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Ask the Parrot    by Richard Stark order for
Ask the Parrot
by Richard Stark
Order:  USA  Can
Mysterious Press, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After a massive bank heist, Parker is being pursued by police dogs and the men that usually accompany them. As the hounds bay, Parker happens upon an old recluse with a rifle in his hands. Instead of the command, 'Hands up,' he is greeted by friendly but inquisitive words. How lucky can a man be, when running from the law, to run into someone with a like mind?

Thus Parker meets Tom Lindahl who tells him of his own plans for making off with a bundle of money not his own. And the fun begins. As cool-headed Parker works to steal money so he can continue on the lam, Tom is bent on robbing the racetrack where he had worked and been a whistle blower. We all know what happens to whistle blowers. Now reduced to penury, more than money, Tom wants to get revenge.

Ask the Parrot has a well-crafted plot, and a shallow but engaging protagonist, who has a cool head and the ability to think (very fast) on his feet. Non-stop action bounds off the pages. The supportive characters play their parts well and the ending is unexpected but suspenseful and exciting. In my mind, that all adds up to a very good read.

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