Book Review: Parker: The Hunter

Parker: The Hunter

Richard Stark (a.k.a Donald Westlake)'s Parker: The Hunter as illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, who is also the artist of "The New Frontier" and "Selina's Big Score". This is a 144-page hardcover book with the two-colour illustrations on thick and matt paper.

The book is a graphic novel adaptation of the book by Richard Stark. The illustration style is pretty much what you find in comic books, no, not Japanese Manga, but the very traditional American comic style.

Darwyn Cooke has rendered his adaptation of Stark's novel pretty well. Readers will find themselves easily drawn into the 1960's world of the central antihero character Parker.

Here's a short summary of the story:

"Parker belongs to the bottom of the urban jungle's economic strata, but the top of its food chain—anyone who stands between him and his revenge is doomed, whether they're trying to resist him or just happen to be in the way. As the book begins, he's returning to New York City in the Kennedy era with murder in his eyes: double-crossed by his wife and partners, he's come back to kill whoever needs killing to get his money." - Publishers Weekly

Unlike some graphic novels, the artist has injected a lot of subtleties, and this is where the phrase "A picture paints a thousand words" really come to life. The novel is divided into 3 "books", and is told in a partially noir style. Almost the entirety of the Book One is told without words, no conversations, no 3rd party commentary, no nothing. But you do get what Darwyn Cooke is bringing across, the meanness and badass-ness of the character Parker.

Many fans of Darwyn Cooke has praised this particular piece of work and say that it might be his finest yet. So, if you are a Cooke fan, this book should be in your Cooke Collection. However, if you are not into graphic novels, this might not be worth all the hype to you.

Readers will still enjoy the genius of Cooke's illustrations, of the various symbolism that he has craftily injected into the book, and the story itself is worth a read. But if you are hoping for a thrilling story of crime, murder and suspense, you might be disappointed.

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