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on February 10, 2017
Each Parker tale of intrigue presents different angles and varying levels of chance that must be overcome. "The Mourner" is not the greatest Parker story ever told but it is a Parker story down to the marrow. Parker's greatness is seeing how he untangles himself from a sticky situation and comes out on top! "The Mourner" is no different. It is a continuation from the tale-end of "The Outfit", although just barely, and the plot is centered around an ancient statue that holds no significance to Parker other than the loot connected to it. His sage steadfast wisdom and dogma keep him alive from book to book and how he survives through "The Mourner" is a story worth plowing through!

Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake) is a total master and his prose reads very fresh to this day, fifty odd years later!
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on January 12, 2013
I see some reviewers were put off by the 60s vibe of this Parker outting. I actually enjoyed the Bond villan and the playmate girlfriend. For me, the Mourner was the antidote to the all-too-Stark Man with the Getaway Face, which put me off Parker books for a good while (having enjoyed The Hunter and The Outfit). Then I read The Jugger, and I am fairly hooked on the series.
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on November 5, 2011
This series started at a wrong time, it went entirely against the spirit of the 60s, says John Banville in his introduction to vol 4 of the Parker series. You can say that again. Parker cares nothing about politics or wars or love, but he will rob you and kill you if you are in the way.

He cares nothing about art or history, but here he gets involved in art theft. Business is business. Parker works for money. If there is a history behind an art object, what does he care. The statuette in question, the mourning monk, hails from Dijon. Various historical events moved it to Canada, then Atlanta, then Boston, now Washington D.C. in the embassy of a fictional iron curtain country --- another intricacy that Parkers cares nothing about. Parker's patience is heavily tested by this tale. He likes his briefs to be brief.

The fact that the University of Chicago Press reprints the Parker series, and that they get highbrow Banville to write an introduction, proves at least, if nothing else, that the author Westlake/Stark has found influential supporters. It doesn't prove the high value of the writing. For that you need to see for yourself.
I have myself nearly quit the habit of reading crime series, but there are always exceptions.
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VINE VOICEon January 31, 2011
The story begins with Parker waking to discover two assailants breaking into his room. As he encounters them he realizes that his friend Handy McKay is in trouble, because only Handy knew where he was sleeping.

The Mourner is a tale of multiple intrigues and heart stopping action. Parker is commissioned by Ralph Harrow, his girlfriend's father, to steal a statuette called a Mourner. In the 15th century a rich potentate commissioned, for his tomb, several statutes each mourning in a different manner. Ralph Harrow discovered one of the Mourners, and requested that Parker steal it for him. Parker agreed to perform the heist of the priceless statue for $50,000.

In "The Mourner" we learn that Parker is not perfect. Parker is the antihero made famous by Richard Stark's series of crime stories where the criminal is the main character. In this novel Parker struggles to accomplish his mission.

{{Spoiler Alert}} During this caper, Parker gets outwitted, shot, and the priceless statue taken from his hands. My first reaction to his trouble was that, since he had been brought into this by his girlfriend, Bett Harrow, maybe she arranged for the double-cross (that subplot occurred in the first novel). Then I remembered that Parker always comes back.

With the super fast action and the many plot twists, The Mourner is my favorite Parker novel. I enjoyed this story and recommend it to all those who like crime mystery.
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on November 29, 2012
The Mourner was something of a let down after the first three Parker books. The plot ties up a loose end from The Outfit, but, without spoiling anything, it seemed more like a mashup of the themes and events from the previous novels than something original. Even my favorite park of Richard Stark's novels, the planning of the heist, isn't really here. There is one great chapter devoted to explaining the reasoning behind different getaway plans, but the down to the second scheming found in Man With the Getaway Face and The Outfit is strangely absent considering that this is just another heist novel.

The book does have its moments, though, as Parker's ruthlessness continues to grow. Despite this, Westlake/Stark maintains the characters loyalty to his friends. I found that aspect of his personality very surprising in the earlier books but I'm glad to see it continues here.
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on March 9, 2013
This is the 4th of 24 Parker novels written by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake). Parker is an analytical master thief who sometimes works alone but more often with a crew of individuals with whom he has previously worked on other jobs. Because of this I always recommend that anyone interested in reading Parker novels begin with the first one, "The Hunter," and read them in the order written. He does not believe in killing for the sake of it but but don't try to pull a double cross. This is not to say that things always go smooth for Parker, quite the contary, as in life things sometimes go wrong. His code is that you don't steal from those that can't afford it and don't hurt those who don't deserve it. All Parker books are a good read. (The 19th Parker novel has been made into a motion picture "Parker" starting Jason Statham).
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on May 31, 2017
Awesome!!!
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on March 19, 2017
Sometimes Parker comes to life. These are great crime novels.
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on September 2, 2015
Parker has an unusual situation: when good planning and violence aren't enough to avoid
being shot and losing the loot, he persuades the man he stole from to help him recover,
find the villain and accept half the loot. The emotional instability of the villain, as he
tries to maneuver in an unfamiliar country (the U.S.) is well brought out.

Peter
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on July 21, 2017
Fun , 50's crime caper. Full of good twists and turns til the end. Loved the Parker character. Fast read.
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