Potshot (Spenser Series #28)

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Overview

The town of Potshot, Arizona, is under siege by a band of murderous marauders, and the law is helpless to stop them. But now there's a new gun in town-Boston P.I. Spenser-and he's gathered a posse of the best and baddest to back him up.

"Parker still finds clever ways to invigorate his Spenser series." ( Entertainment Weekly)

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Potshot (Spenser Series #28)

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Overview

The town of Potshot, Arizona, is under siege by a band of murderous marauders, and the law is helpless to stop them. But now there's a new gun in town-Boston P.I. Spenser-and he's gathered a posse of the best and baddest to back him up.

"Parker still finds clever ways to invigorate his Spenser series." ( Entertainment Weekly)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
A number of excellent books -- Stephen Hunter's Hot Springs, Elmore Leonard's City Primeval, and George Pelecanos's Right as Rain come immediately to mind -- have successfully bridged the gap between the classic western and the hard-boiled novel of suspense. The latest addition to this genre-bending list is Potshot, the 27th entry in Robert B. Parker's durable, long-running Spenser series. In this one, Parker takes Spenser -- and a supporting contingent of latter-day samurai -- out of the familiar environs of urban New England and turns him loose in the Arizona desert, where he finds himself enmeshed in a modern reenactment of The Magnificent Seven.

The case begins when newly widowed Mary Lou Buckman hires Spenser to investigate her husband's death. Mary Lou lives in the upscale, faux-western town of Potshot, Arizona, which has recently been victimized by gang of extortionists collectively known as the Dell. The members of the Dell -- led by an enigmatic, Lee Van Cleef-like figure called the Preacher -- have been threatening local businessmen and forcing them to pay for "protection." According to Mary Lou, her husband, Steve, refused to pay and was murdered as a result. Spenser, who has always been a sucker for a damsel in distress, heads for Arizona, determined to set things right.

Once in Potshot, Spenser receives a second commission. Local civic leaders offer him an extravagant bounty to drive the Preacher and his cohorts out of town. Spenser contacts Hawk (of course), and a number of hardcases from previous adventures, and prepares to push back against the entrenched forces of the Dell. From this point forward, the two main lines of the story -- the hunt for Steve Buckman's murderer and the proposed assault on the Dell -- intertwine, culminating in a series of unexpected revelations and a climactic, archetypal gunfight.

In Parker's hands, western and detective story come smoothly, seamlessly together. And while the machismo quotient runs a bit too high for my taste -- Spenser and his ad hoc posse spend a bit too much time comparing gun sizes and staging push-up contests -- the narrative unfolds with characteristic wit, brevity, and grace. Parker is one of the most polished stylists working in the field today, and his typical virtues -- crisply described action sequences, understated humor, and drop-dead accurate dialogue -- are on full display once again. Potshot, like so much of Parker's fiction, is effortlessly readable and unfailingly entertaining. It effectively combines the narrative conventions of two different genres and reaffirms its author's position as one of the reigning masters of contemporary suspense. (Bill Sheehan)

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, has been published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com).

Marilyn Stasio
There is a trick to keeping the faith with an old hero without letting him slip into redundancy, or worse, self-parody, and in Potshot, his 28th novel in the series, Parker shows us exactly how he does it.
New York Times Book Review
USA Today
Parker still talks the talk.
Newark Star Ledger
Parker is as good as they get.
From The Critics
These things almost write themselves, or so it must seem to Parker. Take the hero, P.I. Spenser, add a few cute scenes with his long-time girlfriend, Susan, and their aging dog, Pearl; add additional scenes with sidekick Hawk and, lately, associates Vinnie Morris, Chollo and Tedy Sapp, among others; add to this a client who needs help and you have the formula for another installment in Parker's long-running series. This time out Spenser and his motley crew head off to Potshot, a small Southwestern town where his client's husband has been murdered, claims the widow, by a gang of ruffians who have the town in their grip. The local law seems ambivalent, so the town leaders ask Spenser to help clean things up. The story ends up being about water and property rights and has the obligatory organized-crime connection. Even though less is not always more, Spenser fans will probably forgive Parker, again, for his brand of minimalist fiction.
—Randy Michael Signor

