with shabby clothes and a bad attitude walking across the George Washington Bridge into New York without a dime to his name. Within hours of arriving in Manhattan, Parker has used an early ’60s form of identity theft to fill his wallet and set himself up quite nicely. Clearly, this is a resourceful guy. As we quickly learn in The Hunter, he’s also a guy that you do not want to double-cross.

A professional thief, Parker was betray...more
Dan Schwent
Four men collaborate on a heist and everything goes well until one man decides he can't share and tries to off the others. But Parker doesn't die and comes looking for revenge! But will revenge be enough for Parker ...?

Wow. I'd been looking forward to reading Richard Stark's Parker books for quite some time and I'd say I'm hooked with the first one. Parker's a relentless force of nature with few redeeming qualities. The writing shows just how versatile a writer Donald Westlake was, powerful yet...more
Algernon
Jan 14, 2014 Algernon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Algernon by: bookclub choice
Shelves: 2014
[7/10]
The first book in the Parker series is a clear illustration for me of the need for half-stars here on Goodreads. I know three stars means a positive reaction, but often people interpret it as a mediocre book, and The Hunter may be flawed as far as I'm concerned, but it is definitely not mediocre. It has in fact most of the elements to make it a classic in its genre: a powerful lead, a heist gone bad, betrayal among crooks, women trouble, surprising twists towards the end.

Parker is a prof...more
Jim
Jan2014: Group read & I get the different versions mixed up, so I'm relistening to this. It's short & still great.

Feb2013: An excellent first book of a very good series by Donald E. Westlake writing as Richard Stark. Parker is a great character. He's almost robotic in his cold logic & self-centeredness. He wants what he wants & allows very few emotions to get in his way. Others fidget while they wait, but Parker never does. He's big, strong & obviously has some training in fi...more
Melki
During my formative teen years, my dad practically force-fed me a diet of Ed McBain, Joseph Wambaugh, and Donald E Westlake, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. I will always have to wonder if he just didn't know about Westlake's evil twin, Richard Stark, or if perhaps he wanted to protect his shy, virginal daughter from the likes of a man like Parker.

He knew he was hard, he knew that he worried less about emotion than other people.

Calling Parker hard is something of an understatement. H...more
brian
i liked the movie better. and that's really not supposed to happen unless you're talking about the godfather. yeah, point blank is a surreal jagged & fucked-up masterpiece and lee marvin is cooler than god, but it ain't just the merits of the film, it's the deficiencies of the novel. i think the problem with the hunter lies in that, this being the first of the series, stark felt he had to create a firm foundation, establish character, theme, tone, and all the other literary junk that doesn't...more
Tfitoby
“I'm going to drink his blood, I'm going to chew up his heart and spit it into the gutter for the dogs to raise a leg at. I'm going to peel the skin off him and rip out his veins and hang him with them.”

Parker is one angry man, he's been crossed, left for dead, thrown in jail for vagrancy, had to cross an entire continent and now he's a hunter who wants payback at point blank range.

Knowing a little about this series of books and how highly fellow pulp fans rate the first book, published in 1962...more
Greg
"He stopped looking mean and he stopped looking mad. He kept working at it, and when he was sure he looked worried he went on into the bank."

The first half of The Hunter is near perfect. Parker hits New York City, entering the town with a rumbled ill-fitting suit and a very pissed off look on his face huffing it over the George Washington Bridge. The image of him stomping in to the city with just the thought of killing his ex-wife and Mal, the couple who shot and stole forty something thousand d...more
Brandon
Career criminal Parker is double crossed and left for dead but they didn’t confirm the kill. After surviving an attempt on his life, Parker’s search for the scumbag responsible has led him to New York City. While finding the man may prove difficult for Parker, one thing is for sure, he’ll get his revenge or die trying.

While I’ve read all of Darwyn Cooke’s tremendous graphic novel adaptations as well as watched the late 90s movie “Payback”, I’ve yet to check out the original source material - Sta...more
Mara
Looking for a gangster with a heart of gold or maybe a heister living by some thieves' code of honor? In that case, you probably won't dig Parker. He's a simple man really, not one for small talk or emotions. He's just 100% bad ass and doing what he's gotta do.

By part two of this book I was experiencing what I can only describe as some sort of anticipatory excitement...not exactly blood lust, more the kind of feeling you get when you've lit a firework and are waiting for it to explode, or that...more
Cathy DuPont
The was my first Donald Westlake (pen name of Richard Stark and so many others.) I've known and heard about Westlake for the past few years since I've made a point to read some of the early creators of the mystery/thriller/P.I. genre.

