Give yourself three hours, one of these horrible, anxious and dyspeptic afternoons or mornings, and read Richard Stark’s The Hunter
, the first in the Parker series
Every Parker novel, with the exception of one, runs only about 140 pages, but they and especially the first are so vivid in their depiction of crime, criminality, and survival that they will begin to make you see the world at a hyper-perceptive, avidly curious tilt.
The Hunter is about an adept criminal done wrong, and wrong in a world of wrong means that you, the reader, do the work of scaffolding a moral code for the hero.
Parker is Jack Reacher
if Reacher were a bad guy. Like Lee Child’s novels, the physicality of The Hunter
and the subsequent Parker novels are almost impossibly realized. Every room, fight, parking lot or staircase is sketched with the keenest understanding of how those spaces are theatres for desperate activity.