Blog Archive

View My Stats
Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Big Score by K.J. Parker review

Order The Big Score over HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt. According to the biographical notes in some of Parker's books, Parker has previously worked in law, journalism, and numismatics, and now writes and makes things out of wood and metal. It is also claimed that Parker is married to a solicitor and now lives in southern England. According to an autobiographical note, Parker was raised in rural Vermont, a lifestyle which influenced Parker's work.

FORMAT: Subterranean Press (March 31, 2021). Page Count - 88 pages. Cover design by Vincent Chong.

One of the problems with being dishonest is that you’re forced to spend much of your life in the company of very bad people. This isn’t as negative as it sounds until you reach the point when you have no choice but totrust them. And then, surprise surprise, they let you down.
As K.J. Parker’s writing fan, I’ll read anything he publishes. So far, it works for all involved. He gets sales; I get quality entertainment. I adore his shamelessly corrupted and self-centered characters. Saloninus shines as one of Parker’s best creations. He’s a genius and a fraud. His groundbreaking works on mathematics, physics, philosophy, and his plays changed the world and inspired countless scientists and artists. In theory, he should live a long and prosperous life; In reality, he’s short on money and on the run from those he owes the money to. 

All I know for sure is that from time to time I’ve found myself in dire straits, penniless and on the run, always because of something I did in the last country, or the one before that, and under those oppressive circumstances I’ve been forced to do things—steal things—that a flawlessly honest man would’ve left alone. It didn’t help that I’m so smart, and honest people are, in comparison, so very stupid.
Saloninus likes when life gets exciting. His creditors not so much; Things escalate and Saloninus fakes his own death and flees the country. But there’s no rest for the wicked, even after they die. His former accomplice, an incomparable forgery artist, finds him and coaxes to attempt a con. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity: after Saloninus's death, the prices of his manuscripts exploded. So, he just needs to write a new play and his accomplice will make sure it looks perfect (right paper, right ink, traces of sweat on the paper, etc.) and they’ll sell it for millions. A foolproof scheme, right? 

Well…Not really.

K.J. Parker mastered the novella format and packs his shorter works with so much humor, cynicism, and brilliance, that I always read them in one sitting. The Big Score thrilled me with the entertaining relationship between two con-artists, dark humor, and quotable lines. I loved the pacing. Parker provides a great balance between the current storyline and vignettes of protagonists’ cooperation in the past. It references some of Parker’s shorter fiction, and I think his fans will love this aspect of the story. 

Saloninus is smarter than almost everyone around him; he is arrogant, selfish, and ambitious. And yet, I love his voice and unreliable narration. He provides humorous observations on people, society, and the art of writing. Like this one:
All I had to do was choose a plot from some masterpiece I admired by somebody dead, beat it a bit out of shape so that the theft wasn’t immediately obvious, decide who the characters were going to be, get to know them, and write down what they wanted to say to each other. That’s all there is to it. Anybody who tries to tell you that writing plays constitutes work is lying to you. Essentially all you’re doing is eavesdropping on your imaginary friends, pausing now and then to refill your inkwell.

The Big Score is witty, surprising, and hilarious. It's the third entry in the Saloninus Saga and I hope it won't be the last one.

0 comments:

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Combat Codes” by Alexander Darwin!!!


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Grievar's Blood” by Alexander Darwin


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Arkhel Conundrum” by Sarah Ash!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Company Of Birds” by Nerine Dorman!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE