This is the first book in the Spenser series: a private eye mystery. Nothing unusual about the plot or method of solving the mystery, and some of the motivations and events might be a little weak. But I’m really enjoying the series. He makes me laugh at unexpected times. It’s not a lot of laughs - maybe once every other chapter. But it’s rare for an author to get a laugh out of me. So it’s worth it.
The narrator Michael Prichard was very good.
Genre: PI mystery
A lot of killing. I was smiling a lot at the end.
This is one of the best Parker books. It’s better if you read Slayground before this. This continues that story. This is sooo good. Great revenge! Parker takes on a local mob. They are no match for Parker. They are like children next to him.
I was intrigued with a comment in the Forward by Lawrence Block. When Stark was writing the first Parker novel, Block asked Stark if he knew where the story was going. Stark said “Sort of. I’ll just keep writing and see where it goes.” That reminded me of Stephen King. King said something like he never knows his plot or ending in advance. He just starts with an inspiration. I think that’s a great way to write. Stark is doing the same.
The narrator Joe Barrett was pretty good, but I did not like his voice for Parker. It sounded too normal-guy-like. I prefer Keith Szarabajka.
This is book 16 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They’re smart. Most don’t go to jail. Parker is the main bad guy, a brilliant strategist. He partners with different guys for different jobs in each book.
If you are new to the series, I suggest reading the first three and then choose among the rest. A few should be read in order since characters continue in a sequel fashion. Those are listed below (with my star ratings). The rest can be read as stand alones.
The first three books in order:
4 stars. The Hunter (Point Blank movie with Lee Marvin 1967) (Payback movie with Mel Gibson)
3 ½ stars. The Man with the Getaway Face (The Steel Hit)
4 stars. The Outfit.
Read these two in order:
5 stars. Slayground (Bk #14)
5 stars. Butcher’s Moon (Bk #16)
Read these four in order:
4 ½ stars. The Sour Lemon Score (Bk #12)
2 ½ stars. Firebreak (Bk #20)
(not read) Nobody Runs Forever (Bk #22)
2 ½ stars. Dirty Money (Bk #24)
Others that I gave 4 or more stars to:
The Jugger (Bk #6), The Seventh (Bk#7), The Handle (Bk #8), Deadly Edge (Bk#13), Flashfire (Bk#19)
GENRE: noir crime fiction
The plot and characters were pretty good. Not great, but enjoyable.
So many PI mysteries are 1st person which I do not like. This is 3rd person. I was so pleased with 3rd person that I rounded to 4 stars. Sadly I noticed the author used 1st person in some of his other PI mystery novels.
Many say this book created the classic “noir” genre.
I recently read a different book and gave it a low rating because the detective just went around asking questions. This book has more than just asking questions, which I like. Example: Sam (the PI) asks a taxi driver questions and learns a woman bought a newspaper. So Sam bought the same newspaper to see if there was a clue. He also searched her apartment for newspaper copies.
I like Sam Spade’s physical description, a blonde satan.
I would have liked more character development.
The narrator Eric Meyers was good.
I was laughing toward the end. A beautiful female repeatedly lied to Sam. And then she acts all sweet saying we love each other, don’t you love me? She is thinking he’ll look past all that and do what she wants - so he can be with her. He says something like yeah I love you, but he still turns her in to the cops.
Genre: PI mystery