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Promised Land Mass Market Paperback – Dec 5 1992


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (Dec 5 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440171970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440171973
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #288,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ya gotta have moaning melancholy ... and ... and ... thoughtful, teaching t'ings.

For me, this # 4 in Parker's Spenser series was a key novel, a turning point for honing purpose and direction for future offerings. With PROMISED LAND, the baseline ingredients were set. It almost seemed to me as if, in writing the early parts of this plot, Parker had scrambled to the top of a mountain and surveyed the territory he had acquired in his first three books. "I've clearly opened something successfully long-term here," he might have concluded. "What do I want to do with it. Where do I want to take it."

A third into the plot of PROMISED LAND, a short paragraph from Spenser's narrative soured a trumped-up deal, like flat beer worn down:

>> Living around Boston for a long time you tend to think of Cape Cod as promised land. Sea, sun, sky, health, ease, boisterous camaraderie, a kind of real-life beer commercial. Since I'd arrived no one had liked me, and several people had told me to go away. Two had assaulted me. You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod. <<

Of course Hawk's arrival to the series, as many reviews have eloquently heralded, was highly effective and welcome, though I had anticipated a "love at first sight" First Meeting between Spenser and Hawk. As I thought about it, though, I was impressed with the thematic effect of Hawk being introduced as someone not yet integrated, but long significant in Spenser's life. As Spenser explained more than once here:

"I've known him a long time."

Yet, it wasn't until "now" that the relationship between these two machismo (in the detoxified, good sense of the term) males seeded and began growing into ... a black-and-white-Knight ... chess set ...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Spenser and Susan are moving into his new office when a man comes by, wanting to find his wife. He lives out on the Cape with his kids; his wife has run off to New Bedford. It's the first time Hawk shows up in a book - he's just leaving (on a "visit") when Spenser arrives to talk the next day in Hyannis. He's working for Powers, a loan shark.
Turns out both the guy and his wife are in trouble; Spenser cooks up an elaborate plot to entrap the bad guys on each side and rescue the couple. He helps out Hawk, and Hawk helps out him, but they're very "adversarial" although friendly. The couple is very clueless and you have to wonder if they're worth saving -grin-.
My Notes: OK, so Spenser starts out talking deeply with Susan, but says he was on the Cape with "Brenda Loring" (what's with these full names?) a few months ago! He ogles the 16 yr old kid of his client. Hawk is a little too "jive" to be cool. But it's interesting to hear he fought along with Hawk 20 years ago and had met in gyms and such since them. They have "mutual respect". Note that if Spenser is therefore around 40 in this book, that makes him approaching 70 in current stories ... I suppose he has James Bond's immortal powers.
Spenser's growing towards suavehood, but isn't quite there yet. I mean, he talks about throwing the kid through the window for being surly! He's not exactly understanding of the women he meets. This is not the Spenser I love -grin-. He at LEAST is drinking Amstel Lights and Heinekens now.
Susan's more annoying than helpful; his comments about her are that she told him to sip his beer and such. She still guzzles food and drink. At the end he proposes marriage and she goes "Oh, jeez, I don't think so now. I just wanted you to ask".
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By George D. Girton on April 4 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Promised Land is one of the earliest Spenser novels. It's set and written in the 1970s, and the bad guys wear leisure suits. Susan Silverman is working as a high school guidance counselor. Much more clearly than in later novels, Hawk is bad: working as an enforcer, a creature from the dark side. He does some things which a good person would not do. Plus, everyone is a lot younger. They drink and eat more, they exercise harder, and they try to do the right thing. Well, okay, some of them try to do the wrong thing. But that's why they're the bad guys!
This is a novel of relationships: Spenser and Susan (just getting started in 1976), Spenser and Hawk (same), the woman Spenser is hired to find and her over-loving husband. The relationships are live, in constant action, and filled with risk. The characters think constantly. They talk about why they think the way they do. They explore each others' lives and try to come to terms with the kind of people they all are, or were, or might become. The wise-ass repartee is tremendously appealing; it's hilarious; it couldn't be better.
If you've never read one of Robert B. Parker's novels, this might be the best one to start with. If you've read them all, this is a great one to read again.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you aren't familiar with the Spenser series, this is the fourth book. Not that you have to read them in any particular order--but it is interesting to follow the development of the series chronologically. In this tale, Spenser ends up involved in finding a runaway wife--and bailing out her husband from his own mess too. This being an earlier Spenser book gives us a glimpse at how Spenser's relationship with Susan Silverman evolves and a foreshadowing of events to come in the relationship's future. Most notable is the introduction of Hawk to the series (not necessarily as an ally!). Parker's excellent characterization of Spenser through the character's musings, witty remarks, and ethical action are as strong in this novel as any of the other Spenser books I've read thus far. The plot itself has an entertaining build up and even better conclusion--I'd definitely recommend Promised Land to anyone curious about the series.
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