Small Vices (Spenser)
Mr. Parker, you've succeeded in bringing the charming Mr. Spenser
to our literary lips once more. Swigging yuppie beer, fending off
campus cuties, Spenser's rhetoric is still fresh, tart, clipped.
Here's an example of just one snappy reparte between Spenser and a
highbrow college president:
"Two U.S. Senators. Yikes."
"Are you intimidated?"
"Not so I can't breathe."
"Well, I must say, as adversaries go, you are a lot of fun...a
small dose of charm."
"I've found a small dose to be safer...the full wattage, all at
once, and people are sometimes injured."
Interesting case, this is. An inner city black youth has been
incarcerated for the (disputed) rape and murder of a college co-ed
in an upscale suburban community. Witnesses related to the victim's
boyfriend (a yuppie college tennis star) conveniently recall a
black man dragging the dead, naked body of their friend into the
woods near campus.
Subplot-wise, we have Susan, the ever-faithful girlfriend, whose
maternal instincts have come to the forefront, attempting to
convince Spenser that adopting a child would fulfill a void in
Altogether, we have a dead state patrolman, errant bullets, lying
eyewitnesses, Boston ambiance, and let's not forget the dead co-ed
who started all this. Following an almost fatal injury, revenge is
sweet, especially Spenser-style. Easily flowing, the storyline is
flecked with humor, intimacy, and the guys in the white hats coming
to the rescue. All in all, a delightful read from Robert
---Reviewed by Marge Fletcher