Richard Stark's Parker and Garry Disher's Wyatt are a case of literary tribute and possibly symbiosis like none other that I know. Parker, created in 1962, is a prototypical professional, an unsentimental planner of elaborate capers who kills only when necessary but does not hesitate to kill when he must. So is Wyatt, created thirty years later.
Each is identified only by his last name. Each is harassed by the mob, which is called, in both cases, "the Outfit," and each vows to go after the Outfit to stop the harassment. Each plans holdups that are threatened by one amateur, loose cannon, or screwup, and each works just a few times a year, spending most of the rest of the time in resorts..
Though the characters are not identical, the similarities go far beyond coincidence, as Disher himself seems to acknowledge in his delightful story "My Brother Jack." And the borrowing may run both ways. Stark wrote Parker novels regularly from 1962 through 1974; DIsher began the Wyatt series in 1991 with Kickback and followed that with Paydirt, Deathdeal and Crosskill. When Stark revived Parker starting in 1997, he did so in novels called Comeback, Backflash, Flashfire, Firebreak and Breakout. In addition to the obvious similarity in titles, Stark appears to have borrowed a detail or two from Disher. An improvised door alarm from Stark's Ask the Parrot (2006), for example, is virtually identical to one from Kickback (1991).
So much for the facts. Here's the question: Have either Stark, otherwise known as Donald E. Westlake, or Disher ever discussed these similarities and borrowings? Both authors are known for mischievous literary tricks. Has either ever spoken publicly about the other?