If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Breakout by Richard Stark, A Review by Warren Bull

Breakout by Richard Stark, A Review by Warren Bull

Image by Carles Rabada at Upsplash

Like most people, I suppose, I have wondered what it would be like to have a secret identity. Batman poses as millionaire, Bruce Wayne, and Superman, pretends to be reporter Clark Kent.  Richard Stark is, of course, the pen name of Donald Westlake. Westlake wrote some of the funniest crime novels in existence. His characters show how uncommon common sense is with an amazing level of ineptitude. 
Richard Stark’s character, Parker, is the exact opposite. Parker is a master criminal with a steady girlfriend, Claire, but without any other ties in the world. He will work with a crew as long as he needs a crew and no longer. He is a professional at crime, unemotional, relentless, zeroed in on whatever needs to get done and God help you if you betray him.
Stark writes about Parker with an economy of language that echoes the intensity of the character. He starts many, if not all, of the Parker novels with “when,” and drops the reader into the midst of the action. Breakout starts with – When the alarm went off…  It is a botched warehouse robbery. The local getaway driver decided to break into an office in the warehouse, contrary to the carefully conceived plan. That set off an alarm, which alerted the police. The driver took off in the only vehicle so the rest of the crew had to run. Parker was spotted and ended up in jail.
For a master criminal, who stays anonymous and under the radar, this is a major problem. His fingerprints show up from an earlier time when he was incarcerated and had to kill a guard to escape. 
For Parker, the only solution is to break out of jail. The rest of the novel is a "how done it" Parker has to find men in jail who can help him escape, to find people outside who can help him flee the scene and to find a way to get back to where he started from. For added interest, Parker as part of recruiting a crew agreed to go on a local heist, which involves breaking into and then back out of a heavily guarded location.
Stark’s sparsely elegant prose is a joy to read. If I had a desire to get into the criminal world, Parker’s travails would convince me to stay out of it.
I give this book my highest recommendation.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

on my list, Warren. Thanks for the fine recommendation.

Kait said...

Interesting - writing with economy of language is so difficult. Sounds like it will be a joy to read.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I'm looking forward to reading this, too.

KM Rockwood said...

Don Westlake is one of my favorite authors. I haven't been as fond of the Richard Stark novels but have read some of them.