Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hundred-Dollar Baby

Robert B. Parker's Hundred-Dollar Baby is his 34th Spenser novel. A new one comes out every year, and when you've been reading them for as long as I have, each new novel is like a visit from an old friend. That's both good and bad. It's good because the characters have a long history and are well-defined. It's bad because after so many years the reader can anticipate how the story will unfold. With a long-running series like the Spenser novels, the journey becomes more important than the final destination. Well... normally that's the case.

Hundred-Dollar Baby breaks that mold. Sure, the story begins like most Spenser novels when he accepts case for a young woman [who first appeared in two earlier books, Ceremony (1982) and Taming a Sea Horse (1986)]. The story moves along in a very predictable fashion until about 3/4 of the way through when it takes on an unexpected twist. Hundred-Dollar Baby concludes with one of the most memorable endings of any Spenser novel.

If you've never read Robert B. Parker's Spenser, then I'd suggest that you start with The Goldwolf Manuscript [the first in the series]. If you used to read the Spenser novels, but drifted away, then Hundred-Dollar Baby would be a good place to rekindle your friendship.

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