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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review of Robert B. Parker’s Spare Change

I picked up Robert B. Parker’s Spare Change to read because I have enjoyed his Spenser Mysteries series. Having gotten to know those characters in the TV series, Spenser for Hire, which was based on the books, I was able to get into the flow of those books without a problem. However, the same choppy dialogue that helped give Spenser and Hawk from the other series their unique characteristics, came off as laughable and added to a void of character in this installment of Sunny Randall novels.

Sunny Randall is a Boston private investigator pulled in to tracking a serial killer who had eluded her father during his career as a police officer. The story eventually becomes a battle of wits between Sunny and the second generation “Spare Change” killer.

Unfortunately, neither one of them is very witty.

A dialogue-heavy novel trying to depict the stereotypical fictional Boston police officer shouldn’t go anywhere near trying to be a psychological thriller. The book is dominated by dialogue that often doesn’t stretch beyond half a line of text. It actually became comical at times. No doubt Parker was going for realism, but it was just over done, and, again, there needed to be a hell of a lot more depth at some point when the author is going for a psychological thriller.

An added bonus was reading Parker’s attempts to show the feminine side of his female protagonist. First of all, it was a complete departure from the rest of the writing, making these segments awkward enough. Throw in the fact that it read very much like a man trying to write a woman, and it’s clear the author should have left it out.

It’s also clear I should have stayed with the Spenser novels.

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