I wrote some book reviews for the Independent Weekly’s Christmas issue. You can read all of them here: http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A272679
Here’s one of my reviews:
The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face and The Outfit
By Richard Stark
University of Chicago Press
Few writers have pulled off the Jekyll-and-Hyde act that Donald Westlake has with his pseudonym, Richard Stark. Westlake is best known for comic, twisty thrillers, while Stark is the hardest of the hard-boiled, crafting crime novels so cold-blooded it’s almost impossible to believe they’re written by the same person. Stark’s work has fallen in and out of print over the decades and is highly coveted by collectors. Thankfully, the University of Chicago Press is now rereleasing his “Parker” series three at a time, beginning with The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face and The Outfit.
Parker is Stark’s favorite protagonist, a professional thief for whom crime is a job, and a job to be done well. We never learn his first name, nor have any access to his thoughts; we simply observe him as he goes about his dirty work. The Hunter, which was memorably filmed in 1967 by John Boorman as the Lee Marvin vehicle Point Blank and as 1999’s Payback with Mel Gibson (check out the recent DVD that hews closer to the novel), is a simple tale of vengeance, as Parker seemingly rises from the dead after a post-job betrayal. The first three novels tell a loose trilogy as Parker takes on the criminal organization known as “The Outfit,” and there are more novels to come, including a graphic novel adaptation next year from award-winning comic artist Darwyn Cooke. Welcome back, Parker. The literary world’s a brighter place with your stories. —Zack Smith