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The Damsel : An Alan Grofield Novel
Donald E. Westlake is one of the greats of crime fiction. Under the pseudonym Richard Stark, he wrote twenty-four fast-paced, hardboiled novels featuring Parker, a shrewd career criminal with a talent for heists. Using the same nom de plume, Westlake also completed a separate series in the Parker universe, starring Alan Grofield, an occasional colleague of Parker. While he shares events and characters with several Parker novels, Grofield is less calculating and more hot-blooded than Parker; think fewer guns, more dames.
Not that there isn't violence and adventure aplenty. The Damsel begins directly after the Parker novel The Handle. Following a wounded Grofield and his damsel on a scenic, action-packed road trip from Mexico City to Acapulco, The Damsel is full of wit, adrenaline, and political intrigue. The Dame finds Grofield in Puerto Rico protecting a rich, demanding woman in her isolated jungle villa, and reluctantly assuming the role of detective. A rare Westlake take on a whodunit, The Dame features a cast of colorful characters and a suspenseful--and memorable--climax. The third Grofield novel, The Blackbird shares its first chapter with Slayground: after a traumatic car crash, Parker eludes the police, but Grofield gets caught. Lying injured in the hospital, Grofield is visited by G-Men who offer him an alternative to jail, and he finds himself forced into a deadly situation involving international criminals and a political conspiracy. Also available in an e-book only edition is Lemons Never Lie--a taut thriller that finds Grofield recruited by a man named Myers for a sketchy brewery heist. But when Grofield gets cold feet, he has to decide if it's riskier to go through with the plot, or to say no to Myers.
With a new foreword by Sarah Weinman that situates the Grofield series within Westlake's work as a whole, these novels are an exciting addition to any crime fiction fan's library.
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University of Chicago Press
April 01, 2012
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