Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Jugger, by Richard Stark

(pb; 1965, 2009: sixth novel in the Parker series.  Foreword by John Banville.)

From the review:

"Joe Sheer, a retired safecracker living in Nebraska who knows too many of Parker's criminal secrets, says he's in trouble.  By the time Parker arrives on the scene, the safecracker is dead and a greedy cop, a nosy neighbor, and a gaudy crook are busy looking for a treasure the old man may never have even had.  Parker is a pro with a past to protect and a future to consider - and the last thing he needs is a bunch of determined amateurs who know more than they should.  And for this pro, killing is the only way out of town."


A few months after the events of The Score, Parker finds himself in Sagamore, Nebraska, delving into the real reason for his friend's death.  The local newspaper says a heart attack killed Joe Shardin (a.k.a. Joe Sheer), but Parker knows better.  A host of shady characters - including Abner Younger, a local corrupt police captain - are hiding something from him, as well as dropping fresh bodies, and it's up to Parker to not only find out who's crossing who (in various ways), but how to protect his cover identity, Charles Willis.

Like the preceding Parker novels, Jugger is short, sharp, lean and pulp-icy in tone.  Also, like the aforementioned works, it's excellent in its execution - that is to say, worth owning.

What I particularly love about this story is how it ties into Score and how its ending marks a relatively huge transition for Parker, as well as his need to eliminate further, thus-far-unresolved threats to his person - threats which will presumably be dealt with in The Seventh.


The resulting loosely - and I do mean loosely - linked film, Made in the U.S.A., was released stateside on September 27, 1967.  Jean-Luc Godard, billed as JLG, directed and scripted the film.  He also, uncredited, voiced the character Richard Politzer.

Anna Karina, billed as AK, played Paula Nelson.  Laszlo Szabó, billed as LS,  played Richard Widmark (a shout-out to the actor with the same name).  Jean-Pierre Léaud, billed as JPL, played Donald Siegel (a shout-out to the director with the same name).   Marianne Faithfull, billed as MF, played herself.   Yves Afonso, billed as YF, played David Goodis (a shout-out to the author with the same name).

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