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Playmates Format Kindle
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Much like Parker's Double Deuce, Playmates delves into African American issues of self esteem and poverty. And much like Double Deuce, Parker stumbles by relying too much on trite popular press rationales for criminal conduct - all in defense of his own unsympathetic hoods. Spenser's affection for Chantel is intended to resolve this dilemma, but her character is so underdeveloped that there's no compelling motivation for Spenser's heroics.
But it's easy to overlook a thin plot, because the joy of a Parker novel is really Spenser's sassy wit and his violent outings with the devastating and equally humorous Hawk. Particularly enjoyable is a scene in which Hawk chides Spenser about the low street value currently offered to have him "aced." One wonders how Parker can write Hawk so unapologetically while offering up sociologic platitudes for any other African American character involved in questionable circumstances.
However, as usual in a Spenser novel, there's more here than just the primary plot. There's insight into racial relations, a theme that Parker explores deeper in the later PASTIME. There's also the very human theme concerning dealing with a person who's abilities you admire, but who is an insufferable so-and-so.
It's a typical fast read and yet leaves you with a feeling that you've picked up something of value from the reading.
As usual, this means Spenser ticks off a lot of people and has a couple attempts on his life, thwarted, as usual, with the assistance of Hawk.
I enjoyed this book - not only was it an interesting look into the lives of basketball players and the pressures that university professors may face to make sure they can remain on the team, but also the 80s in general. The description of the clothing and hair was so typical of what I remember that I laughed out loud at several points in the book just from remembering how ridiculous we all used to look.
Definitely don't miss this, especially if you're a fan of Robert Parker and/or Spenser.
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