Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Parker

All right, for the last few years I've heard of the Parker series by Richard Stark, but other than the fact that it has tonnes of fans and was written by Donald E. Westlake under the Stark alias from 1962 to 2008, I didn't really know what to expect.

Oh yeah, and I'd seen two film adaptations of the first book, The Hunter, first a Lee Marvin movie called Point Blank and secondly a Mel Gibson movie called Payback (Although the character is called Porter in that one).

So yesterday I started reading The Hunter for one of my book clubs and you know what? This stuff is really great. The novel itself is a kind of bare-bones revenge story set in the criminal underworld. Parker is a man who was wronged and is trying to set things right.

Quick note - Parker definitely falls into the category of genre characters I was intrigued by, but would in no way want to meet in real life - life Jim Profit or Bertie Wooster (Although Profit, Parker and Wooster would make a terrifying team of crazies, so there you go.)

The character is brutal, violent and driven, but the story was so engrossing I couldn't put it down.

The series of books featuring him runs to almost thirty titles, but I'm thinking I just might give them a shot - this was some seriously great crime fiction.

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