<--Previous Review Click Here to Return to Index of Reviews
Click Here to Return to Home Page
Next Review-->
Click the Cover Picture or Title to purchase this item from Amazon.com -- a new browser window will open.
Better Than Some, Not His Best, Though
Hugger Mugger
Robert B. Parker
This is an interesting departure for Spenser -- Parker has apparently decided to see if he can still get a handle on the character without the "furniture" that has accumulated in the series over the years.

Thus, Hawk is nowhere to be seen, Vinnie Morris and Martin Quirk are voices on telephones doing favours for Spenser, and Spenser isn't even in Boston.

Beyond that, Parker rings variations on some of his own cliches -- the thuggish character whom Spenser has to humiliate turns out to be one of the Good Guys in the end, the local Top Cop not only likes Spenser, he's happy to have him stirring up trouble on the local scene that, for political reasons, the local law can't get into... and other somewhat off-center takes.

Parker has either visited Atlanta recently or done his research well -- when Spenser comes to Atlanta from (fictitious) Lamarr, he speaks of the local geography and business with a quiet assurance -- and accuracy.

Another departure for Spenser is the ending -- about which all i can say is just that -- that it's not a usual-type Spenser ending. I'll even go so far as to say that some readers (of whom i'm not one) may feel that he really hasn't completed the story. But he has -- the solution is complete and elegant in Spenser's head, and he knows the guilty will sooner or later suffer...

One odd element in this book is that a completely-unrelated short story (set in Boston), with unrelated characters, is spliced into the middle of the book.

Parker has Susan refer to the events in this short story in a rather forced-sounding attempt to make it fit in by having her explain something about the main story by referring to the events of the interlude... But it really doesn't work.

OTOH, it's a neat little vignette of Spenser at work, deciding where justice lies and then going ahead and facilitating Justice with little regard for law, legality or the feelings of his client.

One minor gripe -- As in "Paper Doll" (set in an equally fictitious South Carolina county that Spenser briefly visits again in "Hugger Mugger"), Parker has missed a minor piece of Southrun talk -- we don't, generally, refer to Interstate highways as, say, "Route 20" -- such a reference is usually reserved for some piddly little State Highway; two-lane blacktop winding thru god-knows-where in the less-populated end of the county.

Don't know why that bothers me, except it's so obvious, as if Spenser were in Louisiana and referred to the "County Jail"...

Highly recommended, despite my personal dialog twitches.