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Slayground (Parker #14)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  921 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The Wheel of Fortune turned and Parker figured his number had finally come up. An armored car heist had gone sour. His partners were dead or dying. He had escaped with the loot, but holing up in a deserted amusement park with only one exit had turned into a fatal mistake. Now the local mob and a couple of crooked cops were on their way in after the money...and the odds wer ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 17th 1991 by Allison & Busby (first published 1971)
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to hell with y'all and all your crummy new years resolutions: 'lose weight, stop smoking, go vegetarian (<--although, that you should do!), be more/less adventurous, etc...' boring. totally boring. my resolution: gonna read every one of richard stark's 'parker' novels this year. and they're all gonna be those lovely gorgeous knockout new U. of Chicago editions. y'know what... lemme throw a few more chips in the pot: i'm gonna read all the ones currently available - that's 15 of 'em - this mon ...more
I didn’t realize this for a long time but my first exposure to Parker was in the movie loosely based on this book starring Peter Coyote that ran on cable a lot in my teen years. I only vaguely remembered it, mainly for it’s use of George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone in the early scenes of the movie. (Thank you for writing that song, George. If it weren’t for you, there would have been countless film and television scenes where we would have had no clue that the character was ’bad’ without your he ...more
Dan Schwent
The armored car heist would have gone without a hitch if Parker hadn't been saddled with a second-rate driver. Now Parker's holed up in an amusement park that's shut down for the winter. Only mobsters and crooked cops are after the $73,000 Parker has from the heist and know where Parker is...

The non-standard Parkers are some of my favorites and this is one of them. We only get to see the aftermath of the heist. The rest is one long cat and mouse game involving the park's attractions between Park
If you liked the movie Home Alone and could do without the comedy bits then you might be interested in trying Slayground, the fourteenth Parker novel by Richard Stark.

A relatively easy job just bungled by the poor driving of a second rate wheelman Parker knew he shouldn't have brought on to the job. Stuck near an amusement park as police arrive he jumps the fence to the park and finds himself stuck with only one possible exit and mobsters descending on the back looking to relieve him of the loo
Jane Stewart
Wow!!!!! I was surprised and so impressed with what Parker did to outsmart these guys. It’s scary and suspenseful.

A normal person would be helpless, but not Parker. I read a lot, and I think I’m hard to surprise, but this one did it. This book is a great example showing how Parker is a brilliant strategist with keen insight into others.

I usually don’t like “first person” stories. This is an example of how rich a story can be when you don’t use first person, because you get inside others’ heads.
My edition is by Audio go, narrated by Joe Barrett with a foreword by Charles Ardai. The foreword isn't bad, but is ironic since Ardai actually talks about how Stark continually surprises the reader even if the formula is the same & then he goes on to provide spoilers for the book. Ardai is the editor for Hard Case Crime books, so you'd think he could have contained himself.

It didn't help that my library & Fantastic Fiction both list this book as #13 in the series instead of #14 & t
The non-standard Parkers are not my fav type of a Parker book, i enjoy the heist planning,the build up,the betrayels and so on most. But this one was amazing,so different,such a thrill reading Parker stuck in an amusement park with mobsters chasing him,his 72 000 dollars.

Great sparse,lean prose as usual, makes me think of Hammett in the best Parker books.

Parker was shown not to be invincible in that he was weakened in his usual tough body by the weather,his other problems. I also liked how it w
Quick and very entertaining read about Parker trying to evade Mafia hoodlums in a fairground where there is only one exit and he has to improvise regarding weapons. 14th in the series but hardly any reference to previous books so fine to read as a standalone. How no-one has managed to make a decent movie of this, I don't know as the story seems to be ideal for that.

Having read the first three Parker books, I have skipped to book 14 and am going to read books 14 to 16 in sequence finishing off w
James Thane
This is the fourteenth entry in Richard Stark's excellent series about Parker, the amoral criminal whose carefully-laid plans almost always come undone because of some unforeseen accident or because of an act of carelessness by one of the other crooks involved in the plan. In this case, it's the getaway driver who screws everything up. This is not the driver that Parker would have prefered, but it's the driver that Parker had to settle for. And it's Parker who will now have to pay the price.