(Excerpted Review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
HThe Spenser series remains fresh after 28 novels in about 30 years. How does Parker do it? Through recurring characters as alive as any in fiction, and through exceptionally clean, graceful prose that links the novels as surely as do the characters. The author also refreshes himself through other writings the Sunny Randall series, for example, or Gunman's Rhapsody, a tale about Wyatt Earp that Putnam will publish in June. So even when Parker resorts to a bit of gimmickry, as he does here, the vitality of his storytelling prevails. The manifest gimmickry is Boston P.I. Spenser's corralling of sidekicks from previous novels Hawk, of course, but also gay Tedy Sapp from Hugger Mugger, sharpshooter Chollo from Thin Air, Vinnie Morris (from several novels) and a few others to deal with trouble in the Arizona town of Potshot. Spenser is hired by a sexy blonde to look into the shooting death there of her husband, who tangled with an outlaw group known as the Dell, which for years has extorted the citizens of Potshot. There's an eventual shootout, of course (there are enough parallels between this tale and that of Wyatt Earp to guess that Parker's forthcoming Earp novel inspired this one), but not before Spenser digs into the town's secrets, uncovering the expected but in detail, always surprising domestic mayhem and corruption. Genuinely scary villains, sassy dialogue, a deliciously convoluted mystery with roots in the classic western and Parker's pristine way with words result in another memorable case. (Mar.) Forecast: A BOMC Main Selection, this novel will hit the charts, as Spenser novels do. The gimmick involving the many sidekicks should only help sales and may even draw back a few readers who have strayed from the series. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Forbes Magazine
The moral here is to be on your guard when a beautiful damsel in distress, particularly a blonde, comes to you for help. Boston-based private investigator Spenser ends up in potshot, Ariz., a former mining town turned yuppie haven. The place is beset by an extortion gang. The husband of the blonde who hires Spencer has been murdered, supposedly for not paying tribute to the bad guys. Our hero ends up mobilizing z collection of collaborators from mysteries past. (23 Jul 2001)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal
Spenser, Parker's famous sleuth, goes west to find a murderer and clean up a nest of mountain hoodlums in the 28th installment of the series. After reconnoitering Potshot, AZ, the scene of the crime, he decides he needs reinforcements, so he calls in allies from around the country. These dangerous men a Native American, an African American, a Georgia cracker, a Mafioso, and a homosexual provide much of the book's humor, as Parker has fun with stereotypes, and reader Joe Mantegna has fun with accents. The characterization of women is equally stereotypical, but less amusing to this feminine ear. Parker's women are there to provide sexual tension and little else, a fact that Mantegna emphasizes. He raises the pitch of his voice and slows the pace and successfully insinuates that sexual conquest is uppermost in the characters' minds. This will be popular with Spenser fans and those who don't mind political incorrectness. Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Williamsburg, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399147104
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/19/2001
  • Series: Spenser Series , #28
  • Pages: 294
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker is the author of more than thirty-six books, including the recent bestsellers Perish Twice and Hugger Mugger.

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:

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One

She was wearing a straw hat, pulled down over her forehead, a short flowered dress, no stockings and white high heels. A lot of blond hair showed under the hat. Her face was nearly angelic and looked about 15, though the fact that she wore a wedding ring made me skeptical. She marched into my office like someone volunteering for active duty, and sat in one of my client chairs with her feet flat on the floor and her knees together. Nice knees.

"You're Mr. Spenser."

"I am."

"Lieutenant Samuelson of the Los Angeles Police Department said I should talk to you."

"He's right," I said.

"You know about this already?"

"No," I said. "I just think everybody should talk to me."

"Oh, yes . . . My name is Mary Lou Buckman."

"How do you do Mrs. Buckman."

"Fine, thank you."

She was quiet for a moment, as if she wasn't quite sure what she should do next. I didn't know either, so I sat and waited. Her bare legs were tan. Not tan as if she'd slathered them with oil and baked in the sun-tan as if she'd spent time outdoors in shorts. Her eyes were as big as Susan's, and bright blue.

Finally she said, "I would like to hire you."

"Okay."

"Don't you want to know more than that?"

"I wanted to start on a positive note," I said.

"I don't know if you're serious or if you're laughing at me," she said.

"I'm not always sure myself," I said. "What would you like me to do?"

She took a deep breath.

"I live in a small town in the foothills of the Saw Tooth Mountains, called Potshot. Once it was a rendezvous for mountain men, now it's a western retreat for a lot of people, mostly fromL.A., with money, who've moved there with the idea of getting their lives back into a more fundamental rhythm."

"Back out of all this now too much for us," I said.

"That's a poem or something," she said.

