The e-Book Score: Free Richard Stark and Donald Westlake

There’s a novelty song by a local artist that got some airplay in Austin a decade or so ago. I don’t remember the artist and minor Googling based on likely-misremembered lyrics didn’t turn it up, but the closing lines were something like:

I think there’s one thing on which we can all agree,

The best beer is the one that’s free.

I would certainly agree with that sentiment. However, the best book is definitely not always the one that’s free.

The good news is, we’re pretty close here. One terrific book and one I haven’t read yet but that has an excellent reputation are available for free, just in time for your long-weekend holiday reading, for those of you who have e-readers or don’t mind reading on your computer monitor.

First up is Richard Stark’s The Score, fifth in the Parker series. I don’t need to tell regulars what a blast this book is, but for those of you dropping by because you were made curious by Darwyn Cooke’s Parker comic book adaptations, the news of the upcoming Jason Statham movie, a friend’s recommendation, or any other reason, this is a terrific opportunity to begin exploring the violent world of Parker (and, while you’re at it, I hope you’ll also explore The Violent World of Parker).

Thanks to the fine folks at the University of Chicago Press, The Score is available for free throughout the month of September in the hopes that you’ll read it and then start picking up their other 19 (to date) Parker reprints. A good bet, that. As my inside man wrote me, “We picked The Score because it’s just so much flat-out fun.” Well put and true.

Richard Stark’s alter ego, Donald Westlake, also has a free e-book available. It’s his early comic novel God Save the Mark, which as I mentioned, I haven’t read yet.  I’m pretty sure you and I will both like it a lot, though, since (as Bill Pronzini notes in his rave review) it won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel in 1968.

Click the Amazon links below for the Kindle editions. The epub edition of The Score can be had through Barnes & Noble, the PDF of The Score can be had directly through U of C, and the epub edition of God Save the Mark can be had through Copia.

And if you can’t take advantage of these great deals because you don’t have an e-reader yet, isn’t it time? Why, yes, it is. Take it from someone who was once almost as stubborn and old-fashioned as you. ;)