Ask the Parrot

Ask the Parrot
Pub date 23rd November 2006
Original publisher Mysterious Press
Publisher (UK) Quercus
International publishers Editions Payot et Rivages (France), Hanser (Germany), Sorozat Konyvek Kft. (Hungary)

Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark

On a sunny October afternoon a man is running up a hill. He's not dressed for running. Below him are barking police dogs and waiting up ahead is a stranger-with a rifle, a life full of regrets, and a parrot at home who will mutely witness just how much trouble the runner, Parker, can bring into an ordinary life. The rabbit hunter is Tom Lindahl, a small-town lonely heart nursing a big-time grudge against the racetrack that fired him. He knows from the moment he sees Parker that he's met a professional thief-and a man with murder in his blood. Rescuing Parker from the chase hounds, Lindahl invites the fugitive into his secluded home. He plans to rip off his former employer and exact a deadly measure of revenge-if he can get Parker to help. But Tom doesn't know Parker and that the desperate criminal will do anything to survive-no matter who has to die...


Praise for Ask the Parrot

“The nonpareil, the hard-boiledest of the hard-boiled, one of the best-loved names in all of noir: Richard Stark… Parker is truly frightening… the plot is classic Westlake deadpan rhapsody.”

- The Guardian


“Do you like your crime fiction pared to the bone, with never a wasted word? Are you addicted to narratives that move with bullet-speed velocity, in which every action is fraught with reined-in menace? Then Richard Stark is undoubtedly your man. … The Parker books are treasures – and this latest is vintage Stark... Jet-black humour along with the usual bruising exposition…the ranks of Richard Stark will be swelled by a book as trenchant as anything we’ve had from this author.”

- Daily Express


“Read Ask the Parrot and find out why Stark is the kind of writer who, whatever else you’re reading, you stop dead and read his latest.”

- Independent on Sunday


“This is classic Richard Stark, the grandmaster of American crime fiction… Parker is, of course, the genre’s most captivating anti-hero… Stark’s prose is as lean, hungry and tightly plotted as ever. Plus Stark has an uncanny ability to create compellingly complex subsidiary characters…Superior entertainment.”

 - Daily Mirror


“The Parker novels continue to be invariably well-written, exciting and hugely entertaining. Stark’s crisp, convincing dialogue is as good as Elmore Leonard’s… Parker is amoral, ruthless yet curiously sympathetic.”

- The Times


“A new novel in the Parker series by Richard Stark is always cause for celebration … Stark is one of the great exponents of American noir crime fiction.”

- Daily Mail


“Lean, clean, page-turning prose… The crisp prose is straight from the cooler.”

- Metro


“It is wonderfully laconic with a plot structure that condenses 48 hours of Parker mayhem and tightens like a noose...A memorable and enduring character.”

 - Sunday Herald


“Stark’s spare downbeat style brilliantly evokes the amoral anti-hero as he shrewdly manipulates the reader... Stark keeps the reader in suspense right to the satisfyingly ambiguous end”

 - Scotland on Sunday




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