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Ask the Parrot

A Parker Novel

With a New Foreword by Duane Swierczynski
In Ask the Parrot, Parker’s back on the run, dodging dogs, cops, and even a helicopter. His escape brings him to rural Massachusetts, where he meets a small-town recluse who Forced to work with a small-town recluse nursing a grudge against the racetrack that fired him. Even on the run, Parker manages to get up to no good. It'll be a deadly day at the races.

288 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2006, 2017



"Richard Stark’s Parker crime novels are the ultimate page-turners."

Jonathan Ames | The Boston Globe

“Fiercely distracting . . . . Westlake is an expert plotter; and while Parker is a blunt instrument of a human being depicted in rudimentary short grunts of sentences, his take on other characters reveals a writer of great humor and human understanding.”

John Hodgman | "Parade"

“Involving. . . . The closest Parker’s come to an act of mercy in his entire bullet-ridden career. As for what happens to the parrot—don’t ask. Our beak is sealed.”

James Wolcott | New York Times

“Why do readers love this heartless bad guy? Because he's so damn good at what he does.”

Publishers Weekly

“Parker is one sniff ahead of the bloodhounds. . . . Stark, Westlake’s more menacing alter ego, flaunts his usual wizardry as unobtrusively as if he were ordering from a fast-food menu. The plot is minimalist, the technique superb.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Stark will paste grins on the faces of readers who dared give the hardcase heist man up for caught.”


“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

“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 Stark is undoubtedly your man.”

Daily Express

Classic Stark, the grandmaster of crime fiction. . . . As lean, hungry, and tightly plotted as ever. . . . Superior entertainment.”

Daily Mirror

“One of the darkest and best-loved names in all of noir. . . . Parker is truly frightening because he is so horribly familiar: callous, unable to feel guilt for his actions, completely lacking in empathy, and incapable of learning from his own bitter experience, he is a kind of degenerate Everyman, the pulp-fiction counterpart of Philip Roth’s morally crippled and contaminated heroes. . . . The plot is classic Westlake deadpan rhapsody, a vision of endless roads and featureless towns, landscapes and people unravelling. . . . My guess is that Westlake won’t be remembered for his good humour—who is? He may not be remembered as Donald Westlake at all. My guess is he’ll be remembered for the deep blankness of Richard Stark.”

Ian Sansom | Guardian

“Nobody does the noir thriller better than Stark. His lean style and hard-edged characters . . . provide a welcome return to the hard-bitten days of yore.”

San Diego Union-Tribune

“Like a great white shark that leaves a trail of blood which excites smaller sharks, Parker inspires criminal behavior in the average citizens around him. . . . Parrot is well up to the usual Stark standard. Unusually for the series, it’s often funny, laced with Stark’s brutally morbid humor rather than Westlake’s wry ironies. And as always, Westlake is a master of lean, hardboiled prose and fast-moving, tense scenes that drip with potential violence before, inevitably, exploding into actual violence.”

AV Club

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