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Lemons Never Lie (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – July 4, 2006


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About the Author

Richard Stark is the best-known pseudonym of multiple award winner Donald E. Westlake. As Stark, Westlake wrote more than 20 books about the ruthless professional thief Parker, starting with The Hunter, which was the basis for the movie Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. He also wrote books about Parker’s partner in crime, Allan Grofield, of which Lemons Never Lie is by far the darkest. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback) (Book 22)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime (July 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843955945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843955941
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,949,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 10, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is no such thing as too much Richard Stark. The dark alter-ego of Donald Westlake, Stark is primarily known for his Parker series, a grim, brooding existential treatment of the crime novel that takes its existential elements to places it has not been before or since. LEMONS NEVER LIE, a dormant masterpiece first published in 1971, is loosely associated with the Parker mythos in that it centers on Alan Grofield, an occasional associate of Parker. While there are elements to it rendered foreign by time --- no cell phones, the absence of computers --- it is as fresh, vibrant and chilling in its current Hard Case Crime incarnation as the day it was published originally.

Grofield's first love, oddly enough, has little to do with robbery. He and his wife run a small theater in Indiana, which is emotionally satisfying but financially draining. The regular need for cash prompts him to engage in the occasional heist, with Parker as well as others. Grofield is scrupulous in his attempts to avoid killing, or even hurting, innocents in the course of his secondary employment. Yet the circumstances of the novel draw him inexorably into a world of violence and murder.

LEMONS NEVER LIE begins with Grofield listening to, and rejecting, a heist proposal from an Andrew Myers. It quickly becomes obvious to Grofield that Myers is a hapless amateur at best and a bumbling fool at worst. What Grofield doesn't learn, until it is too late, is that Myers is a loose cannon. Myers becomes an inexorable force in Grofield interfering with a subsequent heist and ultimately interjecting himself into Grofield's personal life. Motivated by a dark revenge, Grofield slowly initiates a plot to get Myers out of his life and to acquire some measure of rough justice from the man.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on August 12, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometime thief and full-time actor / theatre owner Alan Grofield has just entered Las Vegas to hear a robbery pitch from a man he only knows through another colleague, but he's already not feeling good about it. This is because, to "pay his dues" to the city, he always plays one slot going in and one going out, and he never wins. He just got three lemons, and "You know what they say about lemons": Lemons Never Lie.

Author Richard Stark is best known for his series of novels featuring Parker, a professional thief. Lemons Never Lie, however, features Parker's less-well-known colleague, Alan Grofield, the star of three other novels in his own right: The Damsel, The Dame, and The Blackbird.

Stark is also the darker alter-ego of acclaimed author Donald E. Westlake (it's no coincidence that Stephen King chose "Richard" Bachman as his own pseudonym and George "Stark" for Bachman's fictional counterpart in The Dark Half), and their respective books differ in tone. Where Westlake's work is usually in a lighter vein (like my personal favorites God Save the Mark and Trust Me On This), Stark delves deeper into the seamy underside of society. And where Westlake injects his prose with a lot of personality, Stark's is ... well ... starker.

Oddly enough, this last (so far) Grofield novel actually feels more like a Westlake in its tone and style, but with Stark's worldview (the connection to Parker almost requires the use of the Stark credit to avoid confusion), and Westlake's first Hard Case Crime appearance, 361, feels more like Stark than the usual Westlake production. First published in 1962, the same year Stark first appeared, it just may have been the novel that brought the author's dual nature to his own attention.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Harris on August 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Lemons Never Lie," is not the best Stark I've read, but still is worth a look. One reason is that Alan Grofield, a sometimes associate of Parker, who happens to be an actor, is simply too pale a character for me to get into. The whole purist-actor wanting to run a summer theater thing, which is Grofield's gig, seems a bit precious to me. And at one point during the novel, Myers, the bad guy (and he is a nasty piece of work), tells a whopper of a lie to Dan Leach (an associate of Grofield) and Grofield, in order to save his skin. It's such an outrageous lie involving a tunnel and some old men, that I had to believe Stark/Westlake was writing this one on the fly. There's no way two hardened "pros" like Grofield and Leach should be falling for such a lie. And the whole vengeance part of the story seemed to be going through the motions. I did like the ending though - and it's a fast read. But give me Parker any day over Grofield. Please.

On the good side however is, as always, Stark's dialogue, and the nitty gritty of planning and executing a crime. You wouldn't think the mechanics of buying a hot getaway vehicle would be entertaining, but Stark makes the wheeling and dealing a real delight. Another standout: the breaking of a safe in a supermarket. And I got one extra bonus from this book. At one point, as the thieves are talking among themselves about what to read, a couple of characters get enthusiastic over Brian Garfield's "Sliphammer." Well, "Sliphammer" is one of a sea of first rate pulp novels (a western) that are out of print. I found an old paperback at a local used book store - and it's super. This may not be Stark / Westlake's best, but you can definitely count on the master to point you in the right direction when it comes to reading material.
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