"The Hunter" is a noir-type genre novel evocative of this writing style circa 1960. The plot line, the character development (or, more accurately, the lack thereof), the spare writing style, predictable violence and hard core accoutrements are perfectly standard fare. However, and despite myself, I couldn't help but enjoy Stark's book.
Stark writes in a style derived from the 1930 "pulps": for a representative biopsy of the style, see the resurrected and now defunct series brilliantly re-issued by "Creative Arts/Black Lizard" series. Unfortunately, most of the books in that series are, once again, out-of-print. The best currently available reference anthology was issued by Vintage/Black Lizard in the "Big Book of Pulps" edited by Otto Penzler.
In the tradition of Paul Cain, David Goodis, Cornell Woolrich and, naturally, Jim Thompson, sentences have been stripped of all but the necessary wording, adjectives don't hang heavily on nouns, metaphors are mostly gone, character development essentially non-existant. Instead, the emphasis is on swift, brutal action, a tight plot, accompanied by a few twists-and-turns and (at least in this series), a "teaser" hint of the next installment to follow in the series. There have been legions of imitators, ranging from the well-known Chandler and Hammett types to the more recent James Ellroy.
Stark/Westlake seems to occupy a unique niche between the more eloquent traditionalists (Chandler, Hammett) and the brutally spare style of the Jim Thompson school. The taught writing, evocative but still not stale, the "made for the movies" tension and the cleverly constructed stories evidently warranted re-issue of the series by the august University of Chicago Press.
The books read very quickly (average reading time about 3 hours) and seem overpriced for their length. Of the first 3 Chicago re-issues, "The Man With the Getaway Face" was the least formulaic, but still adheres to the clever criminal beats the system" method; hardly original, but highly addicting.
In summary, a worthwhile re-issue of an historically important series, well worth the time invested in reading.