Well, now I’ve done gone and finished the series. Since I just took Painted Ladies back to the library, I picked up the last book in the Spenser series. Well, the last Parker wrote. Whether his estate keeps it going or not, this is the end of the series for me.
This book borrows a bit from Early Autumn, as Spenser takes on an apprentice to teach him how to be a man. It also borrows some from Stardust, High Profile, and the other show business plots in that it deals with a movie star (not a television star, not a radio talker, so completely different!), a large movie star, who might have killed a girl during some sexual games (fortunately, most modern audiences won’t know Parker is recycling Fatty Arbuckle). Complications ensue when Spenser not only gets fired for insubordination, but continues to discover that the mob owns this particular movie star as a money laundering device.
It’s recycled, and longtime fans and history buffs will know where it comes from, but it’s still not among the worst of the books involved. Again, Parker doesn’t summon the posse to help him, relying on his new apprentice, a native American. It’s not like Gerry Broz or the zombie version of April Kyle appear. The chapters follow the recently common chapter of action followed by chapter of talking to Susan trope, but at least though she’s a therapist, she’s his girl. So it’s probably worth a read.
Also, given that it’s written in the OE and not the DYB (Dark Years of Bush), there are no gratuitous jibes at Republicans or Bush in this book. It gives me heart that there’s a block of time in which modern detective fiction is written that does not slap at half the country to prove the detective or narrator is a sophisticated thinker.
You know, maybe I will try one of the new guy’s Spenser books. I might like them better than some of Parker’s postings. But I need to get out of the habit of getting books from the library. I have enough books to read now. And as for my Parker collection, as some of you know, I have one of the best Parker collections in Missouri if not the country. I’ve gotten out of the habit of buying the books whether new or used, but I’ll probably fill out the collection from used book fairs and stores as time goes on and through Ebay (for the hardback of Mortal Stakes, the only one from the early ones I lack in hardback). I used to have images of my collection on Geocities, but that’s gone now, obviously. If you’re interested (or, more to the point, if you don’t explicitly stop me), I’ll get those up sometime.