“The nonpareil, the hardboilest of the hard-boiled, one of the darkest and best-loved names in all of noir”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This slim little volume – 154 pages in the edition I read – is a genuine classic of hardboiled fiction and the birth place of one of the iconic figures of modern crime fiction and cinema. A fair number of names have been changed here, though not to protect the innocent, of whom there are few in Richard Stark’s (appropriate name) brilliantly plotted roller-coaster of a novel.
Stark is a pen-name of Donald E Westlake, an extraordinarily prolific and successful writer, largely but not exclusively in crime. This novel was originally published as The Hunter and renamed Point Blank after the huge success of the film version, starring Lee Marvin. Marvin’s lead character was called Walker, a small and rather puzzling change from the original Parker.