Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, novels featuring Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, Parker died in January 2010.
Spenser doesn't appear in this overwrought, Boston-set saga of three generations of Irish-American cops, but the spirit of Parker's popular PI dominates these pages nonetheless, with each cop in turn obsessed with courage, codes of behavior and, especially, A Woman. These are the themes of Parker's other non-Spenser novels as well, particularly Love and Glory, but here they're explored in a tale whose scaffolding of parallels and coincidences suspends disbelief as poorly as do the characters' operatic passions. The Sheridan patriarch, Conn, for example, having been betrayed in Ireland during ``the troubles'' by the love of his life, one Hadley Winslow, moves to the U.S. with a heart of stone: ``It was so hard to stop caring about her,'' he tells a fellow cop, ``that I had to stop caring about everything.'' That is, until Conn catches the case of a young girl found slain and molested, discovers that Hadley's son is the culprit and uses that information to blackmail Hadley into a longterm sexual liaison in exchange for burying the proof against her son. If ever a set of characters needed Prozac it's these Sheridans, whose sullen, brutal, unlikely dance with the Winslow women continues until the third-generation Sheridan, with help from his father, breaks the spell after a paroxysm of violence. All this pained macho posturing is shaped by Parker's usual elegant and precise prose, perhaps the cleanest in crimedom; but, finally no turn of phrase is quick enough to keep his somber tale from sinking into fatal self-importance. BOMC and QPB selections; major ad/promo. (Nov.)
With the spare, conversational style characteristic of his popular Spenser mysteries, Parker portrays the intertwined lives of two Boston families, the Sheridans and Winslows, who love and destroy each other through three generations. Conn Sheridan, betrayed by his lover in Dublin during the "troubles," comes to America and joins the Boston police force. Graft, protection, and other cover-ups are accepted as natural, and Conn has a dangerous affair with Hadley Winslow, a Boston tycoon's wife. Chris Sheridan, the grandson to Conn and now a special prosecutor, attempts to unravel the web of deceit begun by his grandfather decades before. In this rough world, the women are either promiscuous or incapable of love-making, except for Grace, whom young Chris hopes to marry. Like Spencer's Susan, Grace has wit and a charming reserve. Spenser fans as well as newcomers will enjoy Parker's brick-by-brick famil-iarity with Boston. For most popular collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/94.]-Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Computer Support Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
"The old magician draws you in, absolutely! Parker has something important and touching to say about fathers and sons, about marriage and love, about courage and anomie. A compelling look at a corner of one of our century's hundred-year wars. Parker is a sublime storyteller. This is a book that will keep you in your seat to the last page." --New York Newsday "A complex tale of guilt and corruption reaching down through the generations." --New York Times "A resounding success... a sprawling portrait of three generations in an Irish family. It resonates with historical insight, complex personalities, dramatic events and a powerful story." --Playboy "The old magician draws you in, absolutely!Parker has something important and touching to say about fathers and sons, about marriage and love, about courage and anomie.A compelling look at a corner of one of our century's hundred-year wars.Parker is a sublime storyteller.This is a book that will keep you in your seat to the last page." --"New York Newsday" "A complex tale of guilt and corruption reaching down through the generations." --"New York Times" "A resounding success... a sprawling portrait of three generations in an Irish family.It resonates with historical insight, complex personalities, dramatic events and a powerful story." --"Playboy""