Anyone who complains about the lack of Chandlers ought to try [either Mortal Stakes or Promised Land]…. Parker has created Spenser, a Marlowe-like private eye who drinks a lot and makes tasty omelets, salad dressings, and women.
In The Godwulf Manuscript (1973) he is inexplicably rude (Marlowe never is): to a university president who has been only courteous, he sneers, "Is there something you'd like me to detect or are you just polishing up your elocution for next year's commencement?
Parker must have learned a good deal from "Godwulf"; his new book is more deft, smoother and sharper in characterization.
Where "Godwulf" read like a compilation of every private eye from Chandler on, "God Save the Child" has a great deal more personality and character.
The portrait of the mother is especially well done.
Robert Parker is perhaps the best of [the writers attempting to replace Chandler]….
[Promised Land] shows him gaining mastery over his material all of the time.
The dialogue is good, without that cutesy-tough overtone one finds in so many imitators of Chandler, and while Spenser remains a bit self-romanticized, he is no more so than Marlowe and Archer.
" The detective is less interesting, however, than his antagonist, a small, weak, lecherous professor of medieval literature who early in the story is revealed to be also a radical, dope pusher, and murderer.
This paragon is married to a huge, adoring woman who mothers him and eventually takes five bullets in the stomach so the little man can escape. Spenser finds him cowering in the bathtub where he has wet himself in terror.