Kate Derie (cluelass@cluelass.com)
Tue, 02 Nov 1999 11:37:34 -0800

This is the first time I've been able to read one of the "readings" -- my husband has every book written under the Stark name. I am reading a 35-cent Pocket Book edition -- I hope it's not a priceless collector's item.

I am finding the book stark indeed. I am fascinated by Parker's world view -- that if he needs something that he can take, he simply takes it, but he still needs to have money to buy certain things he can't take -- so he takes the money. There seems to be no questioning of whether another line of work might be equally lucrative but less stressful -- stealing is his vocation. And he apparently files tax returns, as he mentions having some property that he uses to conceal his ill-gotten gains, but why? Why not evade taxes too? I guess because that's not part of his job description, as he sees it.

On the other hand, why not run his businesses legitimately and live on the income from them? Again, because of how he sees his vocation -- he's not a capitalist, he's a criminal. There is a definite undercurrent of ideology here -- the plastic surgeon who couldn't make a legitimate living because of his Commy connections, and Stubbs, who was beaten into submission by strike-breakers. It seems like Westlake is almost telling us that Parker does what he does as part of the class struggle.

I'm only halfway through and I look forward to seeing where it goes -- it's like being in a fog because I can't tell what the book is "about" -- a not-so-simple caper, or betrayal, or revenge. Maybe that is part of the definition of hardboiled -- not fitting into a prefab format.

PS If anyone is interested in pre-publication discount on the Deadly Directory 2000 (over 750 listings of mystery-related businesses & organizations), email me and I will give you the details.

Regards, Kate Derie Creator of the ClueLass HomePage, http://www.cluelass.com Editor of the Deadly Directory, http://www.deadlyserious.com

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