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Stark Paperback – 2 May 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: NO EXIT PRESS (2 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842432648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842432648
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Compact and brilliantly detailed. The scams, shoot-outs and sweat of desperation come straight from the street in this posthumous wild ride from a modern master of crime fiction.' --Publishers Weekly

'Violent, lightning paced and exotic, filled with a wonderful cast of lowlifes and dialogue that crackles.'
--Crime Time

From the Publisher

'Stark' was Eddie Bunker's first novel, written in the early sixties and a harbinger of the books that brought him critical acclaim such as 'No Beast So Fierce'. Never published during his lifetime, the manuscript was only rediscovered after his death and was published in English for the first time by No Exit Press.
Jennifer Steele, Bunker's widow, has written the Afterword to 'Stark'

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Miles VINE VOICE on 16 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
'Stark' was, as far as is known, Bunker's first novel. Unpublished in his lifetime, it has been put out along with some other 'lost' works with the permission of his widow.

'Stark' is a perfectly acceptable piece of early-60s pulp-noir, but no more than that, and it doesn't bear comparison with the main body of Bunkers work.

I would recommend this book only to completists: If you want to read some Bunker, all of his other books are much superior to this one: If you want to read some 50s/60s pulp, go to the masters like Jim Thompson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Written in 1963 and, I believe, only just recently published, Edward Bunker's novel of a shifty con-man, Ernie Stark, really brings back memories of all those Humphrey Bogart films.

How times change. Ernie is a hustler and manages to outwit those whom he works for in the drug business. Bunker makes the job look easy - and the drugs cheap. Which I guess they were 50 years ago.

I enjoyed this book, not the least because it's an easy book to read; it has a style now overlooked in today's thriller. The pace is fast, there is no wasted detail in a great amount of character development but that's not the point. Bunker writes as he knows it and it shows. The final twist at the end concludes what should be a very good summer read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a first novel? 20 Feb. 2008
By Craig Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stark is the long-lost first novel Edward Bunker, who died in 2005. Bunker was an author, with four other novels, a memoir, and three screenplays (two based on his own works) to his credit. He was also an actor with over 20 screen credits (including the role of "Mr. Blue" in Reservoir Dogs).

But Bunker was also a criminal. He was the youngest inmate at San Quentin at 17, and continued with the life into his 40s. Most all of his work is based on his time and experiences on the wrong side of the law.

Stark is the story of Eddie stark, a con man, a heroin addict, and a snitch (though not a very good one, at first) for Detective Lieutenant Patrick Crowley. A good portion of the story consists of Crowley's continued threats of incarceration and Stark's continued inability to find where his dealer, Momo Mendoza, gets his supplies.

But the fun is in how Stark is continually sidetracked -- by whores, horse, and heat just to name three. Bunker tackles it all with the experience and directness of one who has lived it. His six-page rundown of three junkies geezing is only shocking after the fact; Bunker writes it just like any other scene in any other book.

But Stark is ever hopeful, and Stark is a hopeful kind of story, despite chronicling the lives of the hopeless. It is also a really solid novel, belying its trunk origins. It doesn't have any of the signs of most first novels, with an ease and confidence missing in works by many more experienced writers.

Having not read his other books, I don't know how Stark compares with Bunker's other work, but fans of 1960s-era crime (and of Hard Case Crime, in particular) should really dig it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
terrific DOG EAT DOG Noir 12 Jan. 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1962 in Oceanview, Los Angeles, Ernie Stark knows he has done a lot of so called terrible things in his life, just ask any of his friends, if he had any, but the "two-bit hustler" has never ratted out on anyone. However, he finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place (or at least the ocean and the continent). The rock is abusive LAPD Detective Lieutenant Patrick Crowley who demands Stark help him catch small time Hawaiian drug dealer Momo Mendoza or else.

Giving Mendoza to the cop is the hard place as that means cutting off his own drug supply; not giving Mendoza over to the cop means several horrific beatings and doing time on trumped up charges. Adding to his concern is the way the mute Dummy watches him as Stark wonders if he is being paranoid or if Mendoza's runner and perhaps enforcer, who did time for manslaughter, knows something. He has two days to do something, but how to out hustle a cop, a drug dealer, a killer and make it with Dorie Williams will require on hell of a scam.

Crime caper fans will devour this STARK historical tale (actually it was written in the 1950s) as everyone involved is playing a game of poker with scams, bluffs and calls being the norm in a winner take all environs. The key quintet bring alive the streets of early sixties Los Angeles as each seems genuine with personal motives and flaws. With a fabulous final Caddy spin, the late Edward Bunker provides a terrific DOG EAT DOG Noir starring cold nasty NO BEAST SO FIERCE as these players.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining crime caper 27 Nov. 2009
By D. Cole - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sure this is far from Bunker's best work. Still, I found it an entertaining read and would recommend it to any Bunker fans out there.

The story is about a grifter trying his best to stay one step ahead of the law and set himself up for a big score. Although the characters are somewhat stereotypical and the dialog sometimes corny, the book still has plenty of heart and Bunker still manages to punch out plenty of gritty authenticity.

I'm glad they found this manuscript and that his estate had the wisdom and courage to publish it.
Fast paced and noir 21 May 2008
By Peter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first novel (but last published) of Edward Bunker is very much a pulp paperback of the 1950's and 1960's inspired piece of work. Bunker writes in a quick and hard-edged manner where everyone is fairly unlikable and out to get what they can for themselves from others.

It reminded me of Jim Thompson's writing, maybe his book The Getaway where the lead male and female like/loathe/distrust each other.

Not a great book, but not bad at all.
For Bunker Fans only 29 Jan. 2014
By Kevin E. Gage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this, but it was an early work and it showed. Not his best but if you have read the rest of his books then I do recommend it.
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