Once under arrest, however, the medievalist revives and, assuming a lofty tone, lectures the police department on the brilliance of his criminal career.At this Boston university, administrators are phonies, professors cowardly murderers, and students (except the heroine) doped and mindless radicals.
Ironically, some critics feel this is one of his weaker works.
For example, David Geherin, who acknowledges Parker's usual strength in characterization and dialogue, finds "an overemphasis on character analysis and an excessive talkiness that upsets the novelistic balance in Promised Land…." (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols.
"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid," said Raymond Chandler, Parker's model; but Spenser, despite a certain vitality, doesn't quite make the grade, perhaps because all imitations are only imitations, perhaps because a tough guy who bullies presidents, deans, professors, and students just isn't tough enough.
The Judas Goat is not [Robert Parker's] best book, but it is very good. are always being compared with Chandler and Ross Macdonald …, and while the comparison is apt as a label for quality and tone, it no longer is very helpful, since Parker has established a voice of his own.
[Promised Land] shows him gaining mastery over his material all of the time.
The dialogue is good, without that cutesy-tough overtone one finds in so many imitators of Chandler, and while Spenser remains a bit self-romanticized, he is no more so than Marlowe and Archer.
Spenser is a wisecracking guy in the firm tradition of the Chandler shamus, and above and beyond this all the conversations in the books are splendidly swift and sharp.
Parker likes to refer to the minutiae of current American life or to that store of trivial memories that any 40-year-old American has, and this gives his pages a liveliness and an up-to-dateness which is decidedly refreshing. Parker has written five books starring Spenser, the tough Boston operator, a one-man army.
There is a concern with human beings that rises at times to compassion and perhaps falls at other times to that commonish complaint among American novelists "psychology showing through".
But the seriousness that this indicates is always well compensated for by Parker's dialogue.