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|The Magnificent Spenser -- I Mean,
|Quick read, no mental strain, interesting characters,
new locale, solved so far as Spenser is concerned but the Authorities will
never know, snappy dialog, what's new?
Parker borrows Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, though this one might be
closer to the Western version, The Magnificant Seven, as Spenser and Hawk
and five other tough guys from previous adventures set out to rescue the
Yuppie boomtown of Potshot from the sleazy gang that hang out on the edge
of town and make their living off extortion and "protection" paid by the
Originally hired by a local businesswoman to bring to justice her husband's
killer(s), Spenser is also retained by other local prominent citizens to
clear out the riffraff whose activities threaten the actual survival of the
town. And they're not too concerned as to how he does it, either.
Of course, he does.
Interestingly enough, as much as "Magnificent Seven", i felt strong echoes
of other Westerns in this story (not surprising, given the setting). I was
somewhat reminded of Donald Hamilton's novel (and the film made from it),
The Big Country, whenever Spenser found himself confronting Preacher, the
leader of the local Bad Element.
But the film i began thinking of, more and more strongly as i got into the
last third of the book, was Sergio Leone's masterpiece, Once Upon a Time
in the West, which i strongly recommend; in fact, after reading this book,
you might enjoy spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon watching a double-feature
-- "Magnificent Seven" and "Once Upon a Time in the West", both of which
are available from Amazon.
All in all, Parker is still not up to his best in this boook, but it's better
than some others in the series. I will warn those who haen't read Parker
or Spenser before that this is *not* the place to start -- given that Spenser
has History with virtually every character in the book, History that is alluded
to but never really stated, leaving a goodly part of the book's setup between
I'm still waiting for the book when Spenser comes face-to-face with Sunny
Randall or Jesse Stone; given the number of acquaintances in common that
they have, and the relatively small area in which all three operate, it has
A Note: Parker has
either spent some Quality Time in Atlanta or Done His Research Well -- both
in this book and in the second Jesse Stone book he gets the
nightclub-and-shopping district, Buckhead, just about perfect. But i think
he's still getting the local terminology wrong about roads, with local characters
referring to Interstate Highways as "Route so-and-so" -- to Spenser, "Route
20" would be I-20, which cuts through town down by Turner Field. But if he
asked an Atlantan how to get to "Route 20", he'd probably wind up about seventy
miles north of there, at Georgia 20 near the Mall of