The Seventh

The Seventh



The Pequod Review:

In The Seventh (book #7 in the Richard Stark series), Parker is double-crossed following the successful theft of over $150,000 from the box office of a college football game. The plot is more about the heist’s aftermath than the heist itself which gives Stark (aka Donald Westlake) a chance to stretch out his prose and create memorable secondary characters. Here for example he describes Madge, the proprietor of the Green Glen Motel:

She came in now and shut the door, saying, “Little Bob Negli’s here. You want to talk to him?” She was still bone-thin, which once had been her main selling point. Her white hair was harsh-looking and brittle, chopped short in an Italian cut. Curved black lines had been drawn on her face where the eyebrows had been plucked, and her long curving fingernails were painted scarlet, but she wore no lipstick; her mouth was a pale scar in a thin, deeply lined face.

She always dressed young, in bright sweaters and stretch pants, with dangling Navaho earrings and jangling charm bracelets. Inside the young clothing was an old body, but inside the old body was a young woman. Madge would hold onto 1920 until the day she died; she’d never had a better year and wasn’t likely to.

Despite the lack of outright action for much of the book, The Seventh is full of tense scenes, rich characters and a very satisfying resolution. This is one of the best Parker novels.