Friday, November 5, 2010
DOUBLE DEUCE by Robert B. Parker
Parker's Double Deuce is Hawk's story.
Hawk hires on to find who killed a fourteen-year-old mother and her infant. The pay is zero. Hawk enlists Spenser to help for half the take.
Among the tasks they take on is the task of ridding a local housing project (Double Deuce) of its resident gang. The gang is backed by Tony Marcus, a local mobster.
Spenser is Hawk's backup. Spenser's part of the story consists of Susan's experiment that she and Spenser live together. In doing so, they learn something about themselves and each other. It is something Spenser already knew, but Susan had to learn it.
We get to know Hawk better than in any of the previous books. We also see Hawk operating out of a different kind of ethic. Hawk has, maybe not feelings, but a sense of how things should work out if they can.
This was a quite different book than those before. Different except for one thing--
I have a blog friend who is always talking about the sin of "dumping the backstory," telling people's past in thoughts or in other uninteresting ways.
Parker never dumps the backstory. He always tells the present story straight through. He does it in a skillful way I don't think I could ever master. Spenser is "in the moment," more than most of the other heroes in the books I read.
Telling a simple story straight through: It looks so easy, and when you try it, it is so hard.
Double Deuce is a simple, straight-through story which takes its characters a larger step than usual along the way.