Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Richard Stark cover gallery

The recent death of Raymond Hawkey inspired me to dig out my copies of Richard Stark's Parker novels—a woefully incomplete run, unfortunately. Hodder / Hodder-Fawcett published 16 Parker novels under their Coronet imprint in a mixed bag of styles. The early 1970s run advertised 1 to 12 in numbered order, and that's how I've listed them here rather than in chronological order of release. I've run back-cover blurbs where I have them or could track them down... if anyone can fill in the gaps—missing covers or missing blurbs—please get in touch.

Point Blank! (The Hunter, 1963)
Hodder 0340-02370-8, 1967, 3/6. Cover: still. MTI edition.
Coronet 0340-02370-8, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey.
There were six of them in the heist out on the coast. Three went down, then the other two crossed Parker up and ran with the loot. That was stupid because Parker could kill a man in seconds flat with his bare hands. From being hunted, he now became The Hunter. He cut his way through the syndicates; he beat his way past the gangland bosses. And finally—point blank—came the inevitable execution of a sentence that had been set the day the others got too smart.
The Steel Hit (The Man With the Getaway Face, 1963)
Coronet 15025-4, 1971, 157pp, 25p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Parker came out of the sanitarium looking for money and fast—which made fifty G's worth of armored car split three ways sound pretty sweet. The only hitch was the finger, a sour-faced bitch named Alma. For Alma was a tramp and Alma was a loser and losers could be dangerous—especially when they got to figuring the whole pie for themselves.
The Outfit (1963)
Coronet 15024-6, 1971, 157pp, 25p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
——, 2nd imp., 1972, 157pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
——, 3rd(?) imp., c.1973. Movie tie-in edition
When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed. He heard the plop of a silencer behind him as he rolled, and the bullet punched the pillow where his head had been. Which meant the new face was blown sky-high, which meant he was a marked man again.
The Mourner (1963)
Coronet 15138-2, 1971, 159pp, 25p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
——, 2nd imp., 1972, 159pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Two men, two objectives—same target. Parker was after a priceless statue and money; Menlo just wanted money. But the man who held the purse strings was a defecting Red diplomat. And the Outfit, as always, wanted a high percentage of both cash and action. So it was dog eat dog with only one winner. The roughest, toughest, smartest. Guess who?
Killtown (The Score, 1964)
Coronet 15136-6, 1971. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
——, 2nd imp., 1972, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Knock over a city? A whole goddam city? Parker knew how and he thought he knew why. But there was no figuring Edgars. The idea had been his, the plan had been his and Parker had molded them into something better. But there was no figuring Edgars. Hatred burned deeper than greed and his was about to consume a city.
The Jugger (1965)
Coronet 15139-0, 1971, 25p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
——, 2nd imp., 1972, 158pp, 30p.
It was a mess. If Sheer talked, Parker's cover was blown. But Sheer had talked and Sheer had died. And Younger, a fat crooked cop, had listened and was left dreaming on a cool half-a-million dollars that didn't exist, and a list full of names he shouldn't know. Parker had to end his fantasy, find Sheer's killer, and somehow keep the air from turning blue.
The Split (The Seventh, 1966)
Coronet 10875-4, 1969, 143pp, 3/6. Cover: still. MTI edition.
When he didn't get any answer the second time he knocked, Parker kicked the door in. The girl was newly dead, skewered to the headboard of the bed with a wicked-looking sword, and the money was gone. Parker was in trouble.
__The take from the heist at the football stadium had been near to 120 grand. Nice money even with a seven-way split. So the trouble came fast and tricky. From the other six—who thought they were on the wrong end of a cross; from the cops—who were combing every crack; and from the faceless murderer—who took sharp shots at Parker every time he snuck into the open.
__So Parker played it cool, and he also played it strong. and by the time the smoke had cleared he was the only man left to enjoy his share of the fouled-up seven-way split.
Run Lethal (The Handle, 1966)
Coronet 15137-4, 1972, 25p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
The Heist—Cockaigne Island--home of Baron's million-dollar Casino. A small fortified rock of wilderness forty miles from the United States and out of reach of the Outfit's sticky fingers.
__The Take—a quarter of a million dollars that Parker had to collect on his way out.
__The Lemon—Wolfgang Baron—sourly watching every move, waiting to play his hand.
The Rare Coin Score (1967)
Coronet 02371-6, 1968. Cover: anon.
——, 2nd imp., 1970. Cover: photo
——, 3rd imp., 1972, 160pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Here's Parker again.
