Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: career and peak

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 19 Nov 2001

Gerald So wrote,
> I think Parker's published so regularly because he wants to stay in the
> public eye. We've never said, "Where'd he go? I wish he were still
> writing" about Parker. No doubt he was aware of Chandler's dropoff and
> wanted to avoid a similar fate. And he may be thinking, *If I can't
> avoid a dropoff, I'll at least avoid disappearing.* On some level, he
> may believe he hasn't dropped off *because* he's stayed in sight.
Gerald, I started partially rereading the early Parkers. Except for The Judas Goat, I had never looked at them since I first read them in the early and mid 70's. They reminded me why I had so liked him. His later books had finally become so annoying to me I had stopped reading him

As with baseball players, I think most authors peak. Sometimes it's their first or second book because they had something to say, said it and everything else is embroidering on that. Other times they gain from experience so they can compensate for that initial creative fire to lengthen to the period they are writing their best, but eventually it seems they must decline if they continue to write. When considering a writer's career I think you have to consider the bad ones as well as the best. I'm sure there are exceptions. I think Donald Westlake, has pretty consistently written quality books, but he has done that by writing stand alone books and those in very unlike series.

Perhaps, Parker has started new series because he realizes he really has written all he has to say about about Spenser, but either financially he doesn't want to stop or has bowed to his publishers who want a long series that will be presold. Maybe he has tried to fully explore Hawk's origins as Robert Crais did with Pike or kill off Susan as Healy did with Nancy Meagher. All we can judge is those books in the Spenser series that have been published.That is why the idea of peak/career as a way to compare authors seemed ideal when I thought of it. Mark .

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 19 Nov 2001 EST