The Damsel by Richard Stark aka Donald E. Westlake is the first of four mystery novels with Alan Grofield as the main character. The others are The Score, The Dame, and Lemons Never Lie. Plot wise, this thriller follows the 8th Parker mystery The Handle aka Run Lethal.

Alan Grofield is my favorite Richard Stark / Donald E. Westlake character. He is the owner and lead actor of a small summer theater in the American midwest who supports himself by being part of various heists.

The Damsel finds Alan Grofield recuperating in Mexico after his injuries in The Handle. While recuperating a damsel in distress literally drops in on him and he, of course must come to her rescue. This involves fleeing the private detectives and goons her father’s associate has sent after her.

There is a secondary story of rich Americans plotting a coup in a small South American country to they can then run said country according to their wishes. Someone else also wants to get at the dictator.

Will Alan Grofield and the damsel escape the goons? Will there be a revolution in a small South American country?

The Damsel by Richard Stark / Donald E Westlake is more a fun adventure novel than a mystery or a thriller. It is a great deal of fun to read.

The Damsel
Richard Stark
Donald E. Westlake
University of Chicago Press 2012

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