Re: RARA-AVIS: Parker's Procedurals, Westerns, and Their Film Adaptations

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 01 Mar 2010

  • Next message: Michael Jeter: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Parker's Procedurals, Westerns, and Their Film Adaptations"

    As a casual reader of Parker's work, I read several Spenser novels back in the 1980s. The only one I really remember is the the one in which Spenser acts as father to a boy, which recent discussion leads me to believe must have been "Early Autumn". It struck me as unusual and interesting at the time; however I didn't read any more Parker until fairly recently, when I picked up "Hundred-Dollar Baby", as the best bet among a limited selection of paperbacks in a drugstore. As I recall I enjoyed aspects of the book, it seemed professional and smooth and I was initially pulled in to the story, but in the end there was too much of the contrived and sentimental about it. Most recently, I got a couple of the books for this Rara-Avis month,
    "The Godwulf Manuscript" and another one whose title I forget and which I have yet to read. (The blurb says it's the one in which Spenser's sidekick Hawk is introduced.) I really liked the '70s period detail of "The Godwulf Manuscript" (then contemporary, of course) and I thought the wisecracking was at a pretty high level; it was an entertaining read. A comparison that came to mind was "The Rockford Files", the first season of which I've been watching and enjoying. Both of course are enthusiasms of Kevin Burton Smith, of this list, and I wouldn't be watching Rockford if it weren't for his advocacy, for which I thank him.

    So there it is, not much to it, more impressions of a relative newbie, as are so many of my postings to this list. At this point my semi-informed view of Parker is that he was a smart and capable pro whose stuff can probably be counted upon to entertain, but not, for me, a particularly exciting or interesting writer.

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