Ask the Parrot, by Richard Stark

The umpteenth Parker novel - this one opens with him on the run after a bungled bank robbery; he bumps into a guy who's been planning a crime of his own, who rather than handing Parker in to the cops, asks for his help.

This one's quite recent - 2006 - but still good. Parker is as coldly efficient as ever: you really feel like he'd be good to have in a crisis (so long as you weren't in his way). Quite a lot of plot is crammed into what must only be about 48 hours of time, but it all zings along pretty well.

The writing is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, but not quite as taut, or funny. Not that it's bad, just not quite as good. Parker is a great character, but he's the same character in each book. The supporting cast are a little bit cardboard cut-out compared to the individuals that Leonard seems to be able to conjure up, and then discard, in each novel he writes. And the fact that you know Parker is going to come back takes some of the tension away: there's no chance of his being killed by the police.

A fun read though. I need to check out some of Stark's other writing - he's done a fair amount of stuff which isn't part of the Parker franchise.

Completed : 10-Jan-2010

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