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Butcher's Moon: A Parker Novel Paperback – April 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best of Donald Westlake's pseudonymous thrillers about Parker, the toughest burglar who ever lived. . . .Out of print for years and years, Butcher's Moon is the ultimate Parker novel, best read as an installment in the series as a whole but comprehensible and wholly satisfying on its own." (Terry Teachout About Last Night)

“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”
(Stephen King Entertainment Weekly)

“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”
(William Grimes New York Times)

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

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”
(John Banville Bookforum)

“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”
(Marilyn Stasio New York Times Book Review)

“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)

“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)

“Richard Stark writes a harsh and frightening story of criminal warfare and vengeance with economy, understatement and a deadly amoral objectivity—a remarkable addition to the list of the shockers that the French call roman noirs.”
(Anthony Boucher New York Times Book Review)

"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."
(Luc Sante New York Review of Books)

"I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."
(Terry Teachout Commentary)

"If you're a fan of noir novels and haven't yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you've been searching for."
(John McNally Virginia Quarterly Review)

"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."
(Josef Braun Vue Weekly)

"Whether early or late, the Parker novels are all superlative literary entertainments."
(Terry Teachout Weekly Standard)

“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”
(H. J. Kirchoff Globe and Mail)

About the Author

Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008), a prolific author of noir crime fiction. In 1993 the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society’s highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226770958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226770956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
What's common with most Parker novels (and let me say that this is the ONLY common thing about them), is the length, around 200 pages a pop. But for the 20th and final Parker adventure--until the aptly titled COMEBACK was published in 1995--Richard Stark has treated us with a fat 300 page epic called BUTCHER'S MOON. And what a treat it is! Parker, our favorite anti-hero, has once again teamed up with fellow professional thief, Grofield, to recover the stashed loot from a previous score. The loot is long gone, of course, and soon getting it back takes a back seat to getting revenge. Parker calls in all of his old friends--and I mean ALL of 'em, even retired thief Handy McKay jumps at the chance to join the party--because what Parker has planned is nothing short of a war, The Thieves vs. The Hoods, and when it's over an entire town will be cleaned out, a mob outfit will lay in ruins and Parker & Company will be stepping over the bodies.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
It took me 13 years to find this book and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Those who have encountered Parker before do not need encouragement to read this, but for the first timer this book will open your mind to a totally different kind of hero, one you find yourself rooting for even though you find no common principles between you. Fairness, the ability to see an argument from another's view, willingness to compromise, to Parker these are foreign phrases. In this book a Mafia boss tries to make Parker understand that what he wants is simply not possible, indeed more than one person tries to make Parker see sense. But Parker is as unstoppable and inevitable as the juggernaut, if you attempt to interfere, at best, you can hope he'll ignore you, at worst, you'll make him mad. This book showed for the first time that Parker can get emotionally involved, which he had always resisted as it may have affected his judgement. The "new" side to Parker merely cemented his reputation as the toughest antihero in crime fiction. If you read this book you will read the rest of the series. In a lifetime of reading books this is the only series I continue to come back to. After writing this Stark could not "find the voice" for nearly twenty years. Thankfully this is not the last Parker, but if it had been I'm sure the author would have been justifiably proud to have ended on this high note.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris Ward VINE VOICE on November 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I admit it: I love the Parker novels-- all of them (though the very new "Nobody Runs Forever" is distressingly focusless and my least favorite of the thirty-book series). "Butcher's Moon" is one of the best, though. It has everything we've come to expect from Richard Stark and his creation: terse, propulsive narration, utterly amoral behavior by our protagonist, unpredictable plotting, and brutal action.

The book is hard to find-- I have a copy in a box that I trip over every five years and read again, but I've never seen it in used bookstores in the last 20 years. When it pops up for sale, grab it. And in the meantime, read any and all of the other Starks/Parkers (and all the other Westlakes as well).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cary Watson on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
In 1962 Donald E. Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, introduced the character of Parker, a professional thief who is as remorseless as he is efficient. This first novel was The Hunter (filmed as Point Blank with Lee Marvin) and it probably marks the beginning of the modern American crime novel. Prior to The Hunter crime novels were largely about detectives and detection, and stories about criminals usually ended with the crooks caught or killed. Stark changed all that. Parker always lives to steal another day, and he usually leaves a high body count in his wake. And Parker's no Robin Hood; he steals for himself, and if his accomplices are caught or killed that's their bad luck. Parker isn't just hardboiled, he's frozen in carbonite.

One of the chief pleasures of the Parker novels is the plotting. The stories begin at a dead run and then rarely pause for a breath. Parker and his confederates always plan their heists to the last detail, but then something usually goes awry, and Parker ends up avoiding pursuers or doing some pursuing himself. Sometimes he's doing both at the same time. Despite the breathlessness of the plotting, Stark takes care to add some depth and shading to even minor characters, and he can also add humour here and there;. in Butcher's Moon, in the middle of a casino heist, two of the thieves and the casino operator suddenly have a ridiculously passionate discussion about health food and fitness.

It's easy to see the influence Stark had on Elmore Leonard, who began his crime writing career just as Stark was winding down the Parker series. Leonard's plots are also about criminal plots that go off the rails, his heroes are often Parker-like, and Leonard's novels always feature humorous, parenthetical moments.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Rahmel on January 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Even for the excellent Parker series, this one is super great! The Parker character is cool and professional as always. This novel connects back to the heist in the novel Slayground, although you don't need to read it to appreciate this one. The spare, raw writing of this series was never better. It kept me up all night.
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