Baron is clever - perhaps too clever. He sits on the heavily protected island of Cockaigne, a mini-Las Vegas forty miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, raking in as much as $250,000 some nights, laughing at the Outfit, who can’t collect their cut. Now the Outfit can no longer stand the loss of face - not to mention the loss of revenue. That’s why they’ve sent for Parker, who knows that the line between success and failure on this score would be exactly the length of the barrel of a .38. Double-crosses and double-dealings from the word go, not to mention the arrival of Parker’s flamboyant friend Grofield, make this one of Richard Stark’s best.
©1966 Richard Stark. All rights reserved. (P)2011 Richard Stark
Several times I laughed or enjoyed something surprising or unexpected. Parker is on a job. Things go wrong. How he and his partners respond is neat to watch.
A fun scene: The Outfit assigned Crystal to help Parker with part of the job. They were on a boat going to an island. She talked too much. Parker discovered the way to handle her. When she paused he grunted. She turned his grunts into whatever words she wanted to hear and went on with her monologue again. She’s deathly afraid of water. She asked Parker “If this boat sinks or anything you won’t leave me or anything will you? You’ll help me get to shore?” If the boat sank Parker knew this girl would be hysterical and would drown with her anyone she could get her hands on. If the boat sank, Parker would get as far from her as he could as fast as possible. But he said “I’ll help you. Don’t worry about it.”
The narrator Stephen R. Thorne was good, but I wish he had a rougher or more gravely voice for Parker. His Parker voice was too clean cut and normal sounding.
This is book 8 in the 24 book series. It’s about half the length of a typical novel. If you are new to the series, I suggest reading the first three, and then pick and choose among the rest. I prefer reading them in order since there is a flow, and some books have spoilers about prior books. These stories are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They don’t go to jail. They’re smart. Parker is the main bad guy, a brilliant strategist. He partners with different guys for different jobs in each book.
The first three books in order are: The Hunter (Point Blank movie with Lee Marvin 1967) (Payback movie with Mel Gibson), The Man with the Getaway Face (The Steel Hit), The Outfit.
Genre: noir crime fiction
Love thought provoking and well written mystery or suspense novels.
Not the best work and narration was boring. Save your money for something more worthwhile.
I love the Parker books and hope they keep pumping these out! Richard Stark's inimitable style in full speed.
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