Butcher's Moon: A Parker Novel by Richard Stark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 Parker book of the original run and there's a feel of finality to it. Parker and Grofield go to work getting back the money Parker had to leave behind in Slayground and run afoul of the local syndicate. When Grofield gets shot and taken captive and Parker gets one of his fingers in the mail, Parker takes it personally and calls in a slew of favors.
Practically all of Parker's partners from the previous books who weren't double-crossed and/or killed in the previous volumes show up to lend a hand and share in the score, even Handy McKay. Parker is as relentless and ruthless as ever. The power struggle within the Tyler mob was well done, as was Parker's masterful way of taking them out.
As usual, Stark's clipped style moves the story along with the pace of an out of control freight train. Butcher's Moon is twice the length of most Parker tales and has three or four times as much action. The final shootout at the end is well-worth the price of admission (at the U of C price, not the hundreds the earlier printings fetch.)
"But I'm only the messenger!"
"Now you're the message," Parker said and shot him.
Any complaints? Not really, although I was expecting a higher bodycount among Parker's crew. I was half-hoping Parker would leave with the entire take from the score and leave his crew in the lurch. The ending would have been a fitting ending to the entire Parker series but I'm glad Stark wrote eight more, even if it did take him 25 years.
If you're a Parker fan, Butcher's Moon is not to be missed, especially at the Amazon price for this University of Chicago reprint.
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