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The Hunter (Parker Series #1)
     

The Hunter (Parker Series #1)

4.1 31
by Richard Stark
 

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You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling

Overview

You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.

They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.

Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir.  Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.

In The Hunter, the first volume in the series, Parker roars into New York City, seeking revenge on the woman who betrayed him and on the man who took his money, stealing and scamming his way to redemption.
 
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World
 
“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
 

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call romans noirs.”—Anthony Boucher, New York Times Book Review



— Anthony Boucher

Los Angeles Times
“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly



— Stephen King

New York Times

“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”—William Grimes, New York Times

— William Grimes

Bookforum

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are
— John Banville

Washington Post Book World
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”
Christian Science Monitor
“If you’re looking for crime novels with a lot of punch, try the very, very tough novels featuring Parker. . . . The Hunter, The Outfit, The Mourner, and The Man with the Getaway Face are all beautifully paced, tautly composed, and originally published in the early 1960s."

New York Review of Books

"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."—Luc Sante, New York Review of Books

— Luc Sante

Commentary

"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."

— Terry Teachout

Virginia Quarterly Review

"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Ricahrd Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."

— John McNally

Vue Weekly

"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."

— Josef Braun

Los Angeles Times - Richard Rayner
“Writing a couple of years ago . . . John Banville reckoned the Parker novels to be 'among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, any time.' That's high praise from an impeccable source, and Banville is right to single out the technical excellence of these books. The Parkers read with the speed of pulp while unfolding with an almost Nabokovian wit and flair. . . . Original editions of these books, and even later reprints, change hands for scores or hundreds of dollars on the Net, and it’s excellent to have them readily available again—not so much masterpieces of the genre, just masterpieces, period. . . . . The Hunter glitters with seemingly effortless intricacy, being aimed at one episode—a stunner, the kind of moment in fiction that really does have you leaping from your chair and exclaiming in surprise and glee.”

Entertainment Weekly - Stephen King
“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”

New York Times - William Grimes
“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”

Elmore Leonard
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”
Bookforum - John Banville
“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
Lawrence Block
“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”
New York Times Book Review - Anthony Boucher
“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call romans noirs.”
New York Review of Books - Luc Sante
"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
Commentary - Terry Teachout
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."
Virginia Quarterly Review - John McNally
"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."
Vue Weekly - Josef Braun
"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."
Globe and Mail - H. J. Kirchoff
“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”
Library Journal

“Parker represents the antihero with dubious morals. Stark’s clever plot structure, moving back and forth in time, is totally engrossing.”--Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226770994
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
08/28/2008
Series:
Parker Series , #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
151,768
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008), a prolific author of noir crime fiction. In 1993 the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society’s highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master.

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The Hunter (Parker Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
$9.52 for Nook edition. $3.99 for Kindle edition. What gives?
LaurenBDavis More than 1 year ago
Although there is considerable charm to this noirest of noir crime books, and the furious pace and stylistic dialogue notwithstanding, the problem I have with it is that the protagonist is written as a psychopath. I quite like anti-heroes, and have a soft spot for hard men (you'll pardon the pun), but I like my anti-heroes with a modicum of morality, a soupcon of sentiment, a hint of humor and heart. Parker's indifference to the women in the book is unsettling, to say the least, including the woman he "accidentally" kills. Vengeance is all well and good, I suppose, and retribution has its place, but not to be even slightly ambivalent about the suicide of his wife (even if she did shoot him and leave him for dead) leaves this reader with no choice but to conclude he has no emotions whatsoever, and such a soul-dead protagonist is of limited interest. Anti-heros are at their best when they are complicated, conflicted and are capable of deep feeling. A quick afternoon read. No more.
McCarthy92 More than 1 year ago
Parker is a lot like actors such as Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, etc. The only difference is that all of these actors look like pussycats next to Parker. Parker is mean, violent, has few redeeming qualities morally, and he's one of the greatest characters in all of fiction. The Hunter, by Richard Parker (alias for Donald Westlake) is the novel to introduce Parker, a professional thief. As far as plot goes, all you must know is that Parker is out on revenge. Just follow along and enjoy the ride. This has turned out to be one of my favorite novels ever. Stark is an amazing writer, great prose, dialogue, and generally, he's just an amazing story-teller. There are 24 books in the Parker series and I cannot wait to read all of them.
Another_Old_Guy More than 1 year ago
Donald Westlake writing under one of his many names starts his 'Parker' series with Hunter. Parker is a nasty piece of work, living in a world of working acquaintances and no friends or emotion. The work is high level theft. Bank jobs, armored cars....big hits for big returns. There is nothing to like about these characters, but you do; and even though they are pocket or old style dime store novels, you enjoy them. The humor that Westlake puts in his Dortmunder stories is missing in the Parker books and the hard edge is immediately evident. This novel comes out the gate well for a new character series and leave you looking for more. I'm not sure any of the movie adaptations capture the feel of the books, so don't pass up the read because you liked or didn't like the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can anyone list the 24 Parker books in order for me please?
Bob-from-Irvine More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, my first Parker read. What a great character Parker is, totally tough, pretty smart and mostly amoral. A solo criminal sets out to settle scores and does so, just like that. No hand wringing, no tears, not a surplus word. If Elmore Leonard's heroes were bad guys instead of good guys, it would have been something like this. I can't wait to read the next in the series.
Janus More than 1 year ago
With two movie adaptations, a person would think I'd have heard of the Parker series sooner. I'm ashamed to say I had not. This is vintage crime writing at its best: from the criminal's p.o.v. Parker is not a nice man. He's not even a remotely decent human being and yet somehow we still end up cheering for him. If you're a fan of raw-knuckled, woman slapping (but not in the domestic abuse way, I just wanted to clarify), cop kicking old fashioned crime fiction, then pick up a Parker novel.
emeka More than 1 year ago
Originally published many years ago the first of the parker series is a brilliant introduction to the amoral and violent world of a profesional criminal.Donald westlake writing as starck is a revelation and an original
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A Must Read
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