Friday, July 5, 2013

Paperback 667: The Handle / Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake) (Pocket Books 50220)

Paperback 667: Pocket Books 50220 (PBO, 1966)

Title: The Handle
Author: Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: Not For Sale [part of my "Parker PBO" collection]


Best things about this cover:
  • The best thing about any Stark cover is the fact that "Stark" is on the cover.
  • What a weird picture. It's like these people are standing on the deck of a listing boat, and there is a slight anomaly or disturbance off the port bough.
  • Never been a big fan of Harry Bennett's work—bit too sloppy and unsexy for me. But James Garner's lookin' pretty good here, and she has a certain elegant something, and Flat Top Thompson over there has a nifty weaselyness about him. It's a motley assortment of folk, but interestingly rendered.
  • I picked up this book and one other Stark PBO during my recent west coast excursion (the reason for this blog's two-week hiatus). I paid too much, but my steely collector's resolve melts in the presence of Stark. Stark is my kryptonite. I got these at Powell's Books in Portland, which is also my kryptonite. Just a magnificent bookstore. Kind of overwhelming, actually. If I were to leave there without a book, it would feel like a kind of failure. I've decided I need to own first editions of all the Parker novels. I currently own ... four, I think. Lots of work left to do (which is the whole Fun of collecting). 


Best things about this back cover:
  • Not much here. 
  • An odd and not-that-provocative raised quote. 
  • I have not yet read this one. I am currently reading my way through the whole set of Parkers, in order. Finished Man with the Getaway Face on vacation; now part-way into The Outfit. Westlake is one of those writers who never lets me down. Clean, direct, smart, funny prose and dialogue. Effortless. I'm so glad he was so prolific, because it means I still have years of Westlakian good times ahead of me.

Page 123~

He had brought the bourbon bottle along and used it sparingly to rinse out his mouth when it became too dry, but he soon saw he wouldn't be able to survive too long without water. 

This makes me sad for the bourbon.


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Unknown said...

Were purple zoot suits really still a thing in the 60s?

Tosser said...

"The Handle" isn't the best Parker, but it's a solid enough read. After the robbery, the plot goes in a direction you might not expect.

Deniz Bevan said...

I love Westlake! Wish you were selling these :-)

Unknown said...

Puts me in the mind of Dr. Evil:

One MILLION dollars!! That's the '60s for you!

What I would give for a complete set 1st edition hardcovers!

I do have a complete set of the University of Chicago softcovers -- 1st printings, too! Including the Grofields.

Larry said...

Hey I'm reading my way through Parker also in order on my Kindle. Just finished Butcher's Moon the last before the break. Really terrific books, but then so are the Dortmunder novels and the rest of Westlake's stuff.

You'd think that Parker would get sick of almost all of his jobs going bad.

DemetriosX said...

James Garner? Not seeing it. That's Rock Hudson imitating George Clooney (must be time travel involved).

Oh God, I miss Powell's so much. Before I moved to Germany in '99, I actually worked just a couple of blocks from the main store. For those who don't know, just consider that this is a store that hands out maps at the front door. And that's just the main store. There are specialty stores (travel, science, kids) all over Portland and a few other general stores. The Beaverton branch looks like the warehouse they put the Ark of the Covenant in at the end of Raiders (or at least it did 14 years ago).

NomadUK said...

Yeah, I was thinking George Clooney, too.

And that's the port 'bow', not 'bough' -- though there might be a bough to port, you never know.

kicksywicksy said...

Each of them looks like they belong in a separate drawing to the next one.