Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Parker, Robert B. The Judas Goat. New York: Dell, 1983. 203 pp.

Ah, Spenser. Now this is a great book. As you may know, Parker has been writing books featuring his tough guy PI Spenser for about years now -- these books are the true heirs of Chandler and Hammett! I've been reading them for nearly 20 years but haven't quite caught up with some of the older ones, with one or two more to read before the first one I read new: A Catskill Eagle. It's also pretty well known that the last number of years the product has been a bit inconsistent. The books have never been bad or boring, just that some have seem to be written on auto-pilot. Spenser is too Spenserish. Hawk, Susan and other supporting characters just a little to predictable. Ah, but to read vintage Spenser, one from the golden age, never before uncorked, that is a rare treat. And, really, this is one of the best, right up there with Looking for Rachel Wallace. On on mission in 1976 to catch a bunch of terrorists that takes Spenser and Hawk to London, Amsterdam and, yes, Montreal during the Olympics, much mayhem and tough-guy-with-a-conscience-of-gold posing ensue. But the sparkle, originality, verve and -- dare I say it, integrity -- make it all worthwhile.

Check out: Spenser and Hawk: A Study of Good and Evil in the Fiction of Robert B. Parker by Gerald So and the Spenser page at the ever wonderful Thrilling Detectives site.


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