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Slayground (Parker, #14)
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Group Reads > June 2017 - Slayground

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message 1: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
Parker's 14th go-round finds him hiding in a deserted amusement park, hanging onto the loot from a botched armored car heist, and trying to stay alive as both the cops and the mob are closing in.

Stark's book has garnered an impressive number of four and five star reviews here on Goodreads, and I have it on good authority that it is not necessary to read the first thirteen books in order to enjoy this one.

Sounds like a great, nonstop thrill ride to start your summer off with a bang.


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments This was one of my favorite Parker novels & it does stand alone amazingly well. While Parker's heists are what he is known for, this one isn't about one. It also spins off another great story later in the series. There are 4 Alan Grofield (one of Parker's companions) books & the first one happens at the same time as this one.


message 3: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "This was one of my favorite Parker novels & it does stand alone amazingly well. While Parker's heists are what he is known for, this one isn't about one. It also spins off another great story later..."

Cool! Thanks for the info, Jim. I may just have to send for a copy of this one.


Christopher (Donut) | 166 comments Jim wrote: "This was one of my favorite Parker novels & it does stand alone amazingly well. While Parker's heists are what he is known for, this one isn't about one. It also spins off another great story later..."

Sorry, I must correct you about the Parker-Grofield tie ins.. the first Grofield, THE DAMSEL, ties in with THE HANDLE, which ends with Parker leaving Grofield in a Mexican hospital.

The heist which starts SLAYGROUND is re-told as the first chapter of THE BLACKBIRD, which is the third Grofield.

I think the number four was somehow key to Westlake when it came to Richard Stark... Hence there are sixteen Parker novels, which can be grouped into four groups of four.

There are four Grofield novels, but he also appears four times in Parker novels.. THE SCORE, THE HANDLE, SLAYGROUND, and BUTCHER'S MOON.

I am so glad SLAYGROUND won... last time I checked the poll it was way behind.


message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments Ah, thanks, Christopher. It's been too long since I read these I guess. Now I know I need to reread.


Christopher (Donut) | 166 comments So, how do discussions work in Pulp Fiction?

Are spoilers allowed? Not allowed?

I finished this book last night (it was a re-read) and liked it just as much as the first time. Actually, it is one of the Parkers that I hadn't re-read, because it was so different, in a way.

Oddly, or typically, I misremembered part of the book.. I had a distinct impression that Parker was a sort of Tarzan in this book, swinging from ropes and throwing knives.. but in fact his feats of acrobatics take a lot out of him physically.

So it was 'more realistic,' in a sense, than I remembered.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments Use spoiler tags & that way everyone is happy.

I meant to read this next & forgot. Glad you posted here. I'll write a note to myself.


message 8: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "So, how do discussions work in Pulp Fiction?

Are spoilers allowed? Not allowed?

I finished this book last night (it was a re-read) and liked it just as much as the first time. Actually, it is one..."


Glad you enjoyed it or should I say, re-enjoyed it,

If you know how to hide spoilers, please do so. If not, just mention that your post will include spoilers, and members who have not yet read the book can skip over your entry until they've caught up.

I got my copy, and hope to start soon.


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments I got about halfway through the audio edition tonight while mowing the lawn & was once again very impressed by the writing. I loved the way Westlake built up (view spoiler) Very well done.

I was surprised to see that it's been 4 years since I last read this. No wonder I got confused about where the Grofield novels fit in. I've read almost 500 books since then including some of the Drake series by Dan J. Marlowe which has some similarities. At least the first few books did. They went down hill pretty quickly, IIRC.

I do not care for the foreword because it has spoilers in it for other books in the series, some of which I hadn't read when I first listened to this. The way it is packaged, it's not easy to skip, either. I wish they'd make forewords a distinct file, but they didn't in this case. Otherwise, Ardai was right on with his assessments. Very well put.


Franky | 394 comments I just got my copy last night and will try to start soon. This is my first venture into this series, so I'm not that familiar with the Parker series and the character himself.


message 11: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "I do not care for the foreword because it has spoilers in it for other books in the series, some of which I hadn't read when I first listened to this."

Thanks for the warning about the forward, Jim. I don't understand why so many of them are written as if the reader has already read the book.


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments After finishing "Slayground" I had to go on to Butcher's Moon, not the next book, but one after that for reasons that are obvious to those who have read it. Lawrence Block did a great foreword for it. He says something about not needing to read the Parker books in order. The story is great, but there are a lot recurring characters so it's better if you know their back stories. He recommends reading the others first if you can, but says a reread is perfectly acceptable & enjoyable.