I prefer to read novels knowing as little as possible about them going in, so Slayground represents a special achievement for me: I began reading the often-discussed, often-praised fourteenth Parker novel knowing absolutely nothing about it--I even managed to tune out the illustrations on the cover of the Chicago reprint (except for the always-present Big Gun). So, in that spirit, I'm not going to tell you anything about it, either.
Steve Isaak
One of the many things I appreciate about the Parker novels is how Stark changes up the elements (structure, characters, tones, etc.) from book to book, while maintaining the overall qualitative elements that make this character-progressive series so great - e.g., in the last Parker outing, Deadly Edge , much of the book was about Parker's relationship with Claire (when they weren't fighting and evading those villainous amateurs); in Slayground, Claire is generally mentioned but not seen, and m ...more
Debbie J
In Slayground, Parker's latest heist goes off without a hitch until the getaway, when an antsy cohort panics and flips their escape vehicle. Parker scrams with the loot before the coppers arrive while his unfortunate partners-in-crime face critical injury and arrest—or worse…

The thieving mastermind inadvertently gets trapped inside an amusement park, a dirty cop duo and an army of gun-toting “Outfit” henchmen on his tail. The tale contains a few harrowing moments: at one point Parker finds himse
Never drive fast in the snow. That's a life lesson. Especially if you just pulled a heist. After the driver crashes the car Parker gets out with the satchel and heads towards the most deserted place around; a closed for winter theme park. Cold and wet be stumbles through the park setting up booby traps for any unsuspecting people after him. After the local mob and police forces comes there to search for him all night, he outsmarts them and uses them to get him to walk out the front gate. In one ...more
#13 in the Parker series. Richard Stark is the pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake for his noir series, Parker and Alan Grofield. Goodreads has this 1971 entry listed as #14 with #14 Deadly Edge (1971)listed as #13.
Note that in Slayground Parker is escaping from the same armored car heist that gets Alan Grofield caught in The Blackbird (1969), there's no intervening time between The Blackbird and Slayground for Parker to pull of the concert robbery in Deadly Edge.

Parker hides in an off-season amusem
Alex Gherzo
I was greatly anticipating Slayground, which is widely considered one of the very best Parker novels by fans. That may play a small role in why I was let down, but it's more the novel itself than anything else. I found it to be a lesser Parker caper, with a great setup that didn't amount to much. This time, Parker is part of an armored car robbery that falls apart during the escape when the getaway car crashes in a relatively deserted part of town. With his crew (including returning player Alan ...more
Sam Quixote
I love the Darwyn Cooke comic book adaptations of the Parker novels but have never read one in the original prose-only format. Slayground jumped out at me as the place to start partly because that’s the next one Cooke’s adapting and I want to see the difference between the original and the adaptation, but also because of the delicious setup.

Parker is a master thief who, alongside two accomplices, one of them his longtime partner Grofield, knocks over an armored car and makes off with $73k. But
Parker, Grofield, and a driver hit the armored car, taking away a good haul. It was a rush job, one normally Parker would have passed on, so the driver was a second rater. He was still trying to build up his cash reserves squirreled away around the country as he'd lost all he'd set up under his Charles Willis name(dead to him and therefor untouchable).

The driver was speeding to fast to get out of the area before the police converged and took a turn too fast, rolling the car several times in the
Michael Emond
I breezed through this one in three days. Like all Parker novels they are quick fun reads. I have become a big Parker fan over the last 2 years and have read 14 of 24 of the novels so far (The Outfit is my favourite so far). While none of them could be considered cerebral they are all a lot of fun to read. Parker is a no nonsense criminal who knows how to use both his brain and his hands to get himself out of a situation. I read Slayground because Darwyn Cooke (who is adapting the Parker novels ...more
John Hood
Bound: A Six Pack of Kickass

A Half Dozen More Heist Books from Richard Stark

SunPost Weekly August 5, 2010 | John Hood

Gotta luv the folks at University of Chicago Press. Not only have they decided to bring back Richard Stark’s belovedly badass Parker novels, but they’ve been doing so in sequence, with a niftily packed series that smacks back to the ’60s beginning and — Zeus-willing — won’t let up till its 21st century end.

