The Boxer and the Spy [NOOK Book]

Overview

When a shy high school student's body is found washed up on the shore of a quiet beach town - an apparent suicide - Terry Novak doesn't know what to think. He decides to do some investigating with the help of his best friend, Abby. Before long, they learn that asking questions puts them in grave danger. Fortunately, Terry has been learning about fighting, thanks to a retired boxer, who teaches him to use his head and keep his feet set beneath him - lessons Terry takes to heart in more ways than one. Robert B. ...
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The Boxer and the Spy

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Overview

When a shy high school student's body is found washed up on the shore of a quiet beach town - an apparent suicide - Terry Novak doesn't know what to think. He decides to do some investigating with the help of his best friend, Abby. Before long, they learn that asking questions puts them in grave danger. Fortunately, Terry has been learning about fighting, thanks to a retired boxer, who teaches him to use his head and keep his feet set beneath him - lessons Terry takes to heart in more ways than one. Robert B. Parker delivers a taut, empowering mystery for teen readers.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
In his second novel for YAs (following Edenville Owls), popular mystery writer Parker scores a hit. When a high school boy's body washes up on a New England beach, the death is called a suicide and tied to steroid use. But 15-year-old Terry has his doubts, and he and his clever friend Abby start to investigate on their own. As they uncover secrets about some of the important people in town, their own lives are threatened, and Terry's boxing skills come in handy. Suspense and snappy dialog will keep readers turning the pages, while a budding if coy romance between Terry and Abby offers further interest. The two don't sound much like any 15-year-olds of my acquaintance ("I just know that you and I are about more than just fun," Abby says to Terry at one point)—in fact, they sound a lot like Parker's adult series hero Spenser and his girlfriend Susan—but it's still entertaining to read. This engaging mystery will win Parker more fans, and he may have found worthy new series heroes in Terry and Abby. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal

Gr 9-11- Parker makes his second foray into YA literature with this tale of a 15-year-old aspiring boxer trying to solve the murder of one of his classmates, deemed a suicide by the authorities. As in his adult "Spenser" books, the question is not so much who committed the crime as how the protagonist will catch him (it is apparent pretty early on who the bad guys are). Terry Novak battles a group of powerful, evil individuals with only his wits, toughness, and a few loyal friends to help him. He has a personal code that requires him to avenge wrongdoing against innocents and will use violence only when forced to. In many ways it is Terry himself rather than the solving of the crime that is the main focus of the novel: haltingly, and often inarticulately, he begins to explore what it means to live honorably, with moral purpose. In this he is aided by George, the wise, elderly black man who is teaching him to fight, and by Abby, the sassy beauty whom Terry hopes to make his girlfriend. As in any Parker novel, the dialogue is delightful. Character is revealed in a word, a phrase, or sometimes even a gesture. (Has any writer ever conveyed more meaning through a shrug?) While some may object that the fight scenes are a little too graphic or the resolution a little too neat, few could question either the quality of the writing or the book's undeniable appeal to teen readers.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Kirkus Reviews
This conventional mystery from the prolific adult author features standard villains with some spice thrown in by the boxing leitmotif. Despite an official conclusion of suicide, 15-year-old Terry remains sure that his shy friend Jason did not kill himself. Determined to uncover the real reason Jason died, he gets help from his almost-girlfriend Abby, who sets up a network of friends to spy on the typically arrogant adults who run the town and the school. Threatened by school bullies, Terry relies on his newfound boxing skills and his wise trainer George to get out of scrapes. The resolution relies on confessions, but one nice twist regarding a villain adds some interest at the end. Not much new here, but Parker provides some nice action scenes and whodunit clues. High-school intrigue written simply enough to satisfy budding mystery fans in the middle-school crowd as well. (Fiction. 10-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101077924
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 124,016
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 355 KB

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Someone

    I like it becase its exciting




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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Who Killed Jason?

