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Slayground: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels) Paperback – September 1, 2010
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About the Author
Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008), a prolific author of noir crime fiction. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed the society’s highest honor on Westlake, naming him a Grand Master.
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There are some really tough hoods out to get Parker, and one really, really tough leader of the gang (who more than one time will let you know he is tough. Really, really tough). Not to mention, there are two crooked cops in on the mix with the hoods after Parker as well. But, the hoods are quite bumbling and things seems pretty convenient for Parker sometimes. Some of the dialogue between the hoods is a bit cringe worthy, and Parker, being outmanned, has a bit of a Rambo-esque escape instinct that seem slightly over-the-top. Definitely a fun ride, Slayground is as mere entertainment, but not sure if I’ll continue on.
As in all Parker novels, crime is a business. Not good. Not bad.
Parker's objective is always someone else's money...usually enough to live on for a year or so. There are no moral judgments. Parker is just as bad as he seems. He possesses a professional code of honor: loyalty and respect for fellow professional thieves with whom he has worked in the past. He is deeply suspicious of new amateurish thieves. He's violent without hesitation but only if he needs to be. He misses nothing. And no Parker novel would be complete without the double-cross.
Parker is impatient with small-talk. He talks only if it serves a purpose. Odd to think that the untalkative Parker reserves for himself the most difficult task of handling people--both fellow thieves as well as the victims.
A Parker story generally has these parts: 1) Planning the heist and assembling the team, 2) carrying out the heist that sometimes goes bad, 3) getting away, and 4) dealing with a double-cross. In Slayground, it is mostly surviving the getaway against impossible odds.
In Slayground, Parker the thug becomes Rambo. Parker is trapped in a closed-for-the-winter amusement park with a gun and a bag of cash from a heist gone bad. Parker doesn't realize it at first, but Parker is trapped in the park, and there is only one way in and out of the park.
The main story begins when Parker is seen entering the park with a bag of cash minutes after a heist that had gone terribly wrong (for Parker). Unbeknownst to Parker, the park is owned by the local mobster Al Lozini, the regional boss. The mob puts two and two together, takes matters into their own hands, and no surprise does not report Parker's whereabouts to the police. Parker becomes the prey. Parker figures this out quickly when police do not show at the amusement park despite being seen going in.
The rest of the story is Parker overcoming impossible odds: a well-armed mob, couple of corrupt local police, winter cold, and being out-gunned. It's classic Parker because the mob has no idea of the buzz saw they walked into in pursuit of Parker. Parker uses his wits, violence, and ruthlessness to counter the mobsters.
Th plot of this one is simple--an armored car robbery goes bad and Parker is trapped in an abandoned amusement park where both mobsters and the cops are trying to kill him. In places, the book feels like the movie "Die Hard", claustrophobic and filled with action. And, like the movie, watching Parker's resourcefulness in battling his way out of one tight spot after another is a real treat. The book is written in tight, sparse prose that keeps the reader turning the pages, anxious to find out what happens next. This would be a terrific read on a long plane ride and I'll be taking my next Parker novel along for sure the next time I head for the airport.
Most recent customer reviews
Parker, professional thief has just ripped off an armored car. During the getaway, his vehicle crashes.Read more