Tim Niland's Reviews > Comeback

Comeback by Richard Stark
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May 17, 11

bookshelves: 2011-reads

In 1974 after the epic Butcher's Moon, Richard Stark's great anti-hero Parker went quiet. Twenty-three years later, Stark (aka crime writing legend Donald Westlake) revived the character with one of the best entries in the entire series. Parker and his fellow criminals have a line on an all-cash traveling religious crusade. They find an inside man who is sick of the hypocrisy of the pseudo preacher and wants to get even. With the inside man growing increasingly nervous, Parker knocks him out, and they make it away with $400,000 in cash. Then one of the crooks pulls a double cross and the whole plan goes to hell. With the criminal string split up and Parker chasing the cash, things get really interesting. The narrative leads to an all-or-nothing showdown in an abandoned hotel between Parker and his former colleague turned nemesis that is one Stark's finest set pieces. Twenty-three years must have been tough for hard-core Parker fans in the 70's and 80's but when Parker came back it was with a vengeance. Stark keeps the prose lean and mean, and this book is basically a template for noir writing. It's a classic and not to be missed on any account by crime fiction fans.
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