Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark

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Sometimes mystery master Donald E. Westlake is the author of uproarious crime capers. Sometimes he has a mean streak-and its name is Parker. From his noir classic The Man with the Getaway Face to his recent novel Nobody Runs Forever, whenever Westlake writes as Stark, he lets Parker run loose-a ruthless criminal in a world of vulnerable "straights."

On a sunny October afternoon a man is running up a hill. He's not dressed for running. Below him are barking police dogs and waiting up ahead is a stranger-with a rifle, a life full of regrets, and a parrot at home who will mutely witness just how much trouble the runner, Parker, can bring into an ordinary life.

The rabbit hunter is Tom Lindahl, a small-town lonely heart nursing a big-time grudge against the racetrack that fired him. He knows from the moment he sees Parker that he's met a professional thief-and a man with murder in his blood. Rescuing Parker from the chase hounds, Lindahl invites the fugitive into his secluded home. He plans to rip off his former employer and exact a deadly measure of revenge-if he can get Parker to help.

But Tom doesn't know Parker and that the desperate criminal will do anything to survive-no matter who has to die...

About Richard Stark

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Donald E. Westlake is one of the greats of crime fiction. Under the pseudonym Richard Stark, he wrote twenty-four fast-paced, hardboiled novels featuring Parker, a shrewd career criminal with a talent for heists. Using the same nom de plume, Westlake also completed a separate series in the Parker universe, starring Alan Grofield, an occasional colleague of Parker. While he shares events and characters with several Parker novels, Grofield is less calculating and more hot-blooded than Parker; think fewer guns, more dames.            Not that there isn’t violence and adventure aplenty. The Damsel begins directly after the Parker novel The Handle. Following a wounded Grofield and his gal on a scenic, action-packed road trip from Mexico City to Acapulco, The Damsel is full of wit, adrenaline, and political intrigue.             With a new foreword by Sarah Weinman that situates the Grofield series within Westlake’s work as a whole, this novel is an exciting addition to any crime fiction fan’s library.
Published November 23, 2006 by Mysterious Press. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ask the Parrot

Kirkus Reviews

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On the lam after a bank heist goes wrong, Parker (Nobody Runs Forever, 2004, etc.) is one sniff ahead of the bloodhounds when Tom Lindahl and his rifle pop up to invite Parker home to his garage-turned-house in the hamlet of Pooley.

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The New York Times

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Westlake — whose prodigious versatility in crime fiction makes the competition look like plow hands — dusted off his literary pseudonym Richard Stark and defrosted his antihero Parker for a knuckle sandwich aptly titled “Comeback.” It had been nearly a quarter-century since the last Parker outing...

Dec 03 2006 | Read Full Review of Ask the Parrot

BC Books

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When Stark started writing new Parker novels just a few years ago after a long hiatus, he followed that structure but has since moved away from it.

Jan 04 2007 | Read Full Review of Ask the Parrot

AV Club

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When Donald Westlake invented Parker, the iron-cold thief protagonist of the series Westlake writes under the pen name Richard Stark, he didn't know that Parker would be one of the noir genre's most enduring creations.

Nov 30 2006 | Read Full Review of Ask the Parrot

Entertainment Weekly

Parker is practical, the men trying to stop him are noble but misguided, rifles are described more specifically than characters, and the ending is just that: the end.

Nov 17 2006 | Read Full Review of Ask the Parrot

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Aug 17 2007 | Read Full Review of Ask the Parrot

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