Parker is not a nice man.
On good day, he's a bastard. On a bad day...well, you just don't want to know him on a bad day. He's a man with one thing on his mind: he gots to get paid. Well, two things: get paid and kill the rat that double-crossed him. In doing so, nothing and no one is going to stop him. And if someone gets accidentally snuffed that didn't deserve it, well, that's unfortunate.
I really shouldn't love this character. He's an amoral professional criminal and puts other so-called anti-heroes to shame. There is nothing heroic about him. I guess he isn't all bad, though. Even though he kills without regret, it's not something he likes to do. What a softie. And he's not a scuzzball like the bad guys (worse guys?) in the story. But he is definitely someone you do not
want to cross.The Hunter
is the first installment of the Parker stories and it is a brutal, gripping intro to what I think will be a new favorite pastime for me: reading the Parker books. Stark's (Westlake's) prose is tight and gritty. Some of the language is a little dated (what, circa 1962?) but it certainly adds to the hard-boiled noir flavor of the stories.
I won't say that it's for everyone. If you like your protagonists to be Boy Scouts, this probably isn't for you. If you want to take a walk on the dark side for a while, though, you could do worse than have Parker on your side. Just don't piss him off.