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The Sour Lemon Score

A Parker Novel

With a new Foreword by Dennis Lehane
Bank robberies should run like clockwork, right? If your name’s Parker, you expect nothing less. Until, that is, one of your partners gets too greedy for his own good. The four-way split following a job leaves too small a take for George Uhl, who begins to pick off his fellow heisters, one by one. The first mistake? That he doesn’t begin things by putting a bullet in Parker. That means he won’t get the chance to make a second. One of the darkest novels in the series, this caper proves the adage that no one crosses Parker and lives.

168 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 | © 1969, 2010

Fiction

Reviews

“Parker is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag.”

Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly

“Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”

William Grimes | New York Times

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”

Elmore Leonard

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels . . . are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”

John Banville | Bookforum

“Parker is a true treasure. . . . The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”

Marilyn Stasio | New York Times

“Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, draw him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”

Washington Post

“Elmore Leonard wouldn’t write what he does if Stark hadn’t been there before. And Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t write what he does without Leonard. . . . Old master that he is, Stark does all of them one better.”

Los Angeles Times

“Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are among the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”

Lawrence Block

"Parker is a brilliant invention. . . . What chiefly distinguishes Westlake, under whatever name, is his passion for process and mechanics. . . . Parker appears to have eliminated everything from his program but machine logic, but this is merely protective coloration. He is a romantic vestige, a free-market anarchist whose independent status is becoming a thing of the past."

Luc Sante | New York Times Book Review

"I wouldn’t care to speculate about what it is in Westlake’s psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written."

Terry Teachout | Commentary

"If you’re a fan of noir novels and haven’t yet read Richard Stark, you may want to give these books a try. Who knows? Parker may just be the son of a bitch you’ve been searching for."

John McNally | Virginia Quarterly Review

"The University of Chicago Press has recently undertaken a campaign to get Parker back in print in affordable and handsome editions, and I dove in. And now I get it."

Josef Braun | Vue Weekly

“The UC Press mission, to reprint the 1960s Parker novels of Richard Stark (the late Donald Westlake), is wholly admirable. The books have been out of print for decades, and the fast-paced, hard-boiled thrillers featuring the thief Parker are brilliant.”

H. J. Kirchoff | Globe and Mail

“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"

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