Sunday, June 12, 2011

Richard Stark and Parker

I said this blog was dedicated to all the things that inspired Huey Dusk and my writing, so I can't think of better person and series of books to talk about than Richard Stark's Parker series.

The character Parker is an amoral Heist Man and every novel is about a big robbery that he and his crew pull off. Some are more successful than others. Even though there is nothing on the surface that is special about the heist, I find the planning stage very interesting, in that there are so many details to attend to and Parker is always having to aquire heavy equipment such as trucks etc. Also, he is always needing to purchase this equipment from alot of shady people and he is always worrying about making it less conspicious with the police. I also like the fact he is working with people that he can never completly trust. Every once in awhile one tries to double cross him. In fact the first The Hunter book is all about his going after the guy who crossed him on a job. In another book he tries to take down the Outfit. The books are never to violent but when there is killing the characters do not mess around. They are quick and brutal about it. especially Parker, he is amoral and if you get in his way he has no choice but to cool you. Despite this fact you somehow like him and are rooting for him to succeed, and the reason is because all of the characters surrounding him are worse-- and that is part of Richard Stark's magic.

Stark writes lean muscular prose and paints a brutal world. His landscapes are bleak and the people in habitting them are rough and emotionally weather beaten. Most of them will stab you in the back when it is turned. In order to survive in this kind world you need a man like Parker. This makes him sympathetic and someone to root for. As for me, Parker and Richard Stark have played a big part in influencing my own writing.

I thought of him along with Mike Hammer when I came up with my legendary clown character Huey Dusk. Also, in one Huey Dusk related story I almost modeled the main character directly after Parker. This series is one of the finest examples of crime fiction and Stark has influenced many author's and directors; two famous people of note ar Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarratino. For example, read some Parker novels then watch Reservior Dogs and then tell me there is not an influence. Another good example, though not Tarrantino would be Michael Mann's movie Heat. The opening was very similar to the book the Plunder Squad. You will find Stark's influence all over the literary and film world where crime fiction exists. I urge you all to read this wonderful series which can be bought at most bookstores. Right now they are re releasing the series in some very nice looking trade paperbacks

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