Not too long ago I read a book by a different author and I talked about it being a good hard-boiled detective story with a tough, intelligent PI. That got me thinking about my favorite tough-guy series … Spenser.
It’s been 30 years since I read a Spenser novel I think (about the last time the television show Spenser for Hire was last on) but what I remember most vividly is how much I like the books. The characters are well fleshed out and Parker’s storytelling is tremendous. Spenser is a great character – very tough, very smart, very no-nonsense. His friend Hawk is even more no-nonsense and tougher, and his girlfriend Susan is more intelligent.
In Hush Money, Hawk comes to Spenser with a job that on the surface seems like it should be pretty straight-forward… Robinson Nevins, the son of Hawk’s childhood mentor, is denied tenure at the university. It appears that the suicide of a young gay activist, with whom Nevins had been rumored to have had an affair, is the main reason for the denial. Yet some on the committee know that Nevins isn’t gay yet denied him anyway. The further Spenser and Hawk look into the politics of a university, the deeper they find themselves amid a slough of dirty politics.
Hawk isn’t the only one asking Spenser to look after a friend, Susan asks for Spenser’s help when her old college friend becomes the victim of a stalker. But coming to the woman’s rescue has Spenser become the object of her affection and soon she begins to stalk him.
This is a fast, very entertaining read. It definitely makes me want to read more Spenser books again (I grabbed this one from my local library).
I found that as I read I was picturing the actors from the television series (Robert Urich, Avery Brooks, and Barbara Stock in the roles of Spenser, Hawk, and Susan respectively). They will forever be these characters for me.
Looking for a good book? If you want fast-paced, hard-boiled detective fiction, Robert B. Parker’s Hush Money is just the ticket.
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author: Robert B. Parker
series: Spenser #26
hardcover, 309 pages