A sequel to Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel "The Big Sleep," this is Robert Parker's second venture as a continuator of the adventures of Chandler detective Philip Marlowe-the first being "Poodle Springs," published last year. That book was good; this one is better.
Both Spenser and Marlowe are titanium-tough mavericks, mule-stubborn former cops (actually, Marlowe worked as an investigator for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office before he became a private detective), and both men possess a strong code of honor and a finely tuned sense of introspection. This anomalous blend does not seem unnatural or forced in either of them, however, thanks to the skills of their creators.
In "Poodle Springs," Parker took the decades-old fragment (four very short chapters) of a story begun by Chandler and crafted a Marlowe tale stronger than most of Chandler's later work. In "Perchance to Dream," he moves into more perilous literary waters, daring to build on what many feel was the originator's finest novel.