Ask the Parrot

Ask the Parrot : A Parker Novel

3.86 (1,083 ratings by Goodreads)
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Together at last. Under the pseudonym Richard Stark, Donald E. Westlake, one of the greats of crime fiction, wrote twenty-four fast-paced, hard-boiled novels featuring Parker, a shrewd career criminal with a talent for heists and a code all his own. With the publication of the last four Parker novels Westlake wrote--Breakout, Nobody Runs Forever, Ask the Parrot, and Dirty Money--the University of Chicago Press pulls the ultimate score: for the first time ever, the entire Parker series will be available from a single publisher. In Ask the Parrot, Parker's back on the run, dodging dogs, cops, and even a helicopter. Forced to work with a small-town recluse and a group of fools at a gun club in rural Massachusetts, Parker focuses on getting the cash and getting out. It'll be a deadly day at the races.

Featuring new forewords by Chris Holm, Duane Swierczynski, and Laura Lippman--celebrated crime writers, all--these masterworks of noir are the capstone to an extraordinary literary run that will leave you craving more. Written over the course of fifty years, the Parker novels are pure artistry, adrenaline, and logic both brutal and brilliant. Join Parker on his jobs and read them all again or for the first time. But don't talk to the law.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 135 x 201 x 18mm | 408g
  • University of Chicago Press
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 022648565X
  • 9780226485652
  • 396,578

Review quote

"Do you like your crime fiction pared to the bone, with never a wasted word? Are you addicted to narratives that move with bullet-speed velocity, in which every action is fraught with reined in menace? Then Stark is undoubtedly your man."--James Wolcott "Daily Express" "Fiercely distracting . . . . Westlake is an expert plotter; and while Parker is a blunt instrument of a human being depicted in rudimentary short grunts of sentences, his take on other characters reveals a writer of great humor and human understanding."--John Hodgman "Parade" "Involving. . . . The closest Parker's come to an act of mercy in his entire bullet-ridden career. As for what happens to the parrot--don't ask. Our beak is sealed."--James Wolcott "New York Times" "Nobody does the noir thriller better than Stark. His lean style and hard-edged characters . . . provide a welcome return to the hard-bitten days of yore."--Ian Sansom "San Diego Union-Tribune" "One of the darkest and best-loved names in all of noir. . . . Parker is truly frightening because he is so horribly familiar: callous, unable to feel guilt for his actions, completely lacking in empathy, and incapable of learning from his own bitter experience, he is a kind of degenerate Everyman, the pulp-fiction counterpart of Philip Roth's morally crippled and contaminated heroes. . . . The plot is classic Westlake deadpan rhapsody, a vision of endless roads and featureless towns, landscapes and people unravelling. . . . My guess is that Westlake won't be remembered for his good humour--who is? He may not be remembered as Donald Westlake at all. My guess is he'll be remembered for the deep blankness of Richard Stark."--Ian Sansom "Guardian" "Parker is one sniff ahead of the bloodhounds. . . . Stark, Westlake's more menacing alter ego, flaunts his usual wizardry as unobtrusively as if he were ordering from a fast-food menu. The plot is minimalist, the technique superb."--James Wolcott "Kirkus Reviews" "Stark will paste grins on the faces of readers who dared give the hardcase heist man up for caught."--James Wolcott "Booklist" "Why do readers love this heartless bad guy? Because he's so damn good at what he does."--James Wolcott "Publishers Weekly" Classic Stark, the grandmaster of crime fiction. . . . As lean, hungry, and tightly plotted as ever. . . . Superior entertainment."--James Wolcott "Daily Mirror" "Read Ask the Parrot and find out why Stark is the kind of writer who, whatever else you're reading, you stop dead and read his latest."--James Wolcott "Independent on Sunday" "Like a great white shark that leaves a trail of blood which excites smaller sharks, Parker inspires criminal behavior in the average citizens around him. . . . Parrot is well up to the usual Stark standard. Unusually for the series, it's often funny, laced with Stark's brutally morbid humor rather than Westlake's wry ironies. And as always, Westlake is a master of lean, hardboiled prose and fast-moving, tense scenes that drip with potential violence before, inevitably, exploding into actual violence."--Ian Sansom "AV Club"
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About Richard Stark

Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008), a prolific author of crime fiction. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society's highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master. For a Parker character guide and infographics, visit Fifty Years of Parker, http: //
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Rating details

1,083 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 24% (259)
4 45% (483)
3 26% (282)
2 5% (51)
1 1% (8)
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