I'm a bear about spoilers obviously. I really wouldn't read Butcher's Moon without reading all the previous books. It gives away far too much. Thankfully, "Slayground" isn't nearly as bad in that respect. It's nice to know about Grofield & the previous exploits, but not necessary & the story itself doesn't contain too many spoilers.


message 13: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments Melki wrote: "Thanks for the warning about the forward, Jim. I don't understand why so many of them are written as if the reader has already read the book."

I don't think Ardai did it on purpose. I thought so too, but IIRC he was asked to write something about the Parker novels & then the publisher decided to slap it into a foreword when they were republished. I believe he set me straight on that score when I complained about it in another group. He's occasionally here on GR - perhaps the Hard Case Crime group since he's the editor of the HCC books. I need to mention that in my review.


message 14: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments My 4 star review of the book is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 15: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 910 comments Slayground is one of my favorite Parker novels, though i love them all. Slayground is the one that seems to stay in my mind & one of the few whose plot i can recall in it's entirety. The Hunter (Parker #1) being the another.


message 16: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
I finished a while ago, but forgot to comment here.

I guess I'm getting hard to please in my old age. Part of me was glad that the action was fairly realistic, and that Parker didn't turn into some over-the-top, one-man army, BUT . . . the 10-year-old boy part of me wanted MORE ACTION, more of a slam-bang, shoot-'em-up.

I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't read any more Parker.


Christopher (Donut) | 166 comments I'd say the thing about Parker "heists" is that each one is different.

Slayground is certainly not typical, in that Parker is very much on his own in this one.

I do like the "moral" of the story, in that everyone is in the book, like normal human beings, is thinking about the past or the future, or is in denial (e.g.- the crooked cops), whereas Parker has a preternaturally uncluttered mind.


message 18: by Franky (last edited Jun 24, 2017 01:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Franky | 394 comments I just finished and was trying to think about it a bit before commenting. I liked the setting/atmosphere of Parker being inside the "fun" house, gives it a really claustrophobic effect. I think a good deal of the set up is Parker investigating to see what he can use in the amusement park to his advantage and then plotting. This book seemed a little more action, less intrigue or character-driven, at least to me. The baddie dudes were a little bit bumbling and the main guy (whose name escapes me, I'll have to go back and look) really has to make sure everyone knows he's in charge and the top salami. Fun book, but not a series I'm sure I'd continue with.


message 19: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melki | 820 comments Mod
Franky wrote: "I just finished and was trying to think about it a bit before commenting. I liked the setting/atmosphere of Parker being inside the "fun" house, gives it a really claustrophobic effect. I think a g..."

Good point about the claustrophobia. I noticed that too, and it did add to the tension.


message 20: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 439 comments For those who aren't sure if they'll read another, Butcher's Moon has Parker stopping by again for the obvious reason. It brings together a lot of his old companions from other jobs too, so there are some series spoilers, but it might be worth it. I think it's one of the best & the continuity with this book is part of its charm for me. I went on to read it after this one & really enjoyed it.


Debbi Mack (debbimack) | 8 comments Years ago, I wrote one of my long-winded reviews about this book. If you're interested, here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Christopher (Donut) | 166 comments Butcher's Moon is another Parker I have read, but not re-read.
In part, it was oversold to me by one Parker fan.

I myself regretted that it abandoned the "quartet" structure of the rest of the series, a self-imposed form which Westlake/Stark used to great effect.

My favorite is probably The Outfit because it is so "rich." In part three, Stark describes three or four hits on Outfit operations in much detail and with great economy.. a casino, a numbers racket, a whole rigamarole about two 36 S brown jackets, layover money in a gas station safe. That is pretty much literally "action-packed."

I also LOVE all five of the "Comeback" Parkers.. Comeback, Backflash, Flashfire, Firebreak, and Breakout. They are actually pretty stark- Stark by name, stark by nature, but they are also masterly in writing and construction. "Late Parker is great Parker."

The Jason Stratham Parker movie was based on Flashfire, but the book is much better than the movie.


Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Franky wrote: "I just finished and was trying to think about it a bit before commenting. I liked the setting/atmosphere of Parker being inside the "fun" house, gives it a really claustrophobic effect. I think a g..."

Slayground is a very good stand alone but i dont think you can judge a seminal noir series with a character so great without reading book 1 The Hunter. Slayground is more thrilling, more fresh when you know Parker is usually a pro heist theif doing his work, avoding the Outfit, troubles like this.

This book is extra interesting because he has think, face alot of enemies and not just plan to rob a place, get away without cops getting in the way.


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