Spenser is hired to find a rare book stolen from a university and the first witness he talks to ends up standing over a dead body within a day, but claims she didn’t do it.
What I Liked
This is the first book in the long-running Spenser series, and it is one of my favorite series of all time. Quirk and Belson are introduced, as well as some general hoodlums, and it is classic Spenser. Keep plugging along, doing what he wants to do or thinks is right, even after the book-napping is resolved.
What I Didn’t Like
Without Silverman or Hawk, it almost feels like Spenser’s on vacation on his own, not quite a full Spenser story. As such, it runs a bit more linearly than some of his other books.
Jane is retired, ready to give advice if need be to would-be runners looking for her help, but she spends her days being the dutiful supportive wife of her surgeon husband. At a fundraiser for the hospital, a bomb explodes to hide the activities of a group of hunters determined to capture a pregnant girl before she can get to Jane.
Pete Hatcher works in a Las Vegas casino as a low-level executive. When the big bosses decide maybe he knows something that would interest the Feds, Jane has to help him escape to a new life. But the major complication for Jane is that they hire a couple of pros to find Hatcher.
Jane Whitefield is back and trying to guide an 8-year-old boy with an inheritance and a 30-year-old woman with stolen bank money to a safe haven.
The methodology for how Jane helps everyone is quite good, and reads both simple and plausible, a veneer of realism that sells the stories. The explanations for both cases are relatively clear, you understand the motives and why someone is coming after the two of them. Most of the story is a cat and mouse world, and it works well.