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The name Parker refers to a noir series of novels written by Donald E. Westlake. The series tells the stories of Parker, a master thief with a loose moral compass.
Order of Parker Series
|1||Payback / Point Blank / The Hunter||1962||Description / Buy|
|2||The Steel Hit / The Man With The Getaway Face||1963||Description / Buy|
|3||The Outfit||1963||Description / Buy|
|4||The Mourner||1963||Description / Buy|
|5||The Score / Killtown||1963||Description / Buy|
|6||The Jugger||1965||Description / Buy|
|7||The Seventh / The Split||1966||Description / Buy|
|8||The Handle / Run Lethal||1966||Description / Buy|
|9||The Rare Coin Score||1967||Description / Buy|
|10||The Green Eagle Score||1967||Description / Buy|
|11||The Black Ice Score||1968||Description / Buy|
|12||The Sour Lemon Score||1969||Description / Buy|
|13||Deadly Edge||1971||Description / Buy|
|14||Slayground||1971||Description / Buy|
|15||Plunder Squad||1972||Description / Buy|
|16||Butcher's Moon||1974||Description / Buy|
|17||Comeback||1997||Description / Buy|
|18||Backflash||1998||Description / Buy|
|19||Flashfire / Parker||2000||Description / Buy|
|20||Firebreak||2001||Description / Buy|
|21||Breakout||2002||Description / Buy|
|22||Nobody Runs Forever||2004||Description / Buy|
|23||Ask The Parrot||2006||Description / Buy|
|24||Dirty Money||2008||Description / Buy|
Parker has been the primary protagonist of at least two dozen novels. Donald never reveals his other name, mostly because the author does not know it. Donald E. Westlake had no intention of writing a Parker series.
He first introduced the character in The Hunter. Even though it eventually became the first novel in a series, The Hunter was initially a standalone. In fact, Donald had no intention of letting Parker survive his first major escapade.
The plan was to see him die in a hail of bullets. However, the authors publisher, while enthusiastic about his manuscript, would only buy Donalds story if Parker survived. The anti-hero was such a compelling character that Donalds publishers thought it best to let him live so that he could potentially make another appearance down the line.
You wont hear Donald E. Westlake complaining about the decision to let Parker live because it worked out in the end. The thief proceeded to carry out numerous other heists even as his popularity grew.
And Donald saw no reason to break the mystique by revealing Parkers second name. It is astounding to realize that, even after all the novels Donald has written about the thief, the author has succeeded in keeping Parkers history a secret.
It has even been suggested that the name Parker is a pseudonym. The anti-hero is written to be a cold and calculating criminal. While he isnt prone to wanton murder, Parker will kill if he is pushed to.
Parkers only ethical rule is this: he will not double cross another professional criminal with whom he has partnered. Of course, that rule goes out the window once the criminal in question decides to double cross him.
Parker has so few redeeming qualities that you wont find a single reader calling him a hero. He makes his appearance in The Hunter because he was betrayed by his wife and former partner. And there is no one he wont cut through to get his revenge.
Most Parker novels revolve around Parkers attempts to plan for and then execute a heist. Things almost always go wrong, and usually because his partner was either incompetent or they betrayed him. It then becomes a matter of Parker using his wits to escape seemingly impossible situations.
Parker Books into Movies
The first Parker book to receive a film adaptation was The Jugger which became Made in USA. This was closely followed by The Hunter (which became Point Blank), The Score (which became Mise a Sac), The Seventh (which became The Split), The Outfit (which became The Outfit) and Flashfire (which became Parker).
The Hunter was adapted again in 1999, becoming a film called Payback.
Best Parker Books
The Parker books shouldnt have much appeal considering the cold and merciless nature of their protagonist, but Donald E. Westlake has a unique ability to keep audiences entertained despite the morally questionable nature of his heroes, with some of the best books in the Parker series including:
The Man With The Getaway Face: Parker has lived a long and sordid life. And it eventually becomes clear that the only way to start afresh and escape the contract put on his life by the mob is to surgically change his face.
However, despite changing his face, Parker cannot stay out of trouble. The robbery of an armored car goes wrong when one of Parkers associates girlfriend decides to betray them.
If that wasnt bad enough, the man who changed Parkers face is thinking about leaking his new identity.
The Outfit: This book follows the Outfit which is a powerful criminal organization. Parker crossed them and somehow escaped with his life. Now the Outfit wants Parker dead. When the organizations assassin takes his shot and misses, Parker decides to get even. And he wont stop until the Outfit has been completely decimated.
Other Book Series You May Like
Be sure to check out the “Matthew Scudder” Series by Lawrence Block. Matthew Scudder was an alcoholic police officer. After accidentally killing a young girl, Scudder left the NYPD and ran away from his family, choosing to spend his days working as an unlicensed private eye.
There is a good chance you will enjoy the “John Dortmunder” Series by Donald E. Westlake. John Dortmunder is a career criminal that specializes in burglaries. Dortmunder likes to meticulously plan every job that comes his way. However, things keep going wrong and he must always devise clever ways of overcoming impossible odds.
What Is The Next Book in The Parker Series?
There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Parker Series. The newest book is Dirty Money and was released on April, 23rd 2008.