The creator of impervious Boston P.I. Spenser and imperfect police chief Jesse Stone turns 77 today, and while his latest books are decent individual reads, they're not worth the $9.99 paperback cover price. (Actually, no mass market or "tall" paperback is worth $9.99 to me.)
When I first read the Spenser books, Parker's characters seemed so alive, his world so real, I was reluctant to try other authors whose words might not flow as smoothly as his. Because I have read much of Parker's work, I've caught many inconsistencies between books, not to mention those in individual books. And although Parker has ostensibly written many series and standalones, none of them departs very far from the familiar themes and dynamics of the Spenser books.
Thank goodness I got over my reluctance and found dozens of authors more imaginative and meticulous than Parker. If I'm going to pay more for books, I want more distinct characters and more consistent worlds so I can stay in what John Gardner called "the vivid, continuous dream."