I read HIGH PROFILE, Robert B. Parker’s new Jesse Stone novel, today in about three hours. The book has got to be maybe 50,000 words, tops. No wonder he can write four books a year. It barely qualifies, word count wise, as a novel and they’ve got guts asking $25 for it.
Even so, there’s a rhythm to Parker’s writing that I enjoy, even in his bad books. This wasn’t one of the bad ones but it wasn’t one of the good ones, either. The plotting was weak, the description sparse, and the dialog less punchy that usual. But at least Jesse Stone was more or less the character he once was before Parker emasculated him in BLUE SCREEN, the last Sunny Randall novel that is, perhaps, the author’s worst book ever.
I really enjoyed the last three standalones Parker wrote — GUNMAN’S RHAPSODY, DOUBLE PLAY and APPALOOSA — but his last few "series" novels have been disappointments. The last good one was STONE COLD, a Jesse Stone novel. I wonder if he wouldn’t do himself, his readers, and his regular characters a big favor by resting his various series for a while (and forgetting about Sunny Randall altogether) and doing a few more standalones.
4 thoughts on “High Profile”
Was HIGH PROFILE as bad as you feared it would be after BLUE SCREEN? I agree that STONE COLD was Parker’s last exceptional series book, but I liked SCHOOL DAYS more than the last few Spensers.
I’ve traditionally bought Parker’s books in paperback, but I agree the prices are getting high for the amount of punch he delivers. I am NOT paying $9.99 for the paperback of BLUE SCREEN.
HIGH PROFILE is readable, if you’re a fan, although there’s a surprising lack of plot in it.
I liked the last two Spenser novels reasonably well; much more so than I’ve cared for either of his other two series.
My Parker experiences are based on an absurdly small sample: I read one Spenser novel (I forget the title) in the mid-80’s, as part of an “American Novel” class in college; and then “Cold Service” last year. “Cold Service” was like a once-fine sports car with a badly-maintained engine that kept misfiring and flooding.
I read HIGH PROFILE too and I mentionied it recently on my blog, saying I thought it was okay, but I grown tired of his relationship with his ex-wife. It was time he told the bitch to get out of his life and stay out. They’d both be better off for it.
And I think his having a relationship with Sunny was a mistake.