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

From: Michael Jeter (
Date: 01 Mar 2010

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    For me, _Early Autumn_ ranks as one of my favorite reads, perhaps because it reflects a great deal of my personal life: a son raised by a father who, for one reason or another, did not teach him the things that men know, what Raymond Carver described as "the places to fish."

    As a man who has always questioned and second guessed himself, I like the man who, sure of himself, can help others. Yes, that help might include solving a crime, but it goes to something deeper: a way to live, to look at the world, as the cold gutless place in which we live, and still see the slivers of light and warmth: friendship, love, honor.

    I realize these are just the things that irritate many, and I think that's fine - not that you are irritated, but that in the vast sea of detective fiction, no one author fits every reader. I have many fine novelists left to read, and I do not argue that Parker is the greatest, or anything of the sort. I do not pretend any authority except this: I know what I like.

    On 3/1/10, Stephen Burridge <> wrote:
    > 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.
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    Michael Damian Jeter
    New Orleans, LA
    Literacy, Music, and Democracy

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