__"I must be a masochist," Claire said. She was sitting up in bed, knees up, arms wrapped around her legs. "I'm always attracted to men who are about to get killed. You're the worst of them. The others just tempted fate, but you tempt fate and fight society at the same time."
__"Wrong," said Parker. "I don't tempt anybody. I don't fight anybody. I walk where it looks safe. If it doesn't look safe, I don't walk."
__The coin convention looked safe. 3 million dollars worth of coins. But tagging along, Parker had a flabby part-timer and some recent ex-cons. Part-timers are dangerous, and men just out of pen are too hungry. And that girl. She was a little too cool, a little too attractive, a little too sexy.
The Green Eagle Score (1967)
Hodder, 1968
Coronet 04463-2, 2nd imp., 1972, 160pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
It looked a cinch. An Air Force payroll job, with inside help. But the ice was thinner than Parker liked to think, for one of the men had a wife, and the wife had a psychiatrist—and the psychiatrist had an idea.
The Black Ice Score (1968)
Coronet 10937-8, 1969.
——-, 2nd imp., 1972, 144pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Parker made the contract. To teach some jewel-hungry Africans the finer points of theft. But when he got into the game, he found it bilged up with too many players. Then they kidnapped Claire—so naturally some of them had to get dead, and fast.
The Sour Lemon Score (1969)
Coronet 10766-9, 1969, 3/6.
The four-way split from the heist was a bum deal. A crummy eight grand each. Parker shrugged it off, but the other three felt mad.
__"You know what kind of day this is," Weiss said. "The kind of day this is, we'll come off this hill a couple of days from now, the government will have devalued the dollar." And Uhl shot him through the head.
__A second too late, Uhl realised. He'd shot the wrong party. Parker was the swifty. He should have taken Parker out first. But Parker was through the window and running all to hell.
__Uhl was in deep. he had what he wanted—all four shares of the loot. But no-one crossed Parker and lived, and Uhl was sure as hell he knew that. he had to get Parker and fast. Fine. 'Cept that Parker wasn't in the mood for playing Russian Roulette. What he wanted was a snappy game of Alive or Dead, with Uhl in the role of the crucified robber.
Deadly Edge (1971)
Coronet 16223-6, 1972, 191pp, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
It had taken four men to crash the rock concert and a few minutes to split the receipts and hit the crossroads. Parker headed northeast with a bulging suitcase and an itching for the broad who was waiting for him. That should have been an end. He found Keegan nailed to a wall, his share gone, and a few heroine wrappers stuck to the floor. Briley and Morris were next—which left Parker.
Slayground (1971)
Coronet 16529-4, 1973, 30p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
Fun Island Amusement Park—one escape for Parker and a satchel full of money.
__There seems no way out as the Mafia hoods close in. And the joy rides become death rides as the fairy playground changes into a bloody slayground.
Plunder Squad (1972)
Coronet 18304-7, 1974, 35p. Cover design by Raymond Hawkey
You've met George Uhl before—some of you have. He likes the idea of putting a bullet into Parker. Very silly man, George Uhl. He doesn't know when he's up against someone better than him. And when it comes to robbery without violence (or what should have been robbery without violence) Parker leaves Uhl for cold. Old pictures and new pictures, the new securities of a rotten world. Very silly man, George Uhl.
Butcher's Moon (1974)
Coronet 21968-8, 1977, 95p. Cover: photo
Parker wasn't looking for trouble when he came to Tyler. Just forty-five grand from an armoured-car job two years ago, left behind when things got hot.
__But the money wasn't there, and no one in Tyler felt like talking. But Parker was never a man to shrug his shoulders and leave. And lots of people in Tyler were soon going to be wishing they were anywhere else in the stratosphere than the same town as Parker.

Nick Jones' Existential Ennui blog has some nice commentary on the different Coronet releases and I spotted a few images I was missing... so I grabbed 'em (it's OK—he knows about it!).The first draft of this post also lifted a couple of images from The Violent World of Parker blog to fill some of the gaps, but these have now been replaced thanks to Jules Elvins who sent over a whole bunch of scans.


  1. Ta for the plug, Steve. I thought I had the first Coronet printing of Green Eagle Score – similar design to the first prints of Rare Coin and Sour Lemon – on my blog (and I'd love to know who was responsible for those covers), and the bullet-hole version of Rare Coin too. If you can find 'em, you're welcome to grab 'em; otherwise I'll do a couple of new pics for you.

  2. Hello Steve
    Sorry to hear abot Raymond Hawkey.
    The first graphic designer to hire by a national daily. Such a great talent and influenced me to become an illustrator-designer. As did the other amazing talents employed by the legendary Arthur Christienson of the Daily Express:Giles,Cummings,Sydney Jordan,Osbert Lancaster,Harry Bishop,Maddocks,Bestall to name just a few. Kolvorok



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