Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cold Service -- Robert B. Parker

I've expressed my affection for the works of Robert B. Parker before, here and here. And also here. So it won't come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog that I enjoyed Cold Service, the latest in the Spenser series. I'm sure the title refers to the way revenge tastes best, and this is a revenge book. Remember the book in which Spenser gets all shot up and has to be nursed back to health so that he can get revenge and become himself again? Well, this time it's Hawk who's all shot up and who has to be nursed, etc. Naturally there's much discussion of how a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do and how if he doesn't do it he's not a man and so on. What did you expect? This is a Spenser novel, right? Anyway, it's also a "one man against municipal corruption" book, except that it's really two men, Hawk and Spenser. It's Parker's version of Hammett's Red Harvest.

I've decided that Parker is writing minimalist crime fiction. Cold Service is mostly dialogue (as are all Parker's novels these days). It's fast, it's efficient, it gets the job done. A lot of it is overly familiar (even I, as big a fan as there is, get a little tired of the stuff with Susan, not to mention the dog), but I still enjoyed just about every page of it. Whatever it is that Parker does, he does it extremely well. I'd love to be able to write that way.

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