Butcher's Moon (Parker, #16)
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Butcher's Moon (Parker #16)

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4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  455 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The sixteenth Parker novel, Butcher’s Moon is more than twice as long most of the master heister’s adventures, and absolutely jammed with the action, violence, and nerve-jangling tension readers have come to expect. Back in the corrupt town where he lost his money, and nearly his life, in Slayground, Parker assembles a stunning cast of characters from throughout his career...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published April 15th 2011 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1974)
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Kemper
This is a notable book in the Parker series because for a long time it looked like it’d be the last one that Richard Stark (a/k/a Donald E. Westlake) ever wrote since it was over twenty years before he finally did another one.

This one is also a personal milestone since it’s the last Parker novel that I haven’t read before. Westlake died a few years ago, so that means it’s the last new Parker novel I’ll ever read.

Stupid death.

As a personal ending point for me, it’s a humdinger though. Parker ha...more
Dan Schwent
Short on cash, Parker and Grofield return to Tyler to get some money Parker stashed in an amusement park. But the money isn't there and signs point to the local mob, which is in the midst of a power struggle. Whichever party comes out on top had better remember that when Parker is owed money, he always collects, one way or another...

I'd been waiting for over six months for Butcher's Moon to be reprinted by University of Chicago Press. Was it worth the wait? Hell yes!

Butcher's Moon was the last...more
James Thane
First published in 1974, this is the sixteenth book in Richard Stark's acclaimed series featuring Parker, the amoral antihero criminal mastermind. While the book can be read as a stand-alone, it is really the capstone of the series to that point and the last Parker novel that would appear until Comeback, a full twenty-three years later.

The original plan seems simple enough: Two years earlier (in Slayground), Parker and several confederates hit an armored car in the Midwestern town of Tyler for $...more
Mohammed
I can see why this was the last one written of the original series. Stark perfected the Parker story,formula. The writing,the many different viewpoints,the characters,the pace,the story,the heists. This is Parker at his most cold blooded and brutal,his smartest. He is so hardcore,ruthless when he takes on his enemies. The action,the twists, is breakneck,believable and thrilling.

It is not only the best in the series, its a massive novel and an alltime great. It was truly the Parker novel to end a...more
Jane Stewart
Great suspense. Great read. A lot of killing. I was smiling a lot at the end.

This is one of the best Parker books. It’s better if you read Slayground before this. This continues that story. This is sooo good. Great revenge! Parker takes on a local mob. They are no match for Parker. They are like children next to him.

I was intrigued with a comment in the Forward by Lawrence Block. When Stark was writing the first Parker novel, Block asked Stark if he knew where the story was going. Stark said “So...more
F.R.
I actually quite like those later Parker novels, but you can see why Richard Stark may have preferred to go out on a nitroglycerin bang with this one. The phrase that follows is normally a trite old cliché, but in this case is genuinely true – this is the Parker novel to end all Parker novels. ‘Butcher’s Moon’ rolls together all the attitude, themes and even the various crews of the earlier books into an genuinely thrilling read.

After a particularly bad streak, Parker remembers that he stashed s...more
Tim Niland
Is this the greatest Parker novel ever? Now that I've picked my jaw up off of the floor, I'm certainly leaning in that direction. Richard Stark (aka mystery writer Donald Westlake) sends his greatest creation, the master thief and and ultimate anti-hero Parker, back to an amusement park where he stashed $73,000 during a previous adventure (the novel Slayground.) When Parker and his partner in crime Grofield arrive to find the money missing, Parker will stop at nothing to get the it back, no matt...more
Randy
The last of the Parkers for me. And my favorite of the series.

Parker is on one of those occasional dry spells and decides to retrieve the money he'd hid from a previous job so that he could manage his escape from the pursuing police and their criminal associates(Slayride). He gets his partner from the job, Grofeld, and when they get there, in the amusement park, the stash is gone.

He knows the people who were looking for him back then and goes to them for his money.

