The Hot Rock comes to comics

Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, was responsible for one of the best books of 2009 in Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Parker: The Hunter. The Hot Rock, first published by Casterman in France in 2008, is the darkly comic flipside to Parker; a story of a bungling con and an increasingly ridiculous jewel heist.

It’s every bit as good as Cooke’s Parker, and may be just that little bit better.

Westlake’s writing in The Hot Rock is as good an example of the black comedy crime caper as you’re likely to find. – and Lacroix/LAX does the perfect job of adapting The Hot Rock to comic form. It’s timing is perfect, whether it’s for the thrills or the comedy. Westlake’s characters are archetypes, stereotypes, but they’re wonderful ones – in Parker we have the driven, relentless, hard-boiled criminal and here in The Hot Rock we meet John Dortmunder; the criminal mastermind – clever, master of the cunning plan, but so terribly unlucky – the comic counterpoint to Parker’s cold intense ruthlessness.

I’m ashamed to admit that I still haven’t read this book. Guess I’d better get on it. (Hey, I saw the movie! Does that count? Anyone? OK, I’ll get on it.)

The Hot Rock was released June 3. Full story here.