Butcher's Moon - Richard Stark 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 events conspire against them leaving them no alternative but to stir up the pot, pit one against the other, and still try for the seventy-three thousand, a number that remains immutable. (Had I been Parker, I would have tacked on many thousands for the trouble.)

Some marvelous scenes. A particular favorite was Parker’s method for working out which residents might be gone on an extended vacation as he searches for an apartment to use as a temporary base of operations after Grofield is shot.

The description of the mobster’s office is evocative and vivid, typical of the sardonic wit that permeates the Parker novels. The room was a disaster, a combination of so many misunderstandings and misconceptions that it practically became a work of art all in itself, like the Watts Towers. It was a den, or studio, or office-away-from-office; called by the family “Daddy's room,” no doubt. The walnut-veneer paneling, very dark, made the already small square room even smaller and squarer, darkening it to the point where even a white ceiling and a white rug would have had a hard time getting some light into the room. Instead of which, the ceiling was crisscrossed with Styrofoam artificial wooden beams, à la restaurants trying for an English-country-inn effect, and the two-foot-by-four-foot rectangles between the beams had been painted in a kind of peach or coral color; Consumptive's Upchuck was the color description that came to Grofield's mind. While the floor was covered with an oriental rug featuring dark red figures on a black background, with a dark red fringe buzzing away all the way around. Would there be a kerosene lamp with green glass shade, converted to electricity? Yes, there would, on the mahogany table to the right, along with the clock built into the side of a wooden cannon; above these on the wall were the full-color photographs of The Guns That Won the West lying on beds of red or green velvet. Don’t you love “consumptive upchuck”?

A very entertaining Parker novel, intricate in detail, typical of the other Parkers as things never work out as planned for Parker who has to use his wits to overcome the obstacles. Therein lies their appeal.