At the time, it was the last Pa...more
David
The Hunter + The Score = Butcher’s Moon. For more than two decades, it seemed that Butcher’s Moon would be the last Parker novel, and I have to admit that some small part of me wishes that it were, as it makes a perfect coda to original series of novels (and is even richer still if you have read the Grofield novels, too). Having said that, however, I will relish reading Comeback, and I will not feel obligated to wait 23 years before I do it.
Alberto
Second reading of this novel and the reaffirmation that it's a masterwork and Parker one of the greatest characters in fiction ever. It's amazing how masterfuly the author manages the plot, the action and its actors. Althought it makes #16 in the series it was the first one I read. I was so impressed that I went back and started from the begining. This is some kind of continuation to #14, Slayground, also 5 stars to me and one of my favorite titles in the Parker canon along with The Score.
This...more
Mark
My god, this is one of the best heist novels ever, and it's also my favorite Stark of the bunch. But here's the thing: you can't read it first, or it will make no sense. It's a "greatest hits" book of Parker's capers. It has to be the last, or just about the last, book you read in the original series prior to Comeback. And that's really all I can tell you about it, lest I ruin any of the surprises.
Mark
I'm not sure I'd call this the BEST Parker novel of the first series (before Westlake brought the character back 20 years later), but it's without doubt the MOST Parker novel. BUTCHER'S MOON is twice the normal length of these paperback-spinner-rack masterpieces, and seems to have three times the action and violence, but it reads just as fast. It's in many ways a perfect ending to the series, since nearly every prior book's plot gets a mention; almost all of the (living) prior characters return;...more
Hood
Bound: Three More the Hard Way

Parker is Back to Kick Your Ass

SunPost Weekly March 31, 2011 | John Hood
http://bit.ly/gdPw6B

Seems like only yesterday I was heralding another stack of Richard Stark re-racks and basking in the black and blue of it all. Alas that was last August, which is far too many yesterdays to let lapse before we do it all over again. No, don't worry. This won't be a repeat. Not really. It will though be another call for you to hit your local book joint and pocket a fistful o...more
Aaron Martz
The epic Parker book, Butcher's Moon acts not only as a summation of the previous fifteen books in the series, but is in many ways a conflation of several of their plots, particularly The Outfit and The Score, with its antagonists drawn from Slayground. This is the only book in the series not told in four parts, and the momentum it generates by doing this makes it read like a locomotive steadily gaining speed until it is unstoppable. Over the course of its three hundred pages, it recalls events...more
Derek
Many familiar faces show up to assist Parker and Grofield get the money they left behind at the start of SLAYGROUND. This is Parker at his best, planning heists and not letting anything stop him until he's reached his goal. This book is a real treat for the die-hard fan that has read all the novels, and a nice capstone to the first run of Parker novels.

My highest recommendation. (But don't start here!)
Jeff
Someone stole Parker's money and he wants it back.

I guess this was the Parker novel to end all Parker novels. Double the length of the previous novels and double the action.

This is sequel to Slayground, in which Parker doesn't have his money stolen--yet. But things happen when you stash money away for two years.

This and Slayground together make up my favorite Parker novels.
Jeremiah Boydstun
This novel is just so damn good it hurts. Although Butcher's Moon appears near the end of the Parker series, this was actually my first Parker novel. I was inspired to read the book because I'm a huge Richard Kadrey fan and an ardent reader of the Sandman Slim series, which, I learned, drew some of its stylistic inspiration from Westlake's hardboiled style. Additionally, the series' namesake was derived from Westlake's nom de plume, Stark.

If you're a fan of gritty, hyper-masculine films or book...more
Harvey
Warning: Don't mess with Parker. He wants his money back and won't be denied.

This is a good caper and revenge story featuring Parker (& Co.) versus the mob and corrupt politicians in a small anonymous city.

[I've read all the "modern" (post 1997) Parker's and a few of the very early ones. I suppose I should read them all in order at some point.]
Debbie J
If there’s a theme to the Parker stories, it could be: Don't fcuk with Parker unless you're prepared to get majorly fcuked yourself. He will track you down and kill you so hard you'll die from it. In Butcher’s Moon, Parker displays this part of his criminal ethos by going scorched earth on some small-town hoods who refuse to return money he’d already stolen.

A past heist went sideways and Parker had to stash the loot to escape a manhunt. Once a succession of unfruitful robbery jobs have diminishe...more
Mike Jensen
One of Donald Westlake's two worst Parker novels, and the swan song until the revival 20 years later. It has an odd structure for "Richard Stark," the writing lacks Westlake's flair, and it is overly long. It is easy to imagine that the author had trouble writing this book. It reads as if this is true and I often found myself second guessing which scenes should have been added, cut, and approached differently and more believably. The Parker books are best read in order, and that is just as true...more
Alex Gherzo
Butcher's Moon is the last of Richard Stark's initial Parker run and it's a suitably epic finale. While a few chinks in the armor keep it from being one of the best in the series, it's still a great entry and a worthy finale should it have worked out that way (luckily, it didn't).