"Frost," I said.

She nodded.

"My husband and I came from Los Angeles. He was a football coach, Fairfax High. We got sick of the life and moved out here, there actually. We run, ran, a little tourist service, take people on horseback into the mountains and back-nothing fancy, day trips, maybe a picnic lunch."

"'We ran a service'?" I said.

"I still run it. My husband is dead."

She said it as calmly as if I'd asked his name. No effect.

I nodded.

"There was always an element to the town," she said. "I suppose you could call it a criminal element-they tended to congregate in the hills above town, a place called the Dell. There's an old mine there that somebody started once, and they never found anything and abandoned it, along with the mine buildings. They are, I suppose, sort of contemporary mountain men, people who made a living from the mountains. You know, fur trapping, hunting, scavenging. I think there are people still looking for gold, or silver, or whatever they think is in there-I don't know anything about mining. Some people have been laid off from the lumber companies, or the strip mines, there's a few left over hippies, and a general assortment of panhandlers and drunks and potheads."

"Which probably interferes with the natural rhythm of it all," I said.

"They were no more bothersome than any fringe people in any place," she said, "until about three years ago."

"What happened three years ago?"

"They got organized," she said. "They became a gang."

"Who organized them?"

"I don't know his real name. He calls himself The Preacher."

"Is he a preacher?"

"I don't know. I think so. I don't think he's being ironic."

"And there's a problem," I said.

"The gang lives off the town. They require the businessmen to pay protection. They use the stores and the restaurants and bars and don't pay. They acquire businesses in town for less than they're worth by driving out the owners. They bully the men. Bother the women."

"Cops?"

"We have a police chief. He's a pleasant man. Very likable. But he does nothing. I don't know if he's been bribed, or if he's afraid or both."

"Sheriff's Department?"

"The sheriff's deputies come out, if they're called." she said. "But it's a long way and when they arrive, there are never any witnesses."

"So why are you telling me all this?"

She shifted in her chair, and pulled the hem of her skirt down as if she could cover her knees, which she couldn't. She didn't seem to be wearing any perfume, but she generated a small scent of expensive soap.

"They killed my husband."

"I'm sorry," I said.

"He was in the Marine Corps. He played football in college," she said. "He was a very courageous man. An entirely wonderful man."

Her voice was flat and without inflection, as if she were reciting something she'd memorized.

"He wouldn't pay the Dell any money," she said. "So they killed him."

"Witnesses?"

"No one has come forward."

"How do you know it was the, ah, Dell?" I said.

"They threatened him, if he didn't pay. Who else would it be?"

"And you want me to find out which one did it?"

"Yes and see that they go to jail."

"Can you pay?"

"Yes. Up to a point."

"We'll come in under the point," I said.

She shifted in her chair again and crossed her legs, and rested her folded hands on her thigh.

"Why didn't you just sell and get out?" I said. "Move to Park City or someplace?"

"There's no market for homes anymore. No one wants to move there because of the Dell gang."

"And you knew Samuelson from your L.A. days."

"His son played for Steve . . . my husband."

"And you asked him about getting some help and he suggested me."

"Yes. He said you were good and you'd keep your word."

"A good description," I said.

"He also said you were too sure of yourself. And not as funny as you thought you were."

"Well he's wrong on the last one," I said. "But no need to argue."

"Will you do it?

"Okay," I said.

"Just like that?"

"Yep."

"What are you going to do?"

"Come out and poke around."

"That's all?"

"It's a start," I said.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 4, 2010

    I could not put this one down!

    Parker put some extra punch in this one and brought back the Spenser and Hawk that I have loved to read about all these years. The rest of the gang that he brings in to help all jump out of the pages at you. The only thing I didn't like about the book was I finished it too quickly. I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2003

    Parker is THE BEST of the best .......

