Wednesday, October 13, 2010

STARDUST by Robert B. Parker



There's something to be said for simple writing.

I'd just finished reading Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead, a great book but very complex with several different points of view.  Then I picked up Robert B. Parker's Stardust, a simple story told straight from one point of view.

It was a great change-of-pace.  I've come to think that simple storytelling is Parker's real strength.  Good entertainment, sometimes with a moral point of view I struggle with.

I only had one criticism of Bury Your Dead.  In the middle, I had the thought, "I'd wish she had cut out about 50 pages."  The book got too long for me.  Don't get me wrong.  Bury Your Dead will be remembered as a classic mystery novel.  I'm willing to take Bury Your Dead as it is, but I was ready for Parker.

In Stardust, a TV production company hires Spenser to protect a well-known, vacuous TV star Jill Joyce.  This woman is shallow and dense. Only at the end of the book, a powerful ending, do we learn her full story.

As always, Spenser stirs.  He asks questions, follows the leads where they go.

Spenser stories are not clue-driven stories.  They are "stir things up and see what happens" stories. 

And that's what this one is.  What happens is a murder, and a search into the tragic past of a well-known TV star.

Spenser and Susan are good hearted-people.  We begin to see their love of dogs, and we see again Spenser's penchant for saving struggling people.

According to our numbers, this is book seventeen in the Spenser series.  Whether or not we have it right, we are well into the Spenser saga. 

The more of the books I read, the more I admire Robert B. Parker as a writer.

5 comments:

Belle said...

I've read most of the Spenser books, but haven't read this one yet. Lately, I've been rereading them in audio - I'll keep an eye out for this one!

Joe Barone said...

Belle,
I had read many of the Spenser along the way. When Parker died, my wife and I decided to read the whole Spenser series in order. My local used book seller tells me he has several people trying to do that same thing.

Evan Lewis said...

I've read the series in order several times, and listened to them all in audio at least twice, and still laugh out loud every time.

BV Lawson said...

I haven't been able to read as many Spenser books as I'd like, and, although I've love to read them in order, my TBR pile is already groaning under the weight as it threatens to topple over (yes, it's an actual pile o'books). But perhaps I'll just grab this one out of order and dig in.

Joe Barone said...

BV,
This book is a quick and interesting read. It wouldn't hold you back long on the pile.

Evan,
Wow! For some of them, this is the second time I've read them, but not all of them, and I certainly didn't read them in order the first time.

There's something to be said for reading in order. They have continuing characters, and not just people like Susan, Hawk, Quirk and Belson. Other lesser characters reappear, develop and grow along the way.