Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Catskill Eagle

A Catskill Eagle, the 12th book in the series by Robert B. Parker - written in 1985, opens with Spenser receiving a letter from Susan Silverstone in California. She's in trouble and his buddy Hawk is in jail. That's all it takes for our hero to spring into action, and that leads on a path of breaking the law and causing destruction in hopes to find and rescue Susan.

Parker has clearly evolved Spenser to an anti-hero at this point. Sure, he does things in the name of good, but he and Hawk aren't above killing folks who deserve it or causing major property damage. Beneath it all, Spenser has a heart of gold, but he does what it takes to get the job done. Someone in this novel jokingly calls him "Superman", but he is hardly that.

And I'm okay with that.

An action hero sometimes has to do thing on his own compass to get the job done. Look at any of the 80's action films like those in the Diehard or the Lethal Weapon series. These guys are tough as nails and know what lines they'll cross and when they'll cross them. Given this was written in the mid-80's, maybe Parker's evolution of Spenser is a way to mirror the times. Hard to say.

Still, a good book - lots of twists and turns. The ending seemed a little anticlimactic to me, but the rest holds up solidly and we really get more of the complexity of the relationship between Spenser and Susan.

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