Slay-Ground by Richard Stark
Berkley, Copyright 1971
The widely popular Parker books are the real deal. I have yet to find one that is not excellent and it's easy to see why this series has a worldwide following. Great writing, great character and well-written plots; this one has it all.
Parker of course is the anti-hero/thief created by Donald Westlake using the pseudo name of Richard Stark.
“Tommy was out of the building by now, and spreading the alarm. But that hardly mattered. It was a new ball game. Parker had a gun.”
Just finished "Slay-Ground" and though it is very good, when compared to others in the series it may be my least favorite. Starts off fast and violent like all the books; with Parker, Grofield and Lauffman pulling of an armored car robbery. There is a chase, they crash and Parker takes the cash and gets out fast. He ends up hiding out in an amusement park which is closed for the winter and that's were the rest of the story takes place. The local mob discovers he is hiding there and seals the place off, trapping him inside. The mob with the help of two corrupt cops, plan to kill Parker and take the loot. He is left to figure a way to outsmart them and escape with the cash.
The strength of the series is the Parker character and the violence he gets involved with in the novels. This one provides plenty of that. But being trapped in the amusement park for the whole novel, took him away from what I liked best about the character. Which is Parker interfacing with others, especially his crime partners. He seemed out of his element and that made the story a little awkward. The idea of being caged and alone was good, but not for the whole novel. Excellent in other ways though. Nice fast start and Parker figures some neat ways to eliminate his opponents one-by-one. He uses the tools on hand with the results always violent. Also, fairly good ending involving his escape. It is still a very enjoyable Parker novel as all of them are, but I found this one a bit off track when compared to the other Parker books.
But still one of the best crime series ever authored.
For more on the man see the website: www.violentworldofparker.com