Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A CATSKILL EAGLE by Robert B. Parker
Sunday's quote was from The Widening Gyre. It said, "The soul wears various vestments."
In A Catskill Eagle, Spenser and Parker wear their action hero vestments.
The book is filled with action. At one point, Spenser and Hawk jump onto the top of a speeding SUV. It reminded me of Roy Rogers riding Trigger up to a stagecoach, jumping onto the back of the stagecoach or, even, sometimes jumping on the horses and hanging on the wagon tongue.
Except Spenser is more violent. This is the book were Spenser gets his killing-violence credentials.
Susan writes Spenser a letter telling him she has asked Hawk to rescue her from the grip of a possessive lover.
Never mind that Susan went with the man because she wanted to. And she is not being physically abused. She is being held against her will by a man she claims to love (in some ways, probably the true hallmark of abuse).
Hawk ends up in jail, charged with murder. Spenser breaks him out, and the two of them go on a killing spree, breaking into a couple of impregnable places to finally save her. They take on a rich, violent gunrunner who has his own private army.
At one point in the story, Hawk tells Spenser, "You spent your life in a mean business, babe, trying not to be mean. And so far you got away with it mostly. But there's stuff on the line that never been on the line before."
And that's true.
This is probably the book that brought the Spenser series back to what people such as me wanted it to be--a story in the line of Raymond Chandler or of the Lew Archer stories. Now the personal part of the story, though playing a huge part, is less than (or at least no more than equal to) the action part.
Of course, not everybody sees things in the same way. My wife likes watching Susan, whom she sees as "screwed up," struggling with her dysfunction. She is more into that kind of thing than I am.
So I liked the book, and I suspect she will. She's a couple books behind me as we work our way through the series.
Again, this is a very literate book. There are references to the literature Parker spent his life reading and studying. And, as always, the writing is crisp and clean, a joy to read.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series.