A blog dedicated to reviewing crime novels published by independent presses everywhere.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
With the realization that the next set of Stark reprints are imminent, I figure I'd better say something about the latest batch if I'm going to say anything, and I am, so here it goes.
Earlier, I touched on what it is about Parker that makes him such an enduring character. I concluded that a large part of his appeal was due to his persistence and determination. Parker soldiers on relentlessly know matter what sort of setbacks he runs into. Now, it would be possible to base an entire series on an underworld ubermensch who is constantly overcoming working to overcome the treachery and incompetence of others, but Westlake is more skillful than that. Parker isn't a superthief. He's just a thief, and he sometimes, despite his best efforts, makes mistakes.
The Jugger, which is certaintly the strongest of the reprints yet, is the story of a mistake. When Parker receives correspondence from an acquaintence that makes him wonder if his cover is about to be blown, Parker decided to take action. When Parker arrives in town, he finds his acquaintance dead under suspicious circumstances, so he feels obligated to investigate to make sure his identity is protected. Little does he know that every action he takes is actually bringing him closer to being exposed to the authorities.
The Jugger, like The Hunter, shows Parker as a man of stone with feet of clay, and it is that added depth which, along with Westlake's remarkable prose and storytelling ability, that allow the character and the series to endure. Parker is at the mercy of a set of rules that make it impossible for him to to trust anyone, and yet he must trust them, and this tension results in much flailing about in an information vacuum where bad intentions must be assumed by everyone. In a situation like that, everyone is going to make mistakes. It's a long way from Raffles, Gentleman Thief, that's for sure.
Welcome to the Indie Crime Blog. As the name implies, this blog is dedicated to reviews of crime fiction published by independent presses. There are many books published every year that seem to be ignored for a variety of reasons. The books sections of newspapers are getting smaller. Bookstores give more shelf space to more established authors. I could go on, but you get it.My intent is to review books both old and new in the hopes that some deserving writers and worthy publishers will gain some exposure. I can be emailed at IndieCrime-at-gmail-dot-com