Book Review: Readings
Reviewed by Jesse Sublett, Fri., Dec. 31, 2004
Nobody Runs Forever
by Richard Stark
Mysterious Press, 304 pp., $23.95
Was it ever really a man's, man's, man's world, as James Brown so convincingly sang back in his heyday? James Bond and Jack Kennedy who had a lot in common when you think about it made a damn good case for it in the Sixties. So did Parker, the professional thief created by Richard Stark, a pseudonym of Donald Westlake, and, although that's hardly the point (OK, we lost that battle), in a life of crime and/or noir, Stark and Parker can still make you believe it over the course of 300 blazingly written pages (comparatively long for a Parker novel) in Nobody Runs Forever, the 26th caper in the series since Parker's debut in The Hunter (also published as Point Blank, after the brilliant 1967 film adaptation starring Lee Marvin). In this latest installment, Parker joins a poker game with a circle of crooks about to discuss a potential new heist, but realizes one of them is wearing a wire and, with the mute approval of the others at the table, promptly dispatches the pigeon with his necktie. On to a new scheme, Parker and his chief accomplice must deal with the wimp-out factors and other human failings of various straight stiffs and ickies found in average America, plus greed and malfeasance of people guilty not only of those sins but one thing of which Parker is not: hypocrisy. And then, of course, there's a caravan of armored cars to deal with, as well as one badass female bounty hunter. From the necktie party beginning to the flap-flap of police helicopters on his trail at the end, it's another thrill ride worth staying up all night and calling in sick tomorrow morning for, you nine-to-five bandit, you. By the way, did I mention the Richard Stark/Parker series debuted in 1962, same year as James Bond? Same year Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to the First Stud?