-----With the exception of his recent Westerns and his two young adult novels, Robert B. Parker has been accused, with some justification, of phoning it in for the last several years. If that's true, then Night and Day is a robocall. Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone has a couple of small-town cases to deal with: A middle-school principal whose dress code check has outraged the Paradise parents and a peeping Tom calling himself the Night Hawk who has begun escalating his encounters with Paradise housewives. While Jesse tries to find something he can pin on the principal and figure out who the Night Hawk is before he hurts someone, he also writes another verse in the story between himself and his ex-wife, Jenn. Their relationship has been off again and on again, and when Jenn leaves for a New York City job with a producer boyfriend, Jesse tries to figure out what to do about it. There is almost literally nothing new in Night and Day. The criminal's point-of-view segments can be found in the Spenser novel Crimson Joy. The high-powered rich folks who hide some serious weirdness behind button-down facades show up in pretty much everything Parker writes. And whoring herself for a job before coming back to Jesse has been the only role Jenn has played for most of the Paradise series. Yes, there's Parker's trademark snappy patter, which he does better than anybody, but that's about it. There's no real story and no real reason to spend $25 when there are all of Parker's better books still around for purchase or rereading.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Facebook Share Button Code Twilight came out a month after the first volume of Meyer's teen vampire soap opera, also called Twilight, published its paperback edition. Since then, Meyer's "Twilight Saga" has been a bajillion seller. On the one hand, Gay might pick up a sale or two from a confused buyer. On the other, it's pretty certain no one knows his book exists. They're not missing much. Corrie and Kenneth Tyler, orphaned siblings in their late teens, are pretty sure they've discovered a dark secret about the town undertaker. They plan to blackmail him for money and for revenge. But the undertaker enlists local hardcase/bootlegger/murderer Granville Sutter to get him out of the mess. Most of the story concerns Kenneth on the run from Sutter, along with some moderately gross details of the undertaker's problems. Gay chooses to write his dialogue without quotation marks, which may have been a choice designed to give the book the feel of an oral tale spun some night around a fire. But it turns out more or less as an artificially quirky affectation. Kenneth encounters many of the same quirky backwoods characters who inhabit most Southern gothic novels, enough to somehow justify stretching what might have been an interesting short story into a dulled novel.