Monday, January 25, 2010
Since The Professional is the last complete Spenser novel by the late Robert B. Parker I'd like to say it was a return to the glory days of the series. That's not the case, but it's definitely a notch above the last couple of entries in the long running saga of Spenser. In this one Spenser is hired by a lawyer representing a group of rich society wives. All four members of the group are being blackmailed by the same man, with whom they've all had affairs. They'd like for Spenser to make the blackmail stop. Seems simple enough until the bodies begin to pile up.
As I said, not a classic Spenser, but pretty good. I think that knowing it would be my last visit with my favorite Private Eye added something to it. I perhaps laughed harder than I would have at the wisecracks, and nodded my head as Parker trotted out some of his favorite bits of business. Many of the series regulars were there. The Boston cops Quirk and Belson. Gangster Tony Marcus and his bodyguards Ty-bop and Junior. Pearl the wonder dog. Professional shooter Vinnie Morris. There was perhaps a bit too much of Spenser's girlfriend Susan and perhaps not enough of Spenser's dangerous pal, Hawk, but that was something I'd come to expect. The Susan/Hawk ratio tended to vary from book to book and I figured I'd get more or less of one of the other in the next book. But now there won't be a next book.
Spenser did a little more actual detective work in this one than in some of the other recent books and there were some nice plot twists, especially near the end. But mostly there was Spenser just being Spenser one last time. Wisecracking, straight shooting, two fisted Spenser. An era has ended, folks.