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November « 2010 « The Violent World of Parker

Guest slot: Richard Stark, Harry Bennett, Parker book covers, and The Seventh

Today’s guest piece is by Nick Jones, AKA Louis XIV, who blogs about books (and sometimes comics) at Existential Ennui. You may be (should be!) familiar with him, because I’ve frequently linked both his book reviews and the great covers he digs up as he obsessively collects Stark and Westlake titles. In fact, I’ve […]

Review: The Pusher by Ed McBain

The Pusher by Ed McBain

A patrolman stumbles across the body of a young Puerto Rican immigrant in the basement of a filthy tenement building. It’s set up to look like a suicide, but the scene is so poorly staged that it appears the killer wants it to be known that this was murder. Why?

After two good […]

News for week ending 2010-11-27

Dave at the Donald E. Westlake Fan Blog reviews Pity Him Afterward: http://dortmunderetal.blogspot.com/2010/11/pity-him-afterwards.html # Morgado at Absurd Noize has a look at The Hot Rock, including some interesting book covers: http://bit.ly/bMnaai #

Review: The Mugger by Ed McBain

The Mugger by Ed McBain

The Mugger, the second of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, begins directly after the events of Cop Hater (although it’s in no way necessary to read Cop Hater first). Detective Steve Carella is away on his honeymoon, so McBain takes the opportunity to give us some quality time with some of the precinct’s other employees, notably rookie cop Bert Kling, who gets talked into an unauthorized murder investigation, and compact judo expert Hal Willis, who’s on the trail of the title villain, sometimes with Detective Eileen Burke (making her series debut).

No sophomore slump here, as The Mugger is in nearly every way an improvement on its predecessor. The mystery is better, and the characters are developing quite nicely. It’s also a bit darker, featuring a murdered teenager and vicious police brutality (which seems shockingly cavalierly treated).

[Minor spoiler below the fold]

Continue reading Review: The Mugger by Ed McBain

Guest slot: Walkerp reviews The Seventh

University of Chicago Press (2009)

I’m pleased to present the first of what will be an occasional but I hope long-running series of pieces by others. This detailed and thoughtful look at The Seventh is by regular commenter Walkerp, who blogs about books at Olman’s Fifty and about life at Briques du Neige under his nom de blog Olman Feelyus. It originally appeared at Olman’s Fifty.


Holy crap, that heist went really sour!

We’re developing a little tradition here where my wife buys me some of the new University of Chicago Parker books each year on my birthday in January and I read them slowly throughout the year. I’d already read the entire series at least twice before the U of C books were released, but this is a dedicated, focused reading in the wake of Westlake’s death and with the full consciousness that the Parker series is a literary classic. It’s been great. I don’t know if I’ve changed but the re-reading of each novel this time around has come as a real surprise to me. Things I’d forgotten are exciting to rediscover and things I had never noticed before are popping up now. I’m getting both the pleasure of rereading a great book and the pleasure of discovering something new.


Continue reading Guest slot: Walkerp reviews The Seventh

Coming soon: guest contributors!

Robert Hale (UK) (2001)


Since inception, I’ve done all of the writing for this site, except for the occasional e-mail or message board exchange reprinted with permission.

But once in awhile, I come across a piece on Parker, Donald Westlake, or crime fiction that is particularly excellent, interesting, or informative, and I think, “Man, I wish […]

Review: Cop Hater by Ed McBain

Cop Hater by Ed McBain

The city in these pages is imaginary. The people, the places are all fictitious. Only the police routine is based on established investigatory technique.

Thus begins each entry in Ed McBain’s massively successful and influential 87th Precinct series. And while I felt it should be noted when looking at the first book in […]

News for week ending 2010-11-20

Another great cover at Existential Ennui, this time for the UK first printing of The Fugitive Pigeon: http://bit.ly/b4LHGs # This site pimping online degrees has an interesting best-of-noir list. (Believe it or not, this isn’t spam!): http://bit.ly/9chOPX # The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge: http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=24387 # A quick review of The Rare Coin Score […]

The Outfit finally available on DVD!


Watch out for The Outfit!

Yes, folks, after all these years, The Outfit is finally available on DVD! And it comes (as I suggested in my soon-to-be-modified review of the film) as a manufacture-on-demand disc.

Not a lot of detail at the Warner Archives catalog listing, but it does claim the film is […]

Baby’s first podcast: Donald Westlake’s Memory

Well, somehow I got suckered into contributing to a podcast!

Jesse Willis of SFFaudio invited me to join him and Gregg Margarite for a freewheeling discussion of Donald Westlake’s posthumously-published Memory for the SFFaudio podcast. I got over my terror pretty quickly and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Check […]