First in a long series of novels by Richard Stark, The Hunter introduced readers everywhere to one of the most proficient and prolific criminal characters in all of fiction, Parker. With its sparse prose and an ever-evolving plot, you’ll happily turn page after page as you get deeper into Parker’s mission against the man who betrayed him, mob middlemen, and any other heavies who get in his way.
As much a brutally honest portrayal of a relationship on the rocks as a crime novel. The ingenious conceit of a couple on the run, going to more and more extreme lengths to remain reunited and free when in reality they may just need to escape each other, showcases exactly what made Jim Thompson such a legend.
A crime classic told almost entirely in long stretches of stylized dialogue, capturing each individual voice with an easy verisimilitude. In the process of facilitating a string of clever bank robberies, the titular Eddie Coyle deals with a whole mess of shady characters in the Boston criminal element, including a young guy who, whether or not either can admit it, might be headed down the exact same path as old Eddie.
Drawing from some of his own real-life experiences in Hollywood, Leonard weaves together the story of a gangster entering the film industry by force with a rare kind of flare and wit. There’s a reason I had to close with this book, out of Elmore Leonard’s many beloved works. Thematically, it ties them all together: Crime meets Movies. See, if any of these options sound interesting, I’d absolutely recommend watching their big screen adaptations to compare and contrast with the original text.
Norm MacDonald dedicates this book to...
"Charles Manson (not that one)"
When I tell you this book will make you laugh until you cry or cry until you cry, you might say, "Mmhmm, mmhmm, mmhmm, that's so cool" or "Yeah, right!!!" But I assure you, Tom Scharpling, one of the funniest people working in TV writing, podcasts, or any other medium, has a story so relatable that it will hurt and heal in equal measure. Just you wait and see, which reminds me. He's actually on a see food diet... Also, let him explain why Billy Joel sucks just like Zeppo.
Charles Portis crafts a comedic masterpiece about the slippery rise of an upstart cult in the early 20th century. Writing from the perspective of Lamar Jimmerson (a top shelf name even by the standards of Portis who coined monikers such as Le Boeuf and Ray Midge), who talks himself and many others into following teachings that he spitballed in real time. There are a handful of moments that have never been far from my mind because of how outrageoulsy hilarious they are and how surgically they dissect a type of person who still thrives in our modern world.
An introspective look at a man, who spares no one and nothing from his incendiary critical eye, including himself. A cradle to grave retelling of the loudest and sharpest voice on race in America, which serves to remind you that even icons are still people desperately trying to find their truth and capable of evolving into someone new in the face of oppression and grave danger.