Friday, May 16, 2014

The Hunter, by Richard Stark

(pb; 1962: first novel in the Parker series)

From the back cover:

"She shot him just above the belt and left him for dead.  Then they torched the house, with Parker in it, and took the money he had helped them steal.  It all went down just the way they'd planned, except for one thing: Parker didn't die."


Hunter is a stripped-to-its-seething-borderline-sociopathic-core crime novel, easily one of the best I've read in a long, long while.  If you're a reader looking a fast-paced, raw-violence and unsentimental read, this is worth owning.

Followed by The Man with the Getaway Face (it is also published under the title Steel Hit).


This novel became the basis for two films.

The first film, Point Blank, was released stateside on August 30, 1967.

Lee Marvin played Walker (cinematic stand-in for Parker).  Angie Dickinson played Chris.  Michael Strong played Stegman.  John Vernon played Mal Reese.  Keenan Wynn played Yost.  Carroll O'Connor played Brewster.  Sharon Acker played Lynne.  James Sikking played a "Hired Gun".

The film was directed by John Boorman, from a screenplay by Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse and Rafe Newhouse.


The second film version, Payback, was released stateside on February 5, 1999.  Brian Helgeland directed the film, from a screenplay he co-authored with Terry Hayes.

Mel Gibson played Porter (another cinematic stand-in for Parker).  Deborah Kara Unger played Mrs. Lynn Porter.  David Paymer played Arthur Stegman.  Gregg Henry played Val Resnick.  Maria Bello played Rosie. 

Bill Duke played Det. Hicks.  John Glover played Phil.  William Devane played Carter.  Lucy Liu, billed as Lucy Alexis Liu, played Pearl.  Jack Conley played Det. Leary.  Kris Kristofferson played Bronson.  An uncredited James Coburn played Justin Fairfax.

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