Kemper's Reviews > Comeback

Comeback by Richard Stark
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Jul 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-mystery, bad-guys-rule, thieves, 2013-reread, parker
Read in January, 2013

When Richard Stark (a/k/a Donald Westlake) wrote a new Parker novel for the first time in over twenty years, he also resumed using the gimmick of starting each novel with the word ‘When’ again. So I guess I gotta follow suit in my reviews of them.

Parker doesn’t seem to have aged a bit when he hooks up with a couple of other heisters to steal the cash collected by a big time evangelist at one of his stadium appearances. Despite their inside man being shaky the job goes off without a hitch and they’ve got an ingenious hiding place to lay low until the heat dies down. Of course it’s never that easy for Parker, and he ends up trying to keep various people from swiping the loot while eluding the police.

This edition has a really interesting introduction from Lawrence Block who reveals that Westlake never intended to stop writing Parker novels after Butcher’s Moon, but for some reason all of his attempts to start a new one withered and died until this one finally clicked.

I don’t think any of the ones written after the long lay off are quite up to the standards of the best of the earlier Parker novels. Rereading this now after going through all the others and after checking out some of Darwyn Cook’s excellent graphic novel adaptations with their retro vibe, I think that Parker worked better in that 1960-70s time frame. There was always something that seemed a bit off about Parker in more modern times. He should be working for and against sly hustlers of that era, not having to contend with punks whose idea of a big time crime is stealing tapes from video stores.

However, these are relatively minor gripes. Westlake was far too good to let this series be anything but entertaining, and a Parker novel is still a Parker novel even if he seems a bit out of his natural environment here.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Mohammed Just read your review and i agree i wish the books that was written in 1990s-2000s was still set in 1960-1970s. This books lack of time period and the usual feel of the 70s mob,criminals felt somewhat off. Those days leaner,darker streets lack of high technology fit Parker better.


Kemper Mohammed wrote: "Just read your review and i agree i wish the books that was written in 1990s-2000s was still set in 1960-1970s. This books lack of time period and the usual feel of the 70s mob,criminals felt somew..."

That really hit home to me when I was checking out the graphic novels that Darwyn Cook did based on these with their great retro style. It seemed like Parker's natural environment.


Mohammed Kemper wrote: "Mohammed wrote: "Just read your review and i agree i wish the books that was written in 1990s-2000s was still set in 1960-1970s. This books lack of time period and the usual feel of the 70s mob,cri..."

The retro style was what i say in my mind so clear when i first read the first 16 books. Those time,setting was so natural for Parker. Darwyn Cook just added cooler colour, art to what i always saw thanks to the prose. I hope the last 6-7 books are not as off setting wise,crooks wise.


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