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.
I loved Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, and since I’m a bit of a “completist”, once I like an author’s books, I try to read everything by them. Although it was made into a movie, the book has been long out of print. Which made no real sense…how could a book written by an author as prolific and popular as Sue Grafton, and that was made into a movie, not be available ANYWHERE? Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. Like Keziah Dane, one of her earlier books, the characters are dirt poor backwoods families. Isolated from town, this story takes place entirely on the properties between two neighbouring families. If you have ever heard of the old Hatfields and McCoys feud of two warring families, fighting for reasons they no longer remember, you have the Lolly Madonna War.
With Sue Grafton’s death, there will be no Z book, so this is the last official Kinsey story. In it, she looks back at a cold case where four rich students filmed the rape of a young girl, someone stole the tape and was murdered, a court case sent two to jail, and the ringleader skipped town. Fast-forward, one of the jailed ones is out of prison, and he receives a copy of the missing tape with a blackmail demand. The parents want Kinsey’s help to ensure they only pay once, or ideally, not at all.
Two deaths get Kinsey off and running – the apparent mugging death of a low-rent private investigator known for cutting corners and a John Doe homeless guy who died with Kinsey’s business address in his pocket.