Monday, August 31, 2015

Perchance to Dream (Robert B. Parker, 1991)

Style is okay, and there are a few moments of brilliance (see hero and cool lines sections). However, sometimes I thought that Parker tried too hard emulating Chandler and came up with some genuinely corny dialogue.

The problem is the story. Or lack of it... Marlowe basically breaks the case and finds the bad guys after the first ten chapters (and btw, they are pretty short in this one). And then, for some reason, he keeps calling Vivian, and she keeps whining, and the damn thing doesn't move anywhere. So Parker throws in some Chinatown-like water rights conspiracy nonsense that just doesn't make much sense either.

Simply not good, but it is at least bearable. Unlike that abomination of Black-Eyed Blonde published last year.



"You're a private detective," he said. He had one of those Hollywood elocution voices which has no real accent but sounds nearly British, especially if you haven't heard a real one. He sounded like a guy that recited bad poems on the radio.
"When I'm not polishing my yacht," I said.

L.A. and fictitious (I think) Neville Valley 200 miles north of L.A.

Body count:  
4, not counting the unfortunate kitten thrown out the open porthole into the sea by that asshole Simpson.

Vivian, still beautiful with eyes nearly coal black and full of heat and a full lower lip that seemed specifically meant to be nibbled on. And still tough:

"I'm not as tough as I look, Marlowe," she said
"If you were as tough as you look", I said, "you'd probably have to be licensed." [Fatale]

And of course, horny and a bit kinky Carmen, still cute as a ladybug but far dumber, with the moral sense of an hyena.

Yes, no less than three of them:

...something erupted against the side of my head and the lights coalesced into a brilliant starburst and then blackness into which I slid as peacefully as a drunken seal.

Huh, drunken seal? The second one lacks this kind of imagination and is more or less limited to the use of a comparative (or is it superlative?) of the adjective red:

I couldn't breathe. The reddish haze got darker and redder and finally enveloped me and I plunged into it and disappeared.

The last one lacks any imagination at all. Pretty standard stuff:

Something hit the side of my head and I went back once again to a place I'd been spending too much time in.
According to Wikipedia, it's another euphemism for dead.

Futura, 1991

She is definitely young Bacall, but the guy looks more like the dude who played Eddie Mars in The Big Sleep. Is it possible that the illustrator was given the wrong film still?

Cool lines
"This your car?" the fat cop said.
"Nice huh?" I said. "You want to sit in it?"
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" the fat cop said.
"Sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to talk so fast."
"You'll be talking fast in the back cell under the big lights in a little while," the fat cop said.
"The smaller the town, the tougher the buttons talk," I said.[The Coolest!]


  1. I've wondered about this one. I have a copy somewhere, but I have hesitated to read it since everything Parker wrote after about 1986 was disappointing. Thanks for the review.

    1. Thanks for your comment. To be honest, it's not that bad and I probably wouldn't bitch about it so much if it weren't a Marlowe novel. Just having a bit of a problem with writers adopting other authors' characters and doing such a sloppy job.