Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cheap Shot--Book Review

Photo: The book's hardcover...cover?  From its Goodreads page.

Another good, compulsively-readable entry into the series by Atkins.

There's not much here you haven't seen before if you've read the others by Parker and Atkins.  But this one still stands apart from the others because of its purposely scattered structure.  Spenser's all over the place, from Boston to NYC and back again.  He speaks to old characters (Gerry Broz runs a fish store?!?), only some of whom are actually useful for this case.

This is the one startling aspect of this book.  Old, non-regular characters either come up (Broz; Tony Marcus; Ty-Bop) or are brought up (Rachel Wallace; April Kyle) simply to stir them up in the readers' minds.  Doing this could've led to disaster, almost like name-dropping, but Atkins handles it well.  It doesn't distract.  It adds.

This one reads a little more gritty, a little more true-to-life.  This is also different than many, but not all, of Parker's.  His often tended to get wrapped up neatly.  The better ones, now that I think about it, didn't end that way: Looking for Rachel Wallace and April Kyle's second (and last) come to mind.

Who-dun-it is not a surprise, exactly, although I was a little surprised about how it suddenly came to a head.  I mean this in a good way.  It makes sense, and the reader and Spenser were kind of heading there, but it all gets sidetracked, as did Spenser, as does the reader.  So when the ending happens, it all makes sense, and isn't really surprising, and yet it was a nice, little twist at the same time.

In a gritty, realistic kind of way.  Would it really happen that way?  The motel room?  The trunk?  Yes, I believe it really could happen that way.  But in the trunk?  Yes, because he just didn't care.  (I won't reveal the end, so you'll just have to read it to fully grasp what I'm talking about.)  Would it have ended that way in Parker's hands?  Nope.  But that's okay.

It works.  That's all that matters.  Things change.  People change.

And, often, they don't change.  The bad ones, when they get really pissed, tend to stay that way.  And then they do bad things.  And then everything sort of goes to hell.

Sometimes that kind of thing ends well.  Other times--I'm thinking Cormac McCarthy here--they don't.  As it is in real life as well.

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