PLOT OR PREMISE:
Spenser has two cases, one from Hawk and one from Susan. Hawk wants him to help a black college professor who was refused tenure on the basis of rumours that he was gay, he had an illicit affair with a student, and the student committed suicide as a result of a broken heart. Susan wants him to help a friend who claims she is being stalked.
WHAT I LIKED:
The plot surrounding the black college professor is a typical Spenser novel -- take a case for no pay, find there is something weird, start investigating, push some buttons, find out suspect number 1 is connected, and get a visit from some heavies. However, the handling of discrimination issues based on sexual orientation or colour of skin are well done, and that alone raises the story above a typical novel. Of course, the writing is first-rate, as Parker's work always is, and the story proceeds at a fast clip, with enough twists and turns to make it interesting.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
The second case involving Susan's friend is ridiculous. Susan is a first class shrink -- yet she apparently is surprised when she finds out that the friend has attached herself to Spenser as her white knight coming to save her, whether he wants to be rewarded or not. Not well handled by Spenser's character or Susan, and doesn't fit either's characters background in previous novels, and just rings false with each development. Mind you, the resolution of the problem by Susan is first-rate. It just takes a long time to get there.
First rate solid story
Likely his best example of great dialogue and interplay between characters-even Susan comes off as with it. The two scenarios are not much fun dealing with very screwed up people but our hero's light it up and don't even have to kill anyone. Love it when Parker goes after the academic community having had to deal with it a bit-full of themselves and their superiority.
Parker was always his best when Hawk was in the plot. While not one of the better Spenser story-lines, bordering on predictable, it's the witty dialogue between Spenser and Hawk that make this one so fun.
You can never go wrong with Spenser. The plot moved along at a good pace, both cases kept the readers interest, and the dialog between Spenser and Hawk was as witty as ever.
I think the reasons I liked this book are the same reasons I like Spenser books in general. Spenser and Hawk are great characters. They are tough guys without being stupid; they are smart guys without being annoying. And their friendship comes through as real and believable. You can tell by the way they talk to each other that they have known each other for a long time. And the book is written with a lot of wit. So it’s fun to read. It deals with issues like prejudice and racism without reading like an after school special or a sermon and without belittling the problem. And since I tend to get annoyed when books preach at me, I appreciated that. The plot line about Nevins was more interesting to me than the other one but both were fine. But I was more interested in the people than in either of them. If you like detective/PI novels and haven’t read any Spenser, you should. If not this one than another. They are easy to get hooked on.
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