Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Review: The Seventh

The Seventh The Seventh by Richard Stark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This seventh Parker novel is a beaut. One of the things I'm really enjoying as I reread all these Parker novels is the way that Stark (Donald Westlake) varies the formula from book to book. The style has the same forceful elegance. And Parker is the perfect mix of amorality and practicality. There are heists and complications from within the crew and antagonists from without. There's the four part structure, with the third part in the POV of the antagonist. These are the staples of a Parker novel. But StarkLake always mixes up the emphasis. Sometimes it's the heist planning, sometimes it's the heist itself, sometimes it's the aftermath, and sometimes it's all about complications with the crew or with the antagonists getting the upper hand. In The Seventh, which begins with Parker kicking in an apartment door, it starts right off with the antagonist having the upper hand along with the loot from the heist. The heist itself already in the rear view mirror from page 1. Although we do get a nice backstory recap in summary form later in the novel. (Starklake was so confident in this story that he felt he could skip a cool heist about a stadium robbery!) So the progression here is Parker trying to figure out and find who stole the loot Parker was safeguarding for the crew. First he has to determine if someone among the crew is freelancing. The Seventh is probably my favorite so far of the first seven books in the series. A bit shorter, a bit faster paced, and Parker is equally in danger and kicking ass. Has some really nice set-piece scenes.

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