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3 hours ago, jazzbo said:

Yes, it's Westlake. There are four novels featuring Grofield, who is a supporting character in five or six of the Parkers, an actor who moonlights as a criminial and is part of the crew pulling off a caper. The Grofield novels have more humor than the Parker series does.

Thanks. Didn't know that.  There's a great introduction to one edition of The Hunter where Westlake explains  why he created Stark and Parker. I once worked on a magazine where we ran an interview with Westlake that was done via mail because the interviewer was in prison. (He'd been on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. )

 

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On 12/20/2020 at 10:15 AM, soulpope said:

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The  Mick Herron Slough House series of which "Dead Lions" is a part is top notch. In the later novels of the series there is a nefarious character who seems to be based on Boris Johnson. I eagerly await the next Slough House book. The fiendishly scheming head of MI5 Diana Taverner (known as Lady Di, but don't say it to her face) is a great character, as is her frequent antagonist and head of Slough House Jackson Lamb.

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20 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

Westlake was a prolific and multi-faceted writer who was almost always entertaining. I think you will enjoy the Grofield novels, the first three are pretty witty and the fourth is the grittiest being a revenge-driven spree.

I've read and love all the Stark novels but have never been able to get into the semi-comic crime novels that Westlake published under his own name, like "The Hot Rock," expertly done though they are. For me, comedy and crime are more or less antithetical.

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

I've read and love all the Stark novels but have never been able to get into the semi-comic crime novels that Westlake published under his own name, like "The Hot Rock," expertly done though they are. For me, comedy and crime are more or less antithetical.

I hear you. I have read all the Stark and only a handful so far of the Westlake named works a few of which were far less satisfying than others. I can definitely enjoy a bit of comedy in crime as in the Grofield novel "Lemons Never Lie" in which there is a caper planned so ridiculous and by a character so inept and uncouth that it's both sad and funny to see the developments. And Jim Thompson can incorporate humor and horror and crime and punishment in ways that floor me.

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2 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

The  Mick Herron Slough House series of which "Dead Lions" is a part is top notch. In the later novels of the series there is a nefarious character who seems to be based on Boris Johnson. I eagerly await the next Slough House book. The fiendishly scheming head of MI5 Diana Taverner (known as Lady Di, but don't say it to her face) is a great character, as is her frequent antagonist and head of Slough House Jackson Lamb.

Yep, like it a lot too....

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3 hours ago, jazzbo said:

I hear you. I have read all the Stark and only a handful so far of the Westlake named works a few of which were far less satisfying than others. I can definitely enjoy a bit of comedy in crime as in the Grofield novel "Lemons Never Lie" in which there is a caper planned so ridiculous and by a character so inept and uncouth that it's both sad and funny to see the developments. And Jim Thompson can incorporate humor and horror and crime and punishment in ways that floor me.

I hear you on "Lemons Never Lie." It was the first Stark novel I read, and I enjoyed the heck out of it -- the comedic touches really work, and it opened the door to all the rest. Sorry that Grofeld couldn't last. I think the trick to the ones with Grofeld was that Stark's main criminal protagonist Parker enjoyed/appreciated Grofeld.

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11 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

I hear you on "Lemons Never Lie." It was the first Stark novel I read, and I enjoyed the heck out of it -- the comedic touches really work, and it opened the door to all the rest. Sorry that Grofeld couldn't last. I think the trick to the ones with Grofeld was that Stark's main criminal protagonist Parker enjoyed/appreciated Grofeld.

There's one Dortmunder book where Dortmunder reads a Richard Stark novel and tries to copy the crime.  I like most of the Westlake I've read under any name but my favorite was called "Dancing Aztecs". He also wrote the script for "The Grifters". In the interview we ran, he points out that Parker has been played by a white man (Lee Marvin), a black man (Jim Brown) and a French woman (Anna Karina), to which he added "I think the character lacks definition." 

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5 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

Also think Jason Statham played Parker (a white Englishman).

That "The Grifters" screenplay is so close to the book--a lot of dialog and even spoken description is directly from the novel. 

As did Mel Gibson.  BTW There's a director's cut of Payback which is worth looking for.  Some completely different characters a many plot changes.  But IIRC the book of the Grifters doesn't have the great scene with the computers (or lack thereof).  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/21/2020 at 5:20 PM, medjuck said:

There's one Dortmunder book where Dortmunder reads a Richard Stark novel and tries to copy the crime.  I like most of the Westlake I've read under any name but my favorite was called "Dancing Aztecs". He also wrote the script for "The Grifters". In the interview we ran, he points out that Parker has been played by a white man (Lee Marvin), a black man (Jim Brown) and a French woman (Anna Karina), to which he added "I think the character lacks definition." 

Just read this quote in the liner notes to Film Score Monthly's CD of music from The Split (where the Parker character--renamed McClain, iirc--is played by Jim Brown).

Right now, inspired by my re-reading last year of Dog Soldiers:

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I had assumed the title was an ode to high-grade weed, but apparently Stone's referring to "green light that washes over the rainforest at dawn."  Still, I'm sure he wouldn't have minded it working the other way as well.  

Edited by ghost of miles
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've mostly been reading poetry for a project I've been working on.  A lot of old favorites, but also exploring poets I'm aware of but not that up on their work - Richard Wilbur is a good example.  I also stumbled across Michael Heller during this process.

I've extended the library loan on Emberton a couple of times, but am going to finish it this weekend.

21800646._UY475_SS475_.jpg

 

I really should get back to Don Quixote after that.  You'd think I'd find the time, since I really don't get to leave the house, but I still find it hard to focus.

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