Westlake passed away in 2008 at the age of 75 after writing almost 100 books.

His writing, which was spectacular in its simplicity, was so clean and clear with no 'fluff' whatsoever.

But Parker, his famous character, is not for everyone since he's is the quintessen...more
Michael
"The office women looked at him and shivered. They knew he was a bastard, they knew his big hands were born to slap with, they knew his face would never break into a smile when he looked at a woman. They knew what he was, they thanked God for their husbands, and still they shivered. Because they knew how he would fall on a woman in the night. Like a tree."
Bill
My first Parker novel!

Ever since reading The Ax by Donald Westlake, I've been interested in reading more of him, and of his alter-ego Richard Stark. Especially since learning how much of a fan Stephen King is, and how half of his alter-ego's name is in tribute to the good Donald's.

This is a very fast-paced novel, and very harsh for its time (early 60s).
Parker is a 1st degree asshole. Tough to like, yeah, but his story is irresistable.
He. Kicks. Ass.

We are first introduced to him as a lone figure...more
Michael
One of the rare times where the movie (Payback) is better than the book. It could be that I've seen the movie first but in my opinion the movie had a darker, rarer feel to it. As many people may know the hunter (and payback) tells the story of Parker, how is seeking revenge after been betrayed, shot and left for dead by his partner and his wife. But what many people may not know, is originally this was going to be a one off book, but the authors publisher convinced him to change the ending and o...more
Jonathan Cullen
Holy crap!

If you ever thought about double crossing someone, you best make sure you know who you're dealing with. If his name starts with a "P" and ends in "arker"...don't. This was my first attempt at Westlake/Stark and what a ride! The pace is relentless and the style suits Parker himself: no extra fluff, straight to the jugular and best with a bottle of vodka. The economy in the prose is brutal and efficient. If you don't like it, screw you. Oh and I took your stuff while you were thinking ab...more
Jonathan Janz
Originally published on my blog, jonathanjanz.com (http://jonathanjanz.com/2013/04/27/th...)

You know, Donald Westlake and I have a lot in common. We both write under a pen name. Both of our novels feature moments of shocking violence. We both…write under pen names.

Okay, so maybe we aren’t so alike after all. But man, could that guy write.

I’ve been hearing about the Parker books for years (quick recap for the uninitiated—Westlake is the author’s real name, Stark is the pseudonym, Parker is the ch...more
David
The defining moment of the first Parker novel comes in a throwaway scene: Parker, searching for a location from which to surveil his prey, forces his way into a beauty shop, knocking out its proprietress with a punch to the chin. Parker gags her and ties her wrists and ankles together, cutting the cord with pair of scissors that he finds in a desk drawer. At first, he doesn't think anything of the inhaler that he finds along with scissors, but then he notices that the woman is dead. Parker's rea...more
Eric
May 08, 2012 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of noir crime fiction
Shelves: crime, audiobooks
Parker is the definition of anti-hero. It would have been easier to root for Parker if he hadn't planned on double-crossing his double-crosser in the first place. And if he didn't treat his prostitute "friend" so brutally. And if he didn't accidentally kill an innocent person.

But through all that, I still found myself rooting for him, as it becomes clear he does have a code -- he doesn't kill cops, bodyguards, underlings or innocents that find themselves in his way (intentionally) -- and more i...more
Josh
I only read this because all the cool kids are doing the same. Pretty good read. Kinda mindless but that's OK because Parker's a cool character and he kills people and doesn't afraid of anything. Totally perverse entertainment but entertaining all the same. Who cares about morally and emotionally balanced characters anyway?
Doug Haynes
This book, for me, is what defines hard edged gritty fiction.

First in the now epic 'Parker' series started by Donald E. Westlake under the name Richard Stark in the early 60's. While the single minded juggernaut that is Parker may not be the first protagonist with absolutely zero redeeming traits he is definably the longest running. It has always amazed me just how interesting a man with no emotion, morals or regret can be. Parker is the definition of shallow, a one dimensional man with a one t...more
Steve
A great start to a fine crime series. I hesitated over reading this one, since I've seen both the Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson versions. Not to worry, the book is considerably different (though Gibson's version seemed closer to the original story). Stark's (Westlake) Parker is one brutal character, and probably the ultimate anti-hero. And in this, the first novel, he enters the story (and NewYork) like some sort of caveman, wired for survival:

"His hands, swinging curve-fingered at his sides, like t...more
Mike
May 16, 2013 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

Once again, I go backwards into a series…

Well, not precisely, as I started reading about Parker with the second book, The Man With the Getaway Face, thinking that the first volume was made of unobtainium. But, the Inter-Library-Loan system has come through once again!

