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Mortal Stakes by Robert B. Parker
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's review
Mar 25, 11

bookshelves: crime
Recommended for: women & fans of Hemingway.
Read in March, 2011

Private detective Spenser's girlfriend chastises him for being "A captive of the male mystique." and to " ... for God's sake, you fool, outgrow all the Hemingwayesque nonsense." Spenser is not religious, driven by success, patriotism, or family or by the jock ethic. This is the 3rd Spenser novel by Robert Parker (1975) and the best. Spenser is a complicated man trying to figure out the code he lives by. He lives alone and drinks alone, a lot, and eats alone a lot. He works out to relieve stress and reads, a lot. He covers up his sentimentality with crass humor and bravado. He doesn't solve crime, but finds out the truth of things by asking questions and watching. He detects, and that makes most people really uncomfortable - except his girlfriend(s) who appear fearless and comfort him despite his foibles because he is about as close to a superhero as a man can be (I guess.) When forced to, he will kill and pulverize other men, but he doesn't enjoy it. He'd rather drink, eat, make love and generally just kick it. He is fond of children and dogs. The writing here is good - Hemingwayesque (ha, ha). It's Boston, 1975, and baseball and gambling. Good stuff.

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