    Jason Green overheard a conversation and soon after he was dead. Terry Novak and Abby Hall are on a mission to find out what happened to Jason. When some of their friends join in to help, they form a spy network and they are very serious about being detectives. But there is an adult who wants to put an end to their investigation and he's using one of their classmates to keep them from finding out the truth. If he can. Jason: He lost his father and his mother got drunk a lot. He didn't like sports but he did like old movies and he liked to draw. He was taking the technical arts curriculum at William Dawes Regional and he wanted to be a landscape designer. He was believed to be gay, but his interests were the only reasons given. Those likes and dislikes made this young man gay? I couldn't see why characters came to this conclusion. Terry and Abby: They worked well together. Some thought they were a couple. They claimed they weren't but the way they related to each other it seemed as if their close friendship would be more someday. I liked that Abby wanted her `first time' to mean something. George: Terry's mentor doesn't just teach him to box (quite a few boxing lessons take place in this story) but he also speaks words of wisdom because he wants Terry to make good choices. Mr. Bullard: The principal of William Dawes Regional high school is not a likeable character. This is the first Robert B. Parker novel I've read. The mystery was a page-turner not really because it was exciting or thrilling, but because I wanted to find out who killed Jason. Even though I didn't get to really know him, I liked him. It was also a quick read; forty-seven of the shortest chapters I have ever seen in a young adult novel. There is a fight scene and the use of steroids is addressed. There is also a bit of profanity and the mention of sexual activity but it isn't written in detail. Even though there are teenagers of high school age, this story is one I believe mature middle school students would enjoy.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    Not a title bout

    Parker is so much fun to read and this little book is no exception. While it won't cause a brain hemorrhage due to character or plot complexity, it packs some good punches.

    The story line is not 100% predictable, but pretty close. Yet, you will find yourself devouring the book to get to the conclusion.

    If you're looking for something light, fun and quick for a plane ride, rainy weekend or short trip, grab this one for sure.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book!

    In this spellbinding murder mystery, teenage boy Terry Novak's classmate, Jason Green, shows up dead on the beach. Jason Green allegedly committed suicide by jumping from a bridge because he was doing drugs. His friends and fellow classmates knew he was not the type to do drugs or to commit suicide. Terry knows that something doesn't add up. He doesn't think that there was any way Jason could have killed himself. He decides to investigate.
    When Terry begins to ask around, he gets threatened: nobody wants him asking questions. Both the principal and the star football player in the school tell him to butt out, but it only makes him more determined to figure out the mystery. Terry gets help from his close friend, Abby, whom he secretly likes. All the while, Terry's boxing coach, George, is helping him become a better boxer and a better person. As Terry and Abby try harder and harder to figure out the truth behind a mess of lies, things start getting tougher. But will they fight through it and uncover what really happened to Jason Green? Will Terry and Abby admit that they love each other? Or will they lose the fight and remain "just friends"?
    I highly recommend this book to everyone 13 and up. I enjoyed this book because it seemed very realistic, and the characters were easy to relate to. They fought for what they believed in until the end, and they never gave up. Robert B. Parker's humorous writing style made me laugh and kept me on my toes. There were twists and turns, ups and downs, and through it all, Terry and Abby remained two people you could easily look up to. This was a very satisfying book!

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read!

    Although this one appeared to be a very different style for Robert Parker, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad I had bought it. It's a great read with a lot of twists and intereseting surprises. Also very insightful into human nature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    The title was intregting

    the book had alot of "who done it" in it and it was a good read to try to figure out along with the characters to who did what.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An engaging high school mystery

    When the body of Jason Green is found, his classmates, teachers and administrators at Cabot, north of Boston, accept the cops¿ official findings that he killed himself because he was juiced with ¿roids¿. Only student athlete Terry Novak disagrees with the prevalent suicide theory he knows that Jason may have been a lover, but was not a jock so would not have done steroids to become a landscape designer as the teen planned to be. Terry wonders if his classmate he was murdered.--------------- Terry half persuades his best friend Abby to help him investigate the death. However, he makes little progress until his trainer retired professional boxer George encourages him to hold his head up, jab away, and not quit. Heeding that advice, Terry keeps digging not aware the danger he brings to himself and Abby by someone who wants the ruling to remain suicide.--------------- Obviously targeting the teen crowd, Robert B. Parker provides an engaging high school mystery starring a young sleuth trying to uncover the truth about the recent death of a classmate. With a strong support cast from George to cigarette smoking Beverly, Suzi and Tank to Mr. Principal and more, the story line is fast-paced from the first jab to the last as Terry and Abby follow clues that lead them to danger.---------------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 11, 2009

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