Monday, 14 February 2011

Westlake Score: Deadly Edge by Richard Stark (UK Coronet Paperback First Edition, Raymond Hawkey Cover Design)

Remarkably, it's been two months since I last had a Westlake Score to show you, so let's start the working week with a book which, on this most lovey-dovey of days (it's Valentine's Day, in case you hadn't noticed), could not only be classed as perhaps the most romantic of all of Donald 'Richard Stark' Westlake's Parker novels, but also kicks off a short run of posts on legendary cover designer Raymond Hawkey:


Seen here is the UK first edition of Deadly Edge, the thirteenth Parker novel, published by Coronet/Hodder Fawcett in paperback in 1972 (originally published in the US in hardcover by Random House in 1971). The reason it's romantic – or at least as romantic as any Parker gets, which is to say, not at all – is because it details an assault by a couple of psychos on Parker's squeeze, Claire, and Parker's subsequent reckoning with them. So it's kind of a 'Parker defends his woman' deal, as I outlined in this review.

The cover is one of Hawkey's 'bullet hole' designs, with a silver card outer cover and a paper inner cover:


Almost all of the original run of Parker novels (the exception being Butcher's Moon) had Hawkey bullet hole covers at one time or another on the Coronet printings of the books – sometimes on the second or even third printing, as on Point Blank and The Rare Coin Score, and sometimes on the first printing, as with Deadly Edge. I picked this copy up on eBay for a fiver, because once again it hadn't been listed as the UK first edition of the novel, which it is.

Steve Holland has a gallery of almost all the Hawkey bullet hole covers on his blog, along with an obituary for the designer, who died last year. But Hawkey's cover for Deadly Edge is a little different to the rest of the bullet hole designs:


All of the other Hawkey Parker covers show the title of the book through the bullet hole, whereas Deadly Edge shows a photograph of a hand holding a pistol, with the title printed on the silver outer cover. No idea why this is so, but it's an interesting anomaly.

Any road up, for the next post in this short Raymond Hawkey series, I'll have one of his designs for a Len Deighton novel, the dustjackets for whose books are what originally made Hawkey's name...

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