Book: “The Professional,” by Robert Parker

“The Professional,” from October 2009, is Robert Parker’s 37th novel in the Spenser series. Number 38, “Painted Ladies,” came out in 2010, and Number 39, “Sixkill,” appeared in May 2011. And that’s it. Robert Parker died in January 2010, but had books at the publisher and fresh off his typewriter. But the well is running dry.

I understand that some guy named Ace Atkins will be writing new books in the Spenser series. For Pete’s sake, the guy lives in Mississippi! And he’s gonna spearhead a series based in Boston? Maybe I should suspend judgment until next spring, when his first Spenser book is released. Assuming I decide to read it.

Which just goes to make the point: every new Parker book, by the master himself, should be savored from this point on. I’ve got a couple on my shelf, in different series. I’m in no hurry to read them.

“The Professional” is typical Parker fare–a good, fun, and very quick read, but it’s not gonna win any prizes for grand literature. In fact, I would consider this one of the less-interesting Spenser books. But again–savor, savor.

In this book, four women, the wives of wealthy older men, hire Spenser to deal with an extortionist and lothario-extraordinaire named Gary Eisenhower. They want him to back off. Each woman had had an affair with him. One of the husbands is wise to what’s happening, and hires thugs to get involved. Parker gets to know Eisenhower, and kinda likes him. I did too, to an extent.

The book deals with that straightforward plotline for half of the book. Then it turns into a murder mystery. And I’m not sure what else to say without spoiling things.

There are no bad books in the Spenser series. There are some great ones, and some not-so-great ones, but not bad ones. “The Professional,” like all of the others, is a can’t-miss fun read.

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