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Book Review on The Professional by Robert B. Parker
They just keep getting better.
When Robert B. Parker's Spenser was first introduced in The Godwulf Manuscript way back in 1973 he was a man of action, scruples and a code that at least he understood. Throughout the 34 books that followed Spenser did not always make the decision others would have, but he knew pretty much what he thought should be done.
In The Professional, Parker has Spenser soul searching more than usual. He can't quite seem to come to grips with the answer this time. The right thing to do seems to elude him for most of the book. At first, I thought I was not liking this one as much as the others. But by the end of the book, I was happy with it again, whew!
Four women are being blackmailed by their former lover. Spenser, Boston's toughest PI, is hired to discover the guy's true identity and get him to quit. That would seem to be an easy challenge but Spenser ends up liking the man(sort of), being unable to get him to stop (sort of), then having to solve several murders and bring the case to a justifiable conclusion(sort of).
To me Parker's style is simple while not simplistic. I understand he writes five pages a day. That's it. Time to go get a couple of Sam Adams beers, curl up on the couch with Pearl or Susan, and watch baseball. And yes "We'd be fools not to".
But these books explore important issues such as love, sex, friendship, morals, marriage, loyalty, monogamy, racial bias, honor, tolerance or the lack of it, crime and punishment, dogs, beer, and cooking.
RBP has also written several westerns. Apaloosa was the first in a trilogy and has been made into a movie with a lot of the dialogue left intact. Well worth a look.
If you like female private detectives, Parker has the Sunny Randal series going and if you are a Tom Selleck fan, you have probably seen the Jesse Stone made for tv movies based on Parker's books. Sunny has seven books and Jesse has six to date. They have crossed paths in a couple of books and Spenser has met Stone once.
Word on the street ( ok on the web) is that TNT is looking at bringing Spenser back to TV as a series. For me Urich and Brooks will be hard to replace but anything is possible. Look what they did with Star Trek and 007!
Some video from the series.
Link to best on the web on all things Robert B. Parker
- Bullets and Beer: An in-depth research site Robert Parker and his best known creation Spenser, a Bos
A complete research guide to the Spenser novels of Robert B. Parker