Sunday, November 16, 2008


The Outfit by Richard Stark has eluded me for some time. I've been foiled in my attempts to get the book. The movie adaptation, The Outfit by John Flynn, has also continually been this far out of reach. Any number of attempts at Scarecrow Video have consistently shown an alleged copy that is always a few months overdue.

Now, thanks to The University of Chicago Press, it's back in print, and I have a copy.

While the Parker books are very clearly a series with a certain continuity, etc., but the first three, The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face and "The Outfit", seem especially like a trilogy. The second following strongly on the lead of the first book and at the end setting up the third, which then delivers directly on a promise made by the first book.

Sadly, "The Outfit" plays as the weakest of the three. Mind you, I hope it can be clear that I mean that as a very minor statement. The entire series is fantastic, and those first two books are two of my all-time favorite reads. So this one being a slight let-down is not a terrible surprise nor should it suggest its not a nicely plotted and terribly entertaining book.

The problem here is that this one is a little more by-the-numbers than the first two, and most of the subsequent books, at least the ones I've read. It lacks a certain level the twists and turns, the unexpected events and motivations that make the other books such incredible roller coaster rides. "The Outfit" is closer to getting in a really car and hauling ass down a long stretch of open highway. It's certainly not without thrills of its own and I'll be happy to have it on the shelf with the others in the series.

And in more happy Parker news: Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Darwyn Cooke brings four original graphic novels to IDW, based on Richard Stark's crime fiction series of "Parker" novels.

As an enormous fan of Cooke in general, and Selina's Big Score specifically, I can't tell you how happy this news makes me. I can think of no one who would be more appropriate for the material.


Marty McKee said...

Keep your eyes on the Turner Classic Movies schedule for THE OUTFIT, although it's unfortunately a pan-and-scan print they run.

Neil Sarver said...


I have access to the crazy cable TV now, so that's something I'll need to remember to do!

Curt Purcell said...

Well, I really like OUTFIT (the novel--haven't seen the movie); I think the straightforwardness of the action is offset by some of the perhaps more unexpected aspects of organized crime and its relation to independent criminals that Stark makes a point of emphasizing.

Neil Sarver said...

I basically agree. Frankly, I really am only interested here in my opinion relative to the first two books. I still think it's among the best in the series as a whole and think the series is one of the best series of books out there.

And I completely agree that's fascinating, and the heists themselves and how they come down and the reactions to them are wonderful.

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