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.
"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 "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."
--Marilyn Stasio "Los Angeles Times"
"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 "Commentary"
"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."
--John McNally "Virginia Quarterly Review"
"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"
"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 Times Book Review"
"Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark."
--Marilyn Stasio "New York Times"
"Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag."
--Stephen King "Entertainment Weekly"
"Richard Stark's Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time."
--John Banville "Bookforum"
"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 "Vue Weekly"
"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."
--H. J. Kirchoff "Globe and Mail"
"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."
--Marilyn Stasio "Washington Post"
"Whatever Stark writes, I read. He's a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude."
--Elmore Leonard "New York Times"
"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."
--Terry Teachout "Weekly Standard"