The Man with the Getaway Face (1963)

Also published as The Steel Hit.

The Man with the Getaway Face by Richard Stark (AKA Donald Westlake)

When the bandages came off, Parker looked in the mirror at a stranger.  He nodded to the stranger and looked beyond at the reflection of Dr. Alder.

Parker has just received plastic surgery from Dr. Adler in an effort to hide from the Outfit, still after him following the events of The Hunter. He is handed a letter from an old associate named Skimm, who has a plan to rob an armored truck.

Parker needs money, so he decides to participate despite intense misgivings. He brings in Handy McKay to complete the team, now comprised of Parker, Handy, Skimm, and Alma, the finger who is also a waitress at the diner where the robbery will take place.

Parker and Handy quickly realize that Alma is going to cross them. In addition, Stubbs, a punch-drunk former union organizer and employee of Dr. Adler, has tracked Parker down. Seems Dr. Adler has been murdered, and unless Stubbs can track down the real killer, Parker’s new identity is going to be exposed.

So now all Parker has to do is put Stubbs on ice, prevent himself from being permanently iced by Alma, carry out the job, and prove his innocence to Dr. Adler’s associates before they can expose him to the Outfit. Will Parker be able to do what it takes to live through it all?

A less brutal book than The Hunter, but The Man with the Getaway Face still takes place in the coldest of cold worlds. We get further insight into how Parker thinks, and we learn that he regrets a couple of the killings in The Hunter, although the reader will probably not agree with his reasons for these regrets.

A brisk and suspenseful read that further fleshes out both Parker and his universe, and sets things up nicely for the third book in the series, The Outfit.

Known printings and cover gallery here.

Justin Scott’s introduction to the Gregg Press edition.

To The Hunter, the previous book in the Parker series.

To The Outfit, the next book in the Parker series.