The beginning, for those few who don’t know, was The H
This review originally appeared on my blog: Shared Universe Reviews

Slayground is the fourteenth book in the Parker series written by Richard Stark. It is the first book I’ve ever read in the Parker series, not counting the comic adaptations by Darwyn Cooke. I picked this book instead of all the others for two simple reasons. I just read the adaptation of The Hunter, The Outfit, and The Score and I felt as though I was familiar enough with Parker and a handful of secondary characters to be able
Clark Hallman
Richard Stark was one of the many pseudonyms of Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008), who was a very prolific, and acclaimed, noir crime fiction writer. The Mystery Writers of America bestowed their Grand Master award on Westlake in 1993, and if Slayground is representative of the Westlake’s quality of writing and storylines he certainly deserved the Grand Master award. Slayground: A Parker Novel was first published in 1969 after Stark (Westlake) had published dozens of novels about the tough and dete ...more
Tim Niland
Master thief and epic bad-ass Parker and a couple of associates knock over an armored car, getting away with $75,000 dollars. During the getaway, the rookie wheelman flips the car and the only place for Parker to escape on foot is an amusement park called Fun Land that is shuttered for the winter. He soon finds himself trapped in the carnival, hunted by a small army of mobsters and crooked cops. But in Parker's case, twenty versus one is almost a fair fight. Stark (a pen name for Donald E. Westl ...more
Debbi Mack
The late Donald Westlake is another one of those authors who's been praised to skies (especially after his death) and whose work I've been meaning to check out--again.

I can't remember which Westlake book it was that I tried first--something with Dortmunder in it, I think. It had to be Dortmunder because that was his comic character and Westlake was trying so hard to be funny. Ha ha, I said, and put the book down without finishing it.

Then I read all those glowing post-mortems on Westlake's career
Had I not read Duane Swierczynski's "Fun and Games" before this, I probably would rate it higher. They are both sort of locked-room action-noirs--you know from the start you have an enclosed area where a lot of bad shit is gonna go down. Westlake was the OG, but Duane's take on this particular setup is just batshit-off-the walls, and for my money, as good as a novel of this kind gets.

But this is a Parker novel, so you're not in it for batshit-off the walls, you're in it for the process. Followi
John Defrog
In which Stark varies the formula again with Parker being the hunted instead of the hunter. An armored-car robbery goes bad, and Parker’s only option is to hide in an amusement park that’s closed for the winter – and there’s only one way in or out, and that’s covered by mobsters and crooked cops who aim to take Parker’s money. I’m going to go against the grain here, because this is rated as one of the best Parker books among fans, but I didn’t get that much out of it. The narrative gets a little ...more
Aaron Martz
An amusing, diverting, quick read. As with the other Parker novels, it never slows down for a second. This one has Parker trapped in a Disneyland-like amusement park after a botched armored car robbery that incapacitates his partners. He is pursued by a mob boss and several crooked cops who barricade him inside. Parker sets a bunch of traps and waits, and then the climax begins, lasting the last half of the book. I only wish, as with some of the other Parker books, that the action was even more ...more
While this one is a fan favorite, for me it's not as strong as most other Parker novels--perhaps because it's somewhat one-dimensional, and (not Westlake's fault) plays out what is a bit of a cliche in the action genre by the 21st Century, no doubt in part due to this book's influence on others. Parker and Grofield (see THE BLACKBIRD, which is intimately connected with SLAYGROUND) find themselves in a botched getaway after blowing an armored car. Parker flees (with the cash) the only direction h ...more
In SLAYGROUND, Parker ditches a flipped car after an armored car heist on snowy terrain and heads into a theme park that has been boarded up for winter, only to find himself under siege by the combined forces of corrupt cops and local mafiosi, all looking to kill Parker and take the 73,000 dollars he is carrying in a satchel taken from the car.

Stark does it again! This is probably the most tense and inventive of the Parker novels I've read thus far. In it, Parker fights off his foes with all th
Matt Chic
Definitely one of my favorites in the series. Having everything take place in an amusement park was really cool (and funny, picturing Parker floating along in little boats, going through all the themed rides, figuring out what he could use to his advantage).

Resourceful and tough as hell, as always.

Carol Jean
This is my favorite Parker. After a botched armored car heist, he gets trapped in the equivalent of Disney World (closed for the winter) and has to figure out ingenious ways of using the rides and funhouses to distract the police. FUN!
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Other Books in the Series

Parker (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Hunter (Parker, #1)
  • The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2)
  • The Outfit (Parker, #3)
  • The Mourner (Parker, #4)
  • The Score (Parker, #5)
  • The Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
  • The Handle (Parker, #8)
  • The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9)
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)

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