The Handle

The Handle



The Pequod Review:

In The Handle, book #8 in the series, Parker is engaged by the Outfit (with encouragement from the US government) to knock off a remote island casino in the Gulf of Mexico, fifty miles south of Galveston. The actual theft is a good one but it's Richard Stark's prose that especially shines. Here he describes Parker's accomplice, the actor-turned-thief Alan Grofield:

There was an air of dark energy around Grofield, a nervous predatory pacing. He wasn’t a man who liked to be still. In his acting work he was most often cast as a heavy, either a villain or some sort of sick weakling, and he himself was proudest of his performance as Iago, a lean and sensual and catlike Iago, in a tent theater production of Othello in Racine, Wisconsin. Had he gone to Hollywood he would have made his fortune in television, and he knew it, but television was not for him. He was dedicated, sincere, juvenile; only the legitimate theater was worth the expenditure of true acting talent.

There’s a good living in the legitimate theater for a very few, and a rotten living for a great multitude. Never having made it big, and being so weighed down with acting integrity it was unlikely he ever would make it big, Grofield was a member of acting’s underpaid multitude. But his other profession—the vocation he practiced every year or so with men like Parker and Salsa and Ross—supported him just fine, made it possible for him to remain an actor, keep his integrity, and still live as well as he wanted.

This is one of the better-written books in the entire Parker series.