Review of the new Ellroy in NYRB suggests the extent to which Westlake/Stark has become a touchstone for the Johnny come lately cognoscenti:
I read the trilogy with a distinct, strong, and rather obscure pleasure, asking myself why, as I went along. I thought at first it must be related to why I like the Parker crime novels by Donald Westlake, which also feature an utterly conscienceless but superbly competent professional thief and killer and are also written in a minimalist style—though nothing like as extreme in its minimalism as Ellroy's novels. I wondered if it must be tonic in some way to slip yourself into the personae of fearless sociopaths and then come out of it. But the Parker novels are short, like spasms, requiring nothing like the commitment that Ellroy demands. And the Parker stories are not concerned with large political questions. Reading Ellroy is not like reading Westlake or anyone else.