F.R.'s Reviews > The Man With The Getaway Face

The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark
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's review
Nov 02, 2008

liked it

So this is a Goodreads re-read, as opposed to ‘The Hunter’ which I last read when I was still young and innocent of book-review related social-networks. But glancing back over my thoughts from the halcyon, long ago days of 2008, I find that I basically still agree with what I said. ‘The Man with the Getaway Face’ is a fantastic title, but merely a good book and a distinct drop off in quality from its predecessor. But reading it again with a greater appreciation of its place in the cycle, one can’t help but be fascinated as to how this embryonic series is developing.

Most of the Parker novels focus on Parker working a heist and using his no-nonsense, no-compromise skillset to get over and fight back against any hitches which arise. That is exactly what we have here, and so since ‘The Hunter’ isn’t that plot at all, this is the first time the soon to be trademarked formula of a Parker story is actually used. Except the hitches we have here are so ridiculously easy for Parker to manage. He sees what they are and works out his way around them almost instantaneously. As such the first time out, Westlake/Stark manages to write this plot without tension or jeopardy. Instead the jeopardy and tension comes from the sub-plot, which is the part connected to the last book and feeding into the next. But since that doesn’t really kick off until the last fifth of ‘The Man with the Getaway Face’, we’re left with a perfectly functional – but not as engaging as it should be – thriller.

Still it’s always fun to read about Parker doing what Parker does, and he really is at his efficient best here. Those entering the series may be tempted to skip straight from ‘The Hunter’ to ‘The Outfit’ as those are the two giants of the early Parker books, but that would be a mistake as there is a lot here to admire, even though the most ardent Richard Stark fan might find this a difficult novel to actually love.

Review from November 2008
I really like the Parker books, they have a brutal amorality that you don't often read. And even though Parker himself is not a character you can warm to, I do find myself warming to him.

This is actually the second book, after 'The Hunter' (or 'Point Blank') and picks up where that book left off, with Parker having beaten the syndicate and getting a new face. From there it's the usual tale of a violent robbery, a double cross and Parker picking up the pieces as everything goes wrong.

Although enjoyable this is far from my favourite Parker novel. It precedes - and leads directly to - 'The Outfit', which has Parker up against the syndicate again, and this book feels like a shaggy dog story between two more substantial and entertaining stories.

It's not a bad book by any means, but - and I'm judging by very high standards here - there are better Parker novels out there.
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Reading Progress

10/22/2015 marked as: currently-reading
10/24/2015 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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James Thane There probably are better Parker books in the series, but I agree that this is one of the best titles in the series.

F.R. I think it walks that strange fine line between being brilliant and terrible. I'm sure that the first time I saw it I thought it was far too pulpy and over the top, but in moments I'd changed my mind and fallen in love with it.

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