source for affordable electronic fiction


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of SCHOOL DAYS by Robert B. Parker


    G. P. Putnam's Sons, September 2005

    His grandmother is convinced he must be innocent, but when private detective Spenser starts looking into Jared Clark's involvement in a school shooting, Spenser starts to doubt it. First, the kid confessed. Second, the kid they actually caught identified Jared as his fellow shooter. When Spenser finally tracks down where the guns came from and connects Jared to that, lots of people wonder why he doesn't just write up his report, submit his final bill, and get on with his life. But Spenser wants more than to know who did it--he wants to know why. And so far, he knows there's something important missing. A man like Spenser doesn't give up--not without doing his best to bring what salvation he can to people who need it.

    In recent years, author Robert B. Parker (see more reviews of novels by Parker) has relied more and more on Spenser sidekick Hawk to propell the story, and on Spenser girlfriend Susan Silverman to explain and justify Spenser's actions so it's a pleasant surprise to find a story where the two sidekicks are almost completely absent. Left on his own, Spenser goes about sticking his nose where it isn't wanted, offending the uptight and insufficiently manly, and bonding with the more macho characters while bringing harsh correction to those who misinterpret macho for bullying behavior.

    With SCHOOL DAYS, Parker addresses one of the major American fears--school shootings. What kind of children would go on a rampage and shoot many of their fellows? What could motivate them to explode in that way? Parker comes up with two answers--first, that it's not a surprise that it happens, but that it happens so rarely. After all, it's an age where hormones run wild, where kids have not yet developed the thick skins and conflict resolution skills that adults have, and where they generally feel useless as they sit in boring classes being annoyed by boring teachers and each other. As Spenser discovers, there is a major stretch between the general difficulties of school days and the specifics of a particular shooting.

    Parker's writing keeps the reader engrossed, making SCHOOL DAYS the kind of story that's easy to sit down and finish in a single reading.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/19/05

    Ready to buy it now? Click the buy now button.

    Visit to read more reviews or to purchase COLD SERVICE from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for COLD SERVICE from Barnes &

    Buy the eBook version from

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

    Check out the Alexa toolbar. It blocks pop-ups (you get to choose), it's free, and it tells you about what websites are popular and who owns them.