I’m a big fan of delayed gratification. Based on a suspicion that I was going to love The Hunter, I’d been putting off reading it for years.
I also felt like this was the sort of book that would be fun to stumble across at a second-hand store for a dollar but, such is it’s popularity that years of persistent hunting failed to turn up a copy. I finally broke down and bought it new. I was not at all disappointed.
I read recently that Donald Westlake’s intent in creating Parker was to write a character who was entirely external. (Richard Stark is a pseudonym for Donald E Westlake.) The result is a book that is so kinetic, it’s become a classic of the crime genre and a major influence for a generation of writers. It’s also a book that is remarkably fun.
The Hunter has been adapted for the movies twice, the most recent adaptation being Brian Helgeland’s Payback, starring Mel Gibson. If you haven’t seen the director’s cut of that movie, I would highly recommend it.