Books: “Rough Weather,” “Persuader”

parker-child-250.jpgI just finished mystery/thrillers by two can’t-miss authors: Robert Parker and Lee Child.

I’ve read over 50 books by Robert Parker, and have just one vague memory of a book which seemed weak. “Rough Weather” was certainly not weak.

The book begins with Spenser getting hired as a bodyguard at a ritzy wedding on a private island. Gunmen take over the wedding during a terrible storm, kill some people, and kidnap the bride.

Rugar, AKA The Grey Man, is in charge of the kidnapping. Spenser knows him from their encounter in “Small Vices.” He’s a deadly assassin. Now Spenser, sometimes aided by Hawk, sets out to find Rugar and the missing bride. The lack of a motive, plus other twists, makes the task particularly vexing.

But, of course, the plot ultimately resolves, and in a way I didn’t see coming. Neither did Parker, I suspect. His style of writing was not to map everything out, but to just write and let the characters take control; he didn’t necessarily know where he’d end up when he started writing. “Rough Weather” has very much that feel to it.

“Persuader” is my seventh Lee Child book about Jack Reacher, the Ultimate Tough Guy (Spenser being the Number Two Ultimate Tough Guy). Seven more Reacher books are in print, so I’m halfway through.

In “Persuader” (the name refers to a type of shotgun), Reacher teams with the FBI to infiltrate a mobster’s seaside fortress. It’s a complicated plot to get him in, but it works (all in the first chapter). Once inside, he has several missions: find what happened to a previous FBI agent who infiltrated two months before and hasn’t been heard from since; get the goods on the mobster; and learn the connection to a deadly arms dealer from Reacher’s MP days.

The book actually weaves two plots together–the current one, plus the case ten years ago when he was still in the military. Child takes us back and forth, though it’s more a matter of nibbling at the older plot.

Like all Child books, “Persuader” was a very fun ride, a good escape. 

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