Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BREAKOUT Foreword

Ain't they pretty?
Donald Westlake is one of my literary idols. His Parker books—written under the pen name Richard Stark—comprise, in my opinion, the finest crime series ever written.

The series (twenty-four books strong) kicked off in 1962 with THE HUNTER and concluded with DIRTY MONEY, which was published shortly before Westlake's death in 2008. Thanks in part to a twenty-three year hiatus between 1974's BUTCHER'S MOON and 1997's COMEBACK, the series has never been in print in its entirety... but that's about to change.

The University of Chicago Press began reissuing the series in 2008, with forewords from such crime fiction luminaries as Charles Ardai, Lawrence Block, and Dennis Lehane. Next Tuesday, September 5th, they're releasing the last four books in the series. NOBODY RUNS FOREVER and ASK THE PARROT feature forewords by Duane Swierczynski. Laura Lippman penned the foreword for DIRTY MONEY.

BREAKOUT includes a foreword by, um, me.

I can't tell you what an honor it is to be a footnote in this series. I hope I did it (and the late, great Donald Westlake) justice, because its influence on my work can't be overstated. Many thanks to Maggie Hivnor-Labarbera and everybody at The University of Chicago Press, both for the opportunity and for ensuring that a whole new crop of readers will have the opportunity to fall in love with the Parker books like I did.