Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Richard Stark's Parker Book Four: Slayground

Written by Donald Westlake
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke

The latest of Darwyn Cooke's Parker books, Slayground, is immediately gripping, but is also the slightest entry in the series so far.

Parker, the master criminal, has participated in the heist of an armoured car in Buffalo in winter, but things went bad when his driver ended up flipping their getaway car.  Hurt, Parker runs with the loot, and takes shelter in Fun Island, an amusement park that has been closed for the winter.

He hasn't gotten into the place unobserved though, as a pair of crooked cops and their criminal accomplices see him get into grounds of the park, and more importantly, see him with a large bag of cash.  Once they learn about the heist, they decide to go in to Funland and help themselves to Parker's score.

Parker has some time to prepare for them though, and we sit back and watch him go about his business.

This set-up gives Cooke a lot of opportunity to do some cool things with the visuals in this book.  There is a fold-out map of Funland, and Cooke uses a number of interesting layouts, as Parker runs around setting up traps.

Cooke's retro-stylings always make his Parker books a treat.  We really don't know Parker as a character (and I have no reason to believe you learn more about him from reading Westlake's original novels), but he works well as a cipher in these kinds of situations.

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