Nobody Runs Forever
Richard Stark
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Buy *Nobody Runs Forever: A Parker Novel* online

Nobody Runs Forever: A Parker Novel

Richard Stark
Mysterious Press
304 pages
November 2004
rated 2 of 5 possible stars
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From the back cover: When a clandestine meeting of shady friends and shadier strangers ends with the death of a stool pigeon and Parker on the run, Richard Stark's classic anithero is forced to reconsider his life's work. But when he finds that his expertise is called for in the "heist of a lifetime," money problems and sheer boredom override several glaring warning signs. Teamed with a crew of undesirables and incompetents, Parker heads to Smalltown, USA, to pull a bank job based on shaky inside information and an even shakier plan of action. A booze-addled and disgruntled bank heiress with a philandering social climber of a husband wants her money to herself. Parker and his posse need to keep her happy just long enough to make off with the loot, but an overzealous detective and a bounty hunter in search of the dead pigeon conspire to make life difficult. With Stark's master craftsmanship at its peak, Parker will need every trick in his dubious arsenal to avoid having to pay the ultimate price for his questionable line of work.
I've never read Richard Stark before, but I did want to start to get my Ph.D. in crime - and since this is where Stephen King said to start, I read this book. Stephen... Stephen, why do you lie? Stephen, I admire you so much for your skills and your ability to write so well. Why are you wasting breath on even speaking about books like this - let alone giving it a recommendation?

As you can read in the cover blurb above, there are a minimum of four plot lines going on in Nobody Runs Foreverbook. That's not a problem if the author is a good writer, which Stark is. He doesn't get the plot lines confused, doesn't forget which one is his bread and butter. He switches enough to keep things interesting and fresh, but not so often things get confusing.

The characters were well-developed and do leave their cardboard caricatures behind after a while. If you've read enough of these books, you've seen these people before. The police detective is a bit interesting; I liked her Wendy theory.

However, I didn't like how these guys are supposed to be so rough and tough but it doesn't hold up. I don't think they really are all that tough; they just lack consciences and want to have an easy, high-octane life. Thieving is a perfect life for them, but call them gangsters I wouldn't. Sorry if I'm wrong here, but that's what I've heard of Parker, and he's not a gangster. Also, this book isn't all that thrilling. You can see the plot twists coming a mile off, and for me personally there was only one real surprise in the entire book, which was very disappointing.

The real killer of this book is the ending: it does not exist. It may have been an attempt at a cliffhanger, but it fell flat for me. I was very angry when I got to those final words and saw that's how things were going to end. I have a pre-published book which reviewers get before the others get sold in store. I looked for a note somewhere in the book (none) or in my information (again there were none) where the publisher apologizes for this book missing its last chapter, but I could go to in order to find out how things end. Alas, it was not to be. The book ends in a very unsatisfying way.

I've heard a lot about Parker and Stark's books, and I must say from my point of view it was all undeserved hype. This book is not a very good read, especially if you want to buy it. I would like to see it in a few libraries though, and maybe you can get it from there for free.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Kim Lightfoot, 2005

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