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Donald Westlake Dies

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message 1: by Kemper (new)

Kemper | 34 comments Sad news this morning. Author Donald Westlake has died at age 75 of a heart attack while vactioning in Mexico.


On an odd note, I'd been looking for the Somebody Owes Me Money novel for a while now. Didn't see it in the book stores and hadn't bothered to order it. I ran into a Border's on New Year's Eve and happened to run across it (along with Killing Castro by Block) and bought it. Weird coincidence.

message 2: by Adam (new)

Adam | 43 comments This is sad, sad news. Westlake was still at the top of his game, churning out several books a year. Crime fiction fans have lost an American treasure. Donald E. Westlake (and Richard Stark) will be sorely missed.

message 3: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments I have been an avid fan of Richard Stark since my teens (I'm 65 now) and I own every book he wrote (except for Dirty Money, his last). No more Parker novels? I'm devastated.

message 4: by Roger (new)

Roger Cottrell (rogercottrell) | 6 comments Agreed,
This is a sad blow to American (and international) crime fiction, to hardboiled fiction and noir, and to all who love to interrogate society through the lens of the anti-hero cast as existential outsider.

message 5: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments There is one and only Richard Stark. To try to recover, here are the only books I know of that can "feed the Parker habit".

Dan Simmons - Hardcase, Hard Freeze, Hard as Nails

Charlie Huston - Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, A Dangerous Man

Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies (these are fantasy but with a Parker-type character

If anyone else has suggestions - PLEASE share them here. I'm desperate.

message 6: by Roger (new)

Roger Cottrell (rogercottrell) | 6 comments Try ANYTHING by Jason Starr, Jake Arnott, David Peace, James Ellroy or Martyn Waits. At the risk of exploiting a tragic situation you could also try looking at some of my stuff as Parker (together with Chester Himes, the black noir writer) is one of my major influences. Try for example HOLLYWOOD BOWL, on http://www.lulu.com/content/3557400 or else REDEMPTION SONGS (featuring the tough black anti-hero cop on the edge, Alan Darcus Kemp) via the www.blindsamurai.com website. But you're still right, Parker's demise is a tragic loss.

message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam | 43 comments In terms of books that can "feed the Parker habit," I honestly don't know of any. I find Stark's books unique.

I read Max Allan Collins's first two books about "Nolan," his version of the Parker character (collected in "Two for the Money," which was published by Hard Case), and I thought they really sucked. Fanboy, comic-book nonsense.

message 8: by Adam (new)

Adam | 43 comments And, Roger, I have to disagree that any of Ellroy's books can fill that gap. Some of his characters may be a little "Parker-esque," but his style of writing is antithetical to what Stark did in his books, since Stark's style was so minimal and Ellroy's writing style is so overblown and--at least in my opinion--pretentious.

message 9: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments Yeah, the Collins books were just awful. Really awful. Eeeek.

I'll check out some of the others but I don't like cops, either to read about or deal with. I like criminals, those who don't suffer from purported kindheartedness. Bad guys.

In the Sci-Fi arena, Altered Carbon's Takeshi Kovachs is another Parker (in the 25th century) character.

message 10: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments The Lulu link to Hollywood Bowl comes up as "item not available".

The link to www.blindsamurai.com has been trying to load for 10 minutes now. Nope - failed to connect.

message 11: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments One of you Goodreads authors needs to fill the Parker space. Maybe you can't be Westlake/Stark but at least try. Please?

message 12: by Roger (new)

Roger Cottrell (rogercottrell) | 6 comments WE WILL - BUT IT MAY TAKE TIME

message 13: by Adam (new)

Adam | 43 comments Jed, I know I shouldn't recommend a book I've never read, but if you like reading about unrepentant bad guys, you should check out Edward Bunker's "Dog Eat Dog." I loved his books "No Beast So Fierce" and "Animal Factory," and "Dog Eat Dog" is next on my list.

There's a quote from James Ellroy on the cover that says "Dog Eat Dog is the best novel about armed robbery ever written! It is pure realism and an uncompromising work of fiction."

message 14: by Roger (new)

Roger Cottrell (rogercottrell) | 6 comments Hi Jed,
Sounds brilliant. I'm presently writing a story about an ex-soldier who gets rekuctantly drawn into a violent bullion robbery so I really must check the Bunkers book out.

message 15: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 26 comments Roger, Get rid of the reluctance and then you'll be on your way toward Parkerism. Goodhearted criminals give me gas.

I own Dog Eat Dog by Bunker and I also recommend Dog Eats Dog by Iain Levison.

Roger wrote: "Hi Jed,
Sounds brilliant. I'm presently writing a story about an ex-soldier who gets rekuctantly drawn into a violent bullion robbery so I really must check the Bunkers book out.

message 16: by Mohammed (last edited Feb 16, 2009 09:48AM) (new)

Mohammed  Burhan Abdi Osman (mohammedaosman) | 142 comments I have read most of the writers mentioned and none of them are Richard Stark like.

Ken Bruen doesnt have Parker like character but his style is similar to Stark in Jack Taylor books. More humor but its hard,lean written too.

I think Richard Stark is so unique that i dont read others to get same thing. I have read only 8 Stark books and few Westlake so i have many books left to luckily.

Jed: I agree fully about Takeshi Kovachs books. He is Parker in the far future. Real hardcore,somewhat sociopatic Kovacs.

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