Tuesday, October 19, 2010
PASTIME by Robert B. Parker
Robert B. Parker's Pastime is one of the hallmark books in the Spenser series.
In Early Autumn, Spenser rescued Paul Giacomin, not just from a dysfunctional family, but also from an aimless life. He helped Paul find love and purpose. Now Paul asks Spenser to find Paul's missing mother.
Along the way, Spenser recalls some of his own history.
This book has two parallel stories, the story of Spenser and Paul, and the story of the mobster Joe Broz and his son Gerry.
Pastime includes one of the best-written forest-chase scenes in the Spenser books. It is easy to believe that scene was written by the same man who wrote the later Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch westerns and the young Spenser novel Chasing the Bear.
In a brief 1991 New York Times review of Pastime, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote, ". . .Robert B. Parker continues the return to the form he displayed in his previous two outings, Playmates and Stardust." I think Lehmann-Haupt is right.
As I see it, Parker was strong in the early books. Then the Spenser books fell off a little (and least for my interest). His stories became too centered on the self-involved Susan and Spenser. Then Parker came back strong in these three books.
So, my wife and I continue reading and enjoying the Spenser books.