The University of Chicago Press has just published, of all things, a movie tie-in book: Parker ($12), originally titled Flashfire. It's a reissue of the classic crime novel by Richard Stark (one of many pseudonyms used by Donald Westlake) and coincides with the new film Parker, starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, and the 50th anniversary of the first Parker novel, The Hunter.
The Press's website for the Parker series of 24 novels, www.parkerseries.com, offers Parker's 14 Rules for pulling off a heist; the last one is "For a big enough score, any rule can be broken." There's also a guide to the 499 (!) characters Parker encounters, an infographic detailing Parker's take in each book and the corresponding body count (anywhere from three to 41+).
In Westlake's writings as Richard Stark--some would argue his best creations--one can see the prelude to Lee Child's attention to detail ("an empty glass one-point-seven-five-liter jug of Jim Beam bourbon"), and Robert B. Parker's shorthand cadence:
"If we were hijackers, we'd kill you now."
The only thing to do, Parker thought, and waited.
Carlson said, "But that isn't our style."
Then you're dead, Parker thought, and waited.
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