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.


Naomi Johnson said...

You encourage me to pick this series up again and wade through the down times to get to the good ones again.

Joe Barone said...

Well, good. I'm like a lot of people, I quit reading the series after the self-involved Spenser and Susan thing. Then I picked up a few of the later books and read them. Now it is interesting to me to see a writer's whole career, and to watch the ups and downs.

Bev said...

I agree, I stopped reading Spencer for awhile. If you haven't read his westerns, Gunman's Rhapsody, Appaloosa to name a few...they are terrific and I strongly recommend them. Very different style from his mysteries. Also, Double Play, which is a fiction take on when Jackie Robinson started out in baseball.

Bev said...

I agree, I had stopped reading the Spencer mysteries for awhile too. I really love Parker's westerns, Gunmans Rhapsody and Appaloosa to name a few. Very different style of writing. One of my favorites by him is Double Play, a fiction take on when Jackie Robinson started out in baseball. Thanks for reminding me to pick his last Spencer....

Joe Barone said...

I've only read a few of the Westerns. What you've written here is helpful. It tells me what to look for especially. Thanks.

I did read Double Play and liked it a lot.