Ask the Parrot: A Parker Novel

University of Chicago Press
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Together at last. Under the pseudonym Richard Stark, Donald E. Westlake, one of the greats of crime fiction, wrote twenty-four fast-paced, hard-boiled novels featuring Parker, a shrewd career criminal with a talent for heists and a code all his own. With the publication of the last four Parker novels Westlake wrote—Breakout, Nobody Runs Forever, Ask the Parrot, and Dirty Money—the University of Chicago Press pulls the ultimate score: for the first time ever, the entire Parker series will be available from a single publisher.

In Ask the Parrot, Parker’s back on the run, dodging dogs, cops, and even a helicopter. Forced to work with a small-town recluse and a group of fools at a gun club in rural Massachusetts, Parker focuses on getting the cash and getting out. It'll be a deadly day at the races.

Featuring new forewords by Chris Holm, Duane Swierczynski, and Laura Lippman—celebrated crime writers, all—these masterworks of noir are the capstone to an extraordinary literary run that will leave you craving more. Written over the course of fifty years, the Parker novels are pure artistry, adrenaline, and logic both brutal and brilliant. Join Parker on his jobs and read them all again or for the first time. But don’t talk to the law.
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About the author

Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008), a prolific author of crime fiction. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society’s highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master. For a Parker character guide and infographics, visit Fifty Years of Parker, http://parkerseries.uchicago.edu/.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 8, 2017
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780226485799
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.
They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.
In The Hunter, the first volume in the series, Parker roars into New York City, seeking revenge on the woman who betrayed him and on the man who took his money, stealing and scamming his way to redemption.

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”—Los Angeles Times

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.
They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to. Parker goes under the knife in The Man with the Getaway Face, changing his face to escape the mob and a contract on his life. Along the way he scores his biggest heist yet: an armored car in New Jersey, stuffed with cash.
“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”—Los Angeles Times

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.

They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.

Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing; his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.

Parker works with a group of professional con men in The Score on his biggest job yet—robbing an entire town in North Dakota.

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”—Elmore Leonard

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
You probably haven’t ever noticed them. But they’ve noticed you. They notice everything. That’s their job. Sitting quietly in a nondescript car outside a bank making note of the tellers’ work habits, the positions of the security guards. Lagging a few car lengths behind the Brinks truck on its daily rounds. Surreptitiously jiggling the handle of an unmarked service door at the racetrack.
They’re thieves. Heisters, to be precise. They’re pros, and Parker is far and away the best of them. If you’re planning a job, you want him in. Tough, smart, hardworking, and relentlessly focused on his trade, he is the heister’s heister, the robber’s robber, the heavy’s heavy. You don’t want to cross him, and you don’t want to get in his way, because he’ll stop at nothing to get what he’s after.
Parker, the ruthless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to.
In The Outfit, Parker goes toe-to-toe with the mob—hitting them with heist after heist after heist—and the entire underworld learns an unforgettable lesson: whatever Parker does, he does deadly.

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”—Los Angeles Times

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Block
There have been many film adaptations of Richard Stark’s novels over the years, but none of them actually featured a protagonist named Parker—and none of them fully captured Parker’s chilling tenacity and laconic anticharm. Here for the first time is the real Parker, played by Jason Statham. Adapted by Black Swan screenwriter John J. McLaughlin, and directed by Taylor Hackford, Parker is sure to both satisfy Stark fans and action-movie lovers. And there couldn’t be a better Parker novel to bring to the silver screen than the fast-paced and stylish Flashfire.
When Flashfire opens, Parker isn’t happy. Three associates have borrowed his money for a job without permission, and he isn’t satisfied to wait and see if they make good. Instead, he vows to kill them all. Tearing across America to take their job out from under them, Parker finds himself in West Palm Beach. There things go sour. While attempting to trick the denizens of Palm Beach into accepting him for one of their own, Parker is gut-shot and forced to rely on a beautiful civilian, played in the film by Jennifer Lopez, for help. But even injured and exhausted, Parker still has his killer instinct, and he shows how unwise—and deadly—it is to cross him. Part heist movie, part unexpected romance, and mostly explosions, Parker brings to life Stark’s hero with verve and violence, while taking viewers on an action-packed adventure they won’t soon forget. Also starring Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte, Patti Lupone, and Wendell Pierce, Parker is hitting theaters near you this January. Hard.
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