My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Robert Parker is a good writer, though you wouldn’t think so with the kind of formulaic books that he writes. In the first sentence, I already had a sense of the narrator Spenser, plus the sentence itself wasn’t formula writing. By the end of the first page, I had a good handle on what kind of character Spenser is and a glimmer of the mystery to be solved. Even so, the glimmer didn’t give it all away; the mystery or problems to be solved unfolded as each part was dealt with and thus more revealed. It kept me hooked.
This book was published in 1985, but it very much reminded me of the 70s, the way people were, the old ways of communicating (payphones), but most particularly the violence. I watched the Spenser series in its original run (never read the books till now, this is my second), and it was like most shows of the genre back then: violent. The only diff between violence back then and now was in the amount of actual gore shown on the screen. Not so much back then, too much now. Parker’s book is like that — the violence is matter of fact, no added or numerous details and adjectives of how the blood splattered, no trying to drag the reader in emotionally so as to make them recoil. Perhaps that’s why we the reader can focus more on the plot and characters and not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shooting and hitting and knocking out.
Enjoyable escapist reading.