Friday, June 4, 2010

High Profile

This is the first time in years I’m reading Robert B. Parker.  If I had to use one word to describe his writing style I’d say ‘minimalist’. His writing is simple and effective. Many on my writing network would balk at his liberal use of ‘and’ and ‘was’. I sensed this was a deliberate device in some instances like here

Dix was as shiny as he always was. His white shirt was crisp with starch. His slacks were sharply creased. His shoes were polished. His thick hands were clean. His nails were manicured. He was bald and clean shaven, and his head gleamed.
and here

He hung up and stood and walked past his picture of Ozzie to the French doors and opened then and went out and stood on the balcony and looked at the harbor and thought.
The amazing thing is, I read this book in a few hours riding the bus this week. I think the simple sentence structure helped me get through High Profile in a jiffy.

Storyline:  A talk show host is murdered and left hanging in a park. His female assistant is also killed and left in a dumpster. Jesse Stone, the police chief of Paradise, has to sieve through the almost non-existent clues and find the murderer.

I didn’t get a whole bunch of descriptions, but drew sketches of the characters in my mind as I read. The police chief, smart and observant, was stuck on his ex-wife and had drinking problems. I still don’t have a clear picture of him. His current partner also had issues with her ex and was remarkable in that she understood his situation and stayed around to help his ex out of a tough situation.  Two of his officers, Suit and Molly, make good foils for him and kept the conversations informative and lively, while the clues unfolded.

I liked: the way the story flowed. With less-than-lush descriptions and working mostly though conversations, I tied the facts together as the team worked the case. I came away saddened and yet satisfied at the end of the novel.

I could have lived without:
The screwed up relationship between Stone and his ex-wife, Jenn, who likes men and cannot help having sex with them.  Stone was clearly obsessed with her and she still loved him. His current partner, Sunny, was also hung up on her ex. So we have a man and woman in a relationship, but they’re both obsessed with people in their past. I found that whole scenario unnatural and thought it odd that they (Stone/Sunny) would have been in the same situation at the same time.

Overall Comments: I really enjoyed reading this book that was mostly driven by conversations. The clues took a while in coming, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the subplot of Jenn and her stalker.

Rating: Other than my mental block over the Stone/Jenn/Sunny situation, I thoroughly enjoyed reading High Profile.  In my book, it's four-and-a-half stars.


  1. I can't complain about the minimalist writing. That's how I write. I don't use 'was' as much but I have TNBW's reviewers that would jump down my throat.

    ann elle altman

  2. I like minimalist writing. I struggle to write without lots of description. :) I'm not so strict on the use of was anymore. Publishers don't seem to have a problem, except with overkill. :D Thanks for dropping in!


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