The HBO series Bored To Death features a quirky New York detective named Jonathan Ames, a lead character totally different than those in the detective genre I enjoy reading. In a recent episode, Ames tracks down his grifter father, played by Stacy Keach. The casting for this show is brilliant, as Keach portrayed rugged detective Mike Hammer in a mid-1980s TV series that was based upon the character created by legendary pulp fiction novelist Mickey Spillane. After seeing Keach, I wanted to read some detective fiction and that meant Robert Parker. I picked up Love And Glory expecting gritty gumshoe Spenser. Instead, I got a male romance novel featuring a guy named Boone Adams. The story starts in 1950 at Colby College in Maine as freshman Boone falls in love. We then follow Boone over the next two decades as he serves a tour in Korea, followed by various jobs across the country including a stint at a Madison Avenue ad agency straight out of the TV series Mad Men. During this time, alcohol takes its tool on Boone, who eventually becomes homeless drifter. Boone finally turns his life around, returning to school, earning a degree and continuing the romance. Like Bored To Death, Love And Glory wasn’t at all what I intended, but I still enjoyed the diversion. With that being said, I still can’t wait to read Parker’s next Spenser novel.
Archive for category Robert Parker
I grew up watching Spenser: For Hire on TV and it wasn’t until many years later that I started reading Robert Parker‘s Spenser novels. I have no idea why I waited so long since I have a soft spot in my heart for novels featuring rugged detectives. The Widening Gyre, Parker’s 11th novel and 10th featuring Spenser, finds the rough-and-tumble Boston gumshoe investigating the blackmail of one of his state’s candidates for U.S. Senate. Similar to Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, which I also watched as a kid and read years later, Spenser uses his considerable brawn and fists as he works his way through the case, which predictably takes him from Beantown to the Nation’s Capital. (My small criticism of the book is that Parker messes up a couple of D.C. street names and has Spenser correctly driving the wrong way down a one-way street.) In addition to some fisticuffs, the book includes small doses of sex and drugs to go with a hefty helping of food and drink. We also catch a glimpse of Spenser’s friend and enigmatic partner, Hawk, a bad-ass character reminiscent of John Shaft. In typical Parker fashion, the book is short and the read is quick and entertaining. Sadly, Parker passed away last year, but another one of my favorite authors, Ace Atkins, will carry on the tradition of the Spenser series.