You've heard of the hero and the anti-hero...how about the non-hero? That's how Parker, the main character in a series of novels by Richard Stark (AKA Donald E. Westlake) has been described, and it's a perfect description. Parker is a thief, but he's no charming cat burglar who playfully eludes the silly authorities. He's a ruthless thug who does whatever it takes to get what he wants (usually money), and he doesn't care about a living soul other than himself. Some of the things he does will be repellant (I hope) to readers.
So why read the stuff? Because Stark is an excellent writer and the Parker books are exciting and thought provoking. Like all great crime fiction, the Parker novels give readers not just the story of a crime, but also a detailed look at the inner workings of a fascinating and original character. These novels are very hard to put down--don't read them before bed or you may find yourself staying up later than intended.
Thanks to The Violent World of Parker