Comeback - Richard Stark,  Lawrence Block The University of Chicago Press has been reissuing all(?) of the Donald Westlake’s Richard Stark books. Comeback was written in 1997 and the title puns on the fact that Westlake was bringing back his anti-hero Parker. This is one of the best.

Parker teams up with Brenda and MacKey to rob the cash proceeds of Archibald’s Crusade, about half-a-million dollars. The weak link is George Liss who had brought them the inside man, Tom Carbody, a disenchanted member of the Crusade. Liss tries to kill Parker and MacKey and make off with the money, but Parker, with his usual distrust and foresight had removed the shells from the shotgun before retiring in their hideout.

From there everything becomes a mess as Liss chases Parker and the crew who have the money, the cops who have caught three stumble-bums, also tracking the money. As is usual in the Parker novels, nothing ever seems to go as planned, but Parker, ever-flexible and always cognizant of the the odds, adapts.

This adaptability, I think, is what intrigues me about the Stark books. That and Parker’s lack of “cuteness” that seems to permeate many “bad guy” novels. He has his own code and set of values which just don’t happen to mesh well with society’s, and yet he seeks normality with Claire in between jobs.

Sigh. I fear I have read all of the Stark novels. I wish I had twenty more to go.