The Blackbird : An Alan Grofield Novel

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<p>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. </p> <p></p>Not that there isn't violence and adventure aplenty. The third Grofield novel, <i>The Blackbird</i> shares its first chapter with <i>Slayground</i> 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. <p></p>With a new foreword by Sarah Weinman that situates the Grofield series within Westlake's work as a whole, this novel is an exciting addition to any crime fiction fan's library. <p></p>

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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 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.

With a new foreword by Sarah Weinman that situates the Grofield series within Westlake's work as a whole, this novel is an exciting addition to any crime fiction fan's library.

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 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.

With a new foreword by Sarah Weinman that situates the Grofield series within Westlake’s work as a whole, this novel is an exciting addition to any crime fiction fan’s library.

Specifications

Series Title
Alan Grofield Novels
Publisher
University of Chicago Press
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
192
Author
Richard Stark
ISBN-13
9780226770420
Publication Date
April, 2012
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.00 x 5.25 x 0.50 Inches
ISBN-10
0226770427

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Alan Grofield, who sup...

Alan Grofield, who supports his life as theatre actor with scores made as a professional thief, is captured during the same getaway that opens the Parker novel Slayground. "Thankfully" Grofield is offered a way out by a federal agency due to acquaintanceships established in his previous adventures. A meeting of nefarious people representing nefarious nations is taking place in Quebec, and no one seems to know why. Grofield becomes our government's last ditch attempt at discovering what it is. This seems to be the least liked of the Grofield novels but I enjoyed it the most. Oh, well.

The Blackbirds openin...

The Blackbird's opening chapter is almost the same as the first chapter of Slayground from the Parker series. While Slayground follows Parker, Blackbird follows Grofield, who is caught and then offered his freedom in exchange with helping an unnamed agency of the US government. So Grofield is off to Quebec, where he's supposed to report on a meeting of third world leaders (which just happens to involve characters from the two previous Grofield novels). And there's lots of espionage and counter-espionage action, and Grofield's mouth gets him in trouble, and he escapes, and there's some more espionage action, and in the end he gets he gives the government what it wants and gets to stay out of jail. This is my personal favorite of these three Grofield novels, but again there isn't a whole lot to say about it. I think there's a bit more of Westlake's wit in the writing, and some nice turns of phrase. And there's a better sense of Grofield as a character as opposed to someone who is just reacting to events around him. But there isn't so much here that I'm left wishing we had more Grofield books to look forward to.

The Blackbird is the t...

The Blackbird is the third of four Alan Grofield novels by Donald Westlake's alter ego, Richard Stark. There are four Grofield novels in all, The Damsel, the Dame, The Blackbird, and Lemons Never Lie. The Blackbird is the weakest of the four. Grofield was a minor character in a couple of Parker novels (specifically the Handle). The Parker series consists of 24 novels about a tough-as-nails thief. Grofield is also a thief, but a different kind of character. Grofield lives in a small midwestern town and his first love is acting. He runs a small community theater with his wife, but makes no money at it, supporting his acting profession with heists, sometimes with Parker. Grofield is humorous and always has some light banter, making him quite a bit different than Parker. The story starts out with a bang. Grofield is involved in an armored car robbery that goes south when the getaway car crashes. Grofield wakes in a hospital, being questioned by CIA type operatives. Either Grofield becomes a spy against two Third World leaders he has been connected to in the past or he does hard time. Grofield is at his witty best as he verbally spars with the agents assigned to him and as he attempts to make a getaway during a plane change at JFK. In Quebec where the rendezvous is to take place, Grofield is caught between warring bands of agents and is ultimately on no one's side but his own. Despite the secret goings on, the kidnappings, the gun battles, and other high drama, this story lacked the pull and compellingness of the other Grofield books.

The Blackbird is the t...

The Blackbird is the third of four Alan Grofield novels by Donald Westlake's alter ego, Richard Stark. There are four Grofield novels in all, The Damsel, the Dame, The Blackbird, and Lemons Never Lie. The Vlackbird is the weakest of the four. Grofield was a minor character in a couple of Parker novels (specifically the Handle). The Parker series consists of 24 novels about a tough-as- nails thief. Grofield is also a thief, but a different kind of character. Grofield lives in a small midwestern town and his first love is acting. He runs a small community theater with his wife, but makes no money at it, supporting his acting profession with heists, sometimes with Parker. Grofield is humorous and always has some light banter, making him quite a bit different than Parker.The story starts out with a bang. Grofield is involved in an armored car robbery that goes south when the getaway car crashes. Grofield wakes in a hospital, being questioned by CIA type operatives. Either Grofield becomes a spy against two Third World leaders he has been connected to in the past or he does hard time. Grofield is at his witty best as he verbally spars with the agents assigned to him and as he attempts to make a getaway during a plane change at JFK. In Quebec where the rendezvous is to take place, Grofield is caught between warring bands of agents and is ultimately on no one's side but his own. Despite the secret goings on, the kidnappings, the gun battles, and other high drama, this story lacked the pull and compellingness of the other Grofield books.

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