Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Parker was on the run from police dogs and chanced upon a rabbit hunter who unexpectedly aided him, he should have known the rabbit hunter had motives of his own. Now Parker's teaming with him to rob a racetrack. Can Parker get away with the robbery while a manhunt is going on for him?
Ask the Parrot was one of the better books of the new era Parker. Parker is his ruthless self, evident in the way he handles most of the supporting cast. Unlike some of the more recent Parker books, Parker doesn't seem soft in this one. The way he handles Thiemann after Thiemann accidentally kills a bum is vintage Parker, cold and calculating. The robbery was pretty simple but the petty crimes Parker pulled along the way were pretty good. Parker showed he was as ballsy as ever, participating in his own manhunt.
Ask the Parrot also shares many of the flaws that have marred the more recent Parker books. For one thing, the style is long winded compared to the earlier ones and the story feels padded. For another thing, there's a chapter from the damn parrot's point of view! WTF, Stark? That's okay for a Dortmunder book but not for Parker.
The gripe list was shorter than usual for a post-Butcher's Moon Parker. Good, not great, the earlier ones are better, etc. I'm a little sad that I only have one Parker book left to read after this one.
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