RARA-AVIS: Man With Getaway Face

a.n.smith (ansmith@netdoor.com)
Mon, 1 Nov 1999 07:51:53 -0600

I'm really excited to start talking about the Parker book, because I discovered the series late--when Comeback was published--and caught up quickly. This is great work: the writing, the plotting, the characters. I call them the minimalist crime novels, because Stark doesn't waste one word--straight ahead, nouns and verbs, and if you want feelings, you have to put them in there yourself. Some of the sharpest crime writing ever.

In this particular book, I think we can see that this wasn't a
"by-the-numbers" formula ride. I mean, what do you do with a guy that might cause trouble for you? Lock him in a barn, and then spend some time taking care of the guy. Excellent. Stark is letting things happen as he writes instead of imposing plot on the characters. And as always, the relationships are murky--trust no one--yet deep in the sense that there must be unspoken communication, guys not trusting each other yet having to for the job, even if they're friends (Despite the protests, I believe these guys have a concept of friendship towards each other, regardless of how twisted it may be).

And then Stark does Tarantino thirty years before QT does--the time flip. And it works in an interesting way here, since the reader already feels a little something for the guy in the barn. You get interested in his story, distracting from where you left Parker. Until...

A remarkable series. Genius writer.

(i know, I know: rs=dw)

Neil Smith

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