Kemper's Reviews > The Hunter

The Hunter by Richard Stark
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Sep 05, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: crime-mystery, thieves, bad-guys-rule, favorites, parker

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 betrayed, robbed and left for dead by one of his partners, Mal Resnick, who turned Parker’s wife against him. Mal used the money he took from Parker to pay off a debt he owed to the Outfit, and now he’s got good connections to the mob in New York. Parker doesn’t care who got the money or who Mal knows, he just wants to satisfy his grudges.

It’d been a while since I’d read any of the early Parker novels, and I was a little worried about how they’d hold up. Thankfully, they‘ve aged with style. With Parker, we’d get the prototype to the anti-hero professional thief, and there are countless fictional characters that owe a debt to him.

Since this initial book has Parker seeking revenge for a very personal double-cross, he’s more angry than he’d be for most of the series, but he’d always have that blunt and no-nonsense nature. On some levels, Parker seems completely amoral, but he’s a ruthless pragmatist, not a psychopath. He doesn't hurt anyone unless it's necessary, but if he needs to kill someone to get away with the loot, he doesn't hesitate for a second.

I read somewhere once that when asked why he used the Richard Stark pen name for these novels, that Westlake replied that he wrote his funny comic capers as himself on sunny days but that on rainy days he wrote as Stark. Fortunately for crime fans, Westlake must have had a lot of rainy days.

And a big Thank You to the University of Chicago press for reprinting the hard-to-find early Parker books in these gorgeous trade paperbacks.
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Nathan I just came from the bookstore with my crisp new copy based on your review so the pressure is on you. Feel the weight of it.


message 2: by Kemper (last edited Sep 10, 2010 06:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kemper Nathan wrote: "I just came from the bookstore with my crisp new copy based on your review so the pressure is on you. Feel the weight of it."

I can't take the pressure!


message 3: by Mariel (new)

Mariel Great use of "when"!


Kemper Mariel wrote: "Great use of "when"!"

You noticed!


message 5: by Mariel (new)

Mariel I noticed when you said no one noticed. I haven't read any Parker yet except for some of the graphic novel I sneaked peeks at in-store. Otherwise I'd have caught on for sure.


Kemper Mariel wrote: Otherwise I'd have caught on for sure."

I know you would have. I gotta check out those graphic novels at some point.


message 7: by Mariel (new)

Mariel It looked good. That's not true of many tie-in graphic novels I've seen.


Mohammed Mariel wrote: "It looked good. That's not true of many tie-in graphic novels I've seen."

Darwyn Cooke is a hardcore fan of Westlake/Parker. I read an interview with him another comics creator Ed Brubaker who was talking about how they liked Parker when they first read him. Way before the GNs was created.

Only minus with Darwyn Cooke is that he thinks Point Blank is a good adapatation simply because of Lee Marvin.


Trudi Kemper wrote: "Westlake replied that he wrote his funny comic capers as himself on sunny days but that on rainy days he wrote as Stark."

King has said the same thing about his Bachman books, and in fact quotes Westlake on Stark in his essay "Why I was Bachman". And since I just read your review for
The Dark Half, I know you get the George Stark - Richard Bachman - Richard Stark connection. And I love that it was actually King who brought you to the Parker books. I really need to get to these myself.


Kemper Trudi wrote: "Kemper wrote: "Westlake replied that he wrote his funny comic capers as himself on sunny days but that on rainy days he wrote as Stark."

King has said the same thing about his Bachman books, and i..."


That's probably where I was remembering that quote from.


Krycek I just saw an ad for a film called Parker with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez that I understand is based on this book. On the plus side, it'll probably make this book more available, but I'll be interested on hearing your take on this if you see it. I don't have a whole lot of confidence in Hollywood as a rule.


message 12: by Kemper (last edited Jan 07, 2013 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kemper Krycek wrote: "I just saw an ad for a film called Parker with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez that I understand is based on this book. On the plus side, it'll probably make this book more available, but I'll be..."

The Parker movie is actually based on Flashfire. However, based on what I've seen from the trailers, it appears to be just another Statham action movie that has little to do with the Parker books. I won't be seeing it. Thanks to the new trade paperback reprints over the last few years, the Parker catalog that was once hard to find is now pretty easy to buy.

The Hunter has been turned into a movie twice. Once as Point Blank with Lee Marvin and once as Payback with Mel Gibson. There's been some other adaptations of other books, too. There's a website called The Violent World of Parker that has a ton of info about the books and movies:

http://violentworldofparker.com/


Krycek Thanks for the link!


Ɗắɳ  2.☠ I thought that synopsis sounded a whole lot like the underrated Payback movie. "We were going for breakfast... in Canada. We made a deal. If she'd stop hooking, I'd stop shooting people. Maybe we were both aiming high." Roll credits.

If the book's better than this movie I may have to add another series to the queue!


Kemper Dan wrote: "I thought that synopsis sounded a whole lot like the underrated Payback movie..."

The book and the series is much better than the movie. Legend has it that the writer/director wanted to stick to the tone of the book, but the studio thought it was too dark and wanted some more light hearted wacky hijinks with lovable Mel Gibson inserted. There's a director's cut I haven't seen that is supposed to be much closer to the book version.

This is also the basis for Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and there have been other Parker adaptations along the way, usually bad. See http://violentworldofparker.com/ for all the Parker info you could ever want.

Also, Darwyn Cooke's comic adaptations of the series starting with Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter are excellent, too.


Ɗắɳ  2.☠ Thanks for the info. I guess I'll add it to the list. Although, it'll probably have to move behind The Dark Tower (need to see what all the fuss was over). Hilarious rant btw. And I may need to check back in on Scudder. Not quite sure where Larry's lesbian erotica fits into the picture! https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...


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