Ask the Parrot, Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake) 2006

Parker appears again in this superbly ironic and weird caper story written two years before Westlake’s death at 75.  Once again, the story begins seemingly in the middle of another story with Parker scrambling to escape the police and their dogs after a bank robbery.  He stumbles (literally) upon a guy with a rifle who instead of turning him over to the pursuing forces of the law, helps him escape and takes him into his home.  Why?  Well, it turns out that Tom Lindahl of Pooley, NY is an angry hermit who is bent on a revenge scheme against the racing track which fired him after he was a whistle-blower about a money laundering scam.  Lindahl also owns the eponymous parrot who goes nameless until he’s blown away by Tom’s friend Fred who freaks out after accidentally shooting a hobo in the woods and who is then killed by the state police who are searching for Parker.  Confused yet?  Read this entertaining and brilliant caper story and all will become clear.  Parker is a hard boiled criminal who kills people with barely a thought, but one finds oneself rooting for him, nonetheless.  Publisher’s Weekly asked the question: Why do readers love this heartless bad guy?  Because he’s so damn good at what he does.”  So true.  Eager to get my hands on the next Parker novel.

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