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The Blackbird: An Alan Grofield Novel (Alan Grofield Novels) Paperback – April 15, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
As with all the Parker books, we encounter characters we have met before giving Stark new ways to build up these minor characters. After a botched armored car robbery (also chronicled in Slayground which was written first but published later), Grofield is captured and involuntarily put to work by a super secret arm of the government in exchange for his freedom. Grofield would much rather escape, but is unable to do so under the thumb of relentless secret agents. Why is Grofield the man for the job? Simple. He has a close relationship with several of the subjects of interest, all of whom we know from previous Grofield stories.
Without giving too much of the plot away, Grofield becomes involved in a classic Bondian adventure with all the accompanying danger, hot chicks and world-wide disaster implications. The story is far more like Bond cinema than Bond books. Unlike Bond who always worked for Queen and Country, Grofield is only looking out for himself. As his involvement in the international plot becomes more tangled the two motivations, country and self, intersect.Read more ›
In fact, I've even re-read some of his novels several times when I gave up in getting another good
author. Not only is a good man hard to find, so is an author.
Chapter one of The Blackbird is similar to chapter one of Slayground: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)- the same heist told from Grofield's point-of-view. Grofield is a professional, but he is not like Parker, as soon becomes apparent:
"You've got a small army here, you don't need me. What your problem is, you don't want the rest of the team to know one of their number's been bumped off. You get little morale problems like that often?"
"I hope you screw up, Grofield," Ken said. "I hope you screw up so bad I get the order to take you right back and turn you in for that armored car job."
"And let the Third World capture Peoria? Move over, Ken, I'm off to save my country from the pygmies."
Ken moved over. "You cynical b*stard," he said.
Grofield stopped with his hand on the knob. "If I don't come back from this mission," he said dramatically, "I want you to tell the folks back home. Tell them to be on their guard. Tell them to--tell them to--watch the skies!" He went out chuckling, and Ken slammed the door behind him.
This Richard Stark is not in the 'quartet' form- there is no shift in the middle to other points of view. It is a very creditable parody or pastiche of a Bond adventure, with a stark twist in one chapter (nobody does it better), and Westlake's dry humor on display quite often. He seems willing in this outting to blow 'Stark's' cover:
... He sat up, stiff and aching and bruised all over. He called, "Vivian?"
Somebody groaned. He got to hands and knees.
"Groan again," he called.
She groaned again. He crawled in that direction, and touched wet cloth. He slid his hand along the cloth and said, "Vivian?"
A weak voice said, "Watch that hand, there."
"Why? What have I got?"
"So far, leg."
He patted it. "You sound like you're all right," he said.
The Blackbird is the third of the Grofield novels and, in an interesting move, shares a first chapter with the Parker novel Slayground. In the chapter, Parker, Grofield and a third man are racing away from an armored car robbery when their car flips over with the cops in hot pursuit. In Slayground, Parker manages to get away and we watch what happens with him in the aftermath of his escape.
Grofield is not so lucky, and in this book we see what happens to him. He's captured by the police and is in the hospital recovering from the minor injuries he suffered in the crash. He's been caught red-handed and is staring at a long prison sentence. But then some mysterious government agents appear and offer him a way out.
A group of third-world leaders has gathered for a mysterious meeting and the G-men would like to know what they're up to. As it happens, Grofield is acquainted with two of the men who will be at the meeting and the agents want him to infiltrate the meeting and report back. This is a highly dangerous task, but if he completes it, the government will give him a pass on the armored car robbery.
Grofield is not remotely attracted by the idea of becoming a spy, but he's also not very enthused about spending the next several years in prison.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Blackbird (1969) was one of five(!) novels published by Donald Westlake in 1969 under various names (Richard Stark here). Read morePublished 10 months ago by M. Buzalka
i enjoyed the ironic humour. pretty good characters. light reading... recommend for someone interested in irony, mystery & light violence. lynne from sellersvillePublished on September 13, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The inside cover of the University of Chicago edition incorrectly lists the fourth Grofield novel as The Sour Lemon Score. Read morePublished on July 12, 2014 by James N Simpson
The Blackbird is the third of four Alan Grofield novels by Donald Westlake's alter ego, Richard Stark. Read morePublished on July 7, 2014 by Dave Wilde
After heist gone awry Grofield (Parker’s partner and hero of four novels, of which this is the third) ends up on a hospital bed surrounded by secret government agents. Read morePublished on December 13, 2013 by Ray Garraty
I bought this book because I am a fan of Stark's Parker novels and Alan Grofield was a character in several of them. Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by Texas mom
Every great writer can be forgiven for one disappointing book. This was Stark's. Blackbird was tedious. I kept reading, hoping the story would redeem itself. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Fair Reviews