After walking away from his last several heists empty-handed, Parker returns to Tyler, the town where he had to leave behind his swag in Slayground, to collect his money. When it's not where he left it, Parker informs...more
Barry Graham
About a third of the way into this book, I remarked that it was the only mediocre novel by Richard Stark that I'd ever read. Having finished it, I take that statement back. This book is not mediocre. It's bad.

The only good thing about it is the introduction by Lawrence Block, a wonderful novelist himself, in which he reminisces about his friendship with the late author, and the creation of the psychopathic career-criminal Parker. But, when Block describes this as the best book in the series, I w...more
Eric_W
Parker is short of cash and pissed. He knows where he had hidden a stash and takes Grofield, the actor/theater director/thief along to help retrieve it from a carnival ride where he had hidden it several years before. Problem is that the money is gone so suspecting it was found by a local mafia boss, Frank Lonzini, he decides to get it back.

Unfortunately, Parker and Grofield find themselves in the midst of a mob leadership fight. All they want is to get their money back and leave town, but event...more
Dan
This was the "last" Parker novel until Westlake brought the character back in 1997. Written in 1974, it has all the elements of a last hurrah. Parker returns to a small city in Indiana where he secreted away $73,000 from an armored car heist. Upon returning to the amusement park where he hid the money (read "Slayground" for the whole story), he finds it missing and, with his sometime-partner Grofield, starts his search to find the ones who took it.

"Butcher's Moon" is often heralded as the best o...more
Aaron Schmidt
Every book in the Parker series thus far had been building to this installment. It starts by picking up where "Slayground" left off, plays out like a combination of "The Outfit" and "The Score," and ends with a little more destruction and death than "The Hunter." I was tempted to call this a summary book, almost as though Westlake thought he'd be leaving Parker's character for good, but it definitely has its own nuances that make it stand out as more than just a wrap-up novel.

It's important to n...more
Nigel
The Parker novel par excellence, returning to the setting and the abandoned money of Slayground and calling on old friends from many of the previous novels. Professional criminal Parker's having a bad streak with jobs going bad or turning up empty, leaving his funds dangerously low. With partner Grofield he goes back to the town where he robbed an armoured car, but was forced to stash the take. The take is gone, and Parker sets out to find. At first, it seems like a variation on The Man With The...more
Hans
Pure Parker poetry.

Butcher's Moon is the double-sized Parker novel that ended the run for 20+ years, but it's really more than that. This is really 1/4 of a Grofield novel and 3/4 of a Parker novel. Parker and Grofield share the first part of the story, but the style reads more like a Grofield novel than a Parker novel. (view spoiler)...more
Michael
I'll admit I've completely lost most partiality when it comes to Westlake's Stark books. I love all of them and this one was no exception. For a long time, this looked like the last of the Parker books and it feels like a finale.

It has all the trappings, huge plot, lots of set pieces, tons and tons of returning characters. When I first received the Chicago Press version in the mail, I was shocked at how thick it was. Almost every other Parker iteration was slim and mean. This was sprawling and...more
V.
The last of the original series and a great ending to an impressive run.

This book followed up on a previous installment, brought back a number of familiar faces, and returned to the theme from the first book: Parker won't stop till he gets what's his.

Although all the books up to this point have been good, they felt a little churned out at times. They were very short and each had limited scope (even then they were well worth reading). With this one Westlake allowed things to breathe a bit more a...more
Ed
#16 in the Parker series. The money stolen from an armored car in The Blackbird (1969)(Alan Grofield #3), was hidden in an off-season amusement park in Slayground (1971) (Parker #13). Now Parker wants the money - I'd give it to him!

Parker series - All Parker ever wanted from the city of Tyler was the money he stashed in an amusement park - of course it's stolen money in the first place. So he went to the Mob running the town and asked them nicely to return it, or as nicely as he could, he's Par...more
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“I'm only the messenger!"
"Now you're the message", Parker told him and shot him.”
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“You don't have any claim on the money, and there's no proof I ever saw or touched or spent a dollar of it. You want to take me to court?"
"You're in court right now," Parker said.”
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