Since I did not “cheat” and read about Parker outside of the books (and others’ reviews of the books I’ve read) I was unaware of some critical “backstory”.

(view spoiler)...more
Pete
So good it'll make you want to slap the person next to you...then take their money......and shoes.....then slap them again just because. The first book of Stark's(Westlake) featuring the character Parker, a career criminal. I ran through this book over the course of a weekend. It helped that it was only 200 pages but a bigger help was the excellent writing and pacing by Stark. This book was adapted into the movie Payback starring Mel Gibson. I was a fan of the movie long before I knew it was fir...more
Jasmine
Okay, how many books are there in the world that don't have one character that you would ever want anything to do with.

Parker is like Rorschach if Rorschach had no redeeming qualities... other than the ability to kill people with his bare hands. and only killing bystanders by mistake.

In high school a teacher explained to me that the reason boys like indiana jones more than james bond is because bond sleeps with every woman but at the end when women throw themselves at jones he goes to sleep. I...more
Bill  Kerwin

A very cold book about a very hard man. Master thief Parker has been left for dead, betrayed by his partner and his wife, and now he's out for revenge. If you like sociopathic heroes, this is the noir for you, particularly if you also appreciate a spare, efficient prose style.

"The Hunter" has been filmed twice: 1) the stylish, nihilistic cult-classic "Point Blank" with Lee Marvin, and 2)the vicious, misanthropic "Payback" with Mel Gibson. Both are worth watching.
Mark
Jul 11, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of crime noir
Recommended to Mark by: Ed Lynskey
I recently saw Mel Gibsons' Payback and that put me in the mood for some Parker/Richard Stark reading. And as luck would have it I found the first two books of Starks' anti-hero Parker. The book and the movie differ in the aspect that you feel sympathy for Gibsons' Parker (even if the movie character is Porter) and the women in the movie got a better treatment. In Starks' 1st novel they are all "whores" and good for only thing. Mal Resnick has no reserves when it comes to using women, but that w...more
Eric_W
I'm pretty sure I saw this many years ago as a movie and a little research indicated I was right: Point Blank (1967) and Payback with Mel Gibson (1997?). I believe I only saw the Gibson version.

Hard to believe that Richard Stark is a pseudonym for Donald Westlake who writes such humorous novels. The Parker novels are anything but. In this, one of the first Parker stories, he has been left for dead, shot by his wife, saved only by his silver belt buckle (!!!). Parker would not hesitate himself t...more
Ensiform
Parker, a brutish, gorilla of a man and a small-time crook, reluctantly takes on a job with an ex-syndicate man named Mal, who betrays Parker by convincing his wife to shoot him and leave him for dead. A year later, out of prison and penniless, Parker tracks his wife and Mal down, then goes after the syndicate itself to get his share of the money back.

I found this book thoroughly unpleasant, with no sympathetic characters and only laughably stupid straw men for Parker to prove his toughness agai...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Which is the best Parker novel by Richard Stark 24 151 Jul 02, 2014 12:56PM  
Pulp Fiction: January 2014 - The Hunter 39 72 Mar 09, 2014 12:31PM  
Pulp Fiction: Parker 152 149 Jul 25, 2013 06:30PM  
book/graphic novel different endings 3 14 Jul 05, 2013 06:54AM  
Pulp Fiction: New Parker Movie 17 40 Jun 05, 2013 09:18AM  
  • The Wheelman
  • The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1)
  • Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter
  • Miami Blues
  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle
  • The Hot Spot
  • The Bride Wore Black
  • Pop. 1280
  • Nightfall
  • The First Quarry (Hard Case Crime #48)
  • Little Girl Lost (Hard Case Crime #4)
  • Money Shot (Hard Case Crime #40)
  • The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1)
  • The Last Good Kiss
The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2) The Outfit (Parker, #3) The Score (Parker, #5) The Mourner (Parker, #4) Backflash (Parker, #18)

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“I'm going to drink his blood, I'm going to chew up his heart and spit it into the gutter for the dogs to raise a leg at. I'm going to peel the skin off him and rip out his veins and hang him with them.” 8 likes
“The office women looked at him and shivered. They knew he was a bastard, they his big hands were born to slap with, they knew his face would never break into a smile when he looked at a woman. They knew what he was, they thanked God for their husbands, and still they shivered. Because they knew how he would fall on a woman in the night. Like a tree".” 5 likes
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