    I canNOT imagine anyone giving ANY of Robert Parker's books anything less than 5 stars! This book being no exception -- it was great to have old characters brought back into action because all Parker's people are like our friends! The Spenser books are my all time favorite but I also enjoy his other hero and heroine books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    CD/Mystery: Spenser #28/This book has great banter with Spenser

    CD/Mystery: Spenser #28/This book has great banter with Spenser, Hawk, and his group of thugs. I really had fun listening to it and Joe Mantegna did a great job with the voices.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Always a good read

    Doesn't matter what Spenser book you choose, always worth the read. I only enjoy reading them in order (characters reappear in future books and relationships evolve), but every book is more than worth the time and the humor is the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2003

    One more hit in the Spenser series

    Robert B Parker has a knack for bringing the reader right into the story he is telling. I have always been a fan of the TV series ¿Spenser for Hire¿ and listening to Joe Mantegna read Mr. Parker¿s work is one of the best combinations of reader and writer I have listened to in a long time. Spenser has been hired to find out who murdered Mary Lou Buckman¿s husband in the wealthy desert town of Potshot. It is believed that a gang of misfits called The Dell is responsible but the more Spenser looks into it, the less he believes this to be true. Also, there are ties between The Dell, the murder and several people of the town¿s citizens. Is the sheriff really a good guy, what¿s the real estate agent up to, and what is a movie producer doing in this small town? A group of the Potshot¿s leaders comes to Spenser and asks him to rid them of The Dell. In order to this, Spenser hires several of his own thugs. Each has his own special personality; - a Mexican, a gay, a Native American and of course, Spenser¿s favorite partner, Hawk, along with several others who have mob connections. Mr. Mantegna has the ability to give each character his own voice so the listener has no trouble knowing who is speaking. Spenser¿s long time squeeze, Suzanne is more than a little worried as he begins this case. Mr. Parker¿s tells of the desert heat and makes it feel real. He paints a picture in words of the mountains and the people and the listener can visualize them in his/her mind from his well written descriptions. He has created each character in such a way that makes you think you might know a person like that. The final chapter brings everything to a close but not in the way a reader might expect. Potshot is a story that is hard to put down until the reader finishes the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2002

    Spenser goes West

    In Pot Shot Spenser assembles a crew and heads to Arizona to take on the bad guys. If you love Spenser, you will love this book because Spenser's crew includes some folks that are not always on his side. If you like the humor in the Spenser series, check out a book called The Fractal Murders; the humor is quite similar and the writing is just as good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2001

    Great character study and very good story weaving, but lacks conclusion

    I am a die-hard Spenser fan. I have not found a mystery writer who has been able to top Parker's story telling and his outstanding character study. POTSHOT was a very creative work. Parker's way of weaving an old-fashioned western novel into a Spenser story was a stroke of brilliance. Parker's involvement of all the primary co-characters was another great idea. I enjoyed their interactions immensely. My only concern is that Parker as of late has been writing novels that do not really have a finish. This is not his first time doing that. He did the same in HUGGER MUGGER. I as a reader enjoy full closure stories. While I love great character studies, I'm not into soap operas. I have and will recommend Parker at the B&N I work for, but I do hope that he concludes his next set of novels (either the next Spenser, Jesse Stone or Sunny Randall).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2001

    The Magnificent Seven Ride Again!

    With the exception of ripping off ¿The Magnificent Seven¿ and/or ¿The Seven Samurai¿ I really enjoyed this book. Spenser heads west to Potshot, AZ. to save the town from the evil Preacher and his banditos. Spenser reunites with Hawk and four other characters from recent novels. Together they try to save the town while solving a murder. The book is easy to read, action packed and funny, it should be enjoyed by both Spenser and non-Spenser fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Take a potshot and read Potshot

    I had not read a Robert Parker novel before. So I did not know what to expect. I understand he has written several westerns? It shows. While I enjoyed Mr. Parker taking a potshot by writing Potshot in the back of my mind I kept wondering when his characters would circle the wagons and if the cavalry would arrive on time. Don¿t get me wrong I loved the book. And Mr. Parker seems to have covered all of his bases. The beautiful damsel, the tough as nails protagonist, a gay, a black, a Mexican, and an Indian. (Homosexual, Afro-American, Latino, Native American) You see, the Preacher and his banditos are holed up in the Dell, kind of like the hole-in-the-wall gang from the old west. The hero needs to root them out so he rounds up his posse, the gay, the black, etc. He comes up with four of them; he falls two hombres short to suit me. I wanted seven, kind of like in the movie western The Magnificent Seven. If you have sound tracks from any of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns I¿d recommend you play them softly in the background as you sip your branch water and enjoy Potshot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2001

    THIS READING HITS THE TARGET!

    Few books are as eagerly awaited as a new Spenser thriller, and here it is read by the inimitable Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna. The West becomes even wilder when Boston based P.I. Spenser heads in that direction - to Potshot, Arizona, a defunct mining town reborn as a mecca for the rich, a playground for California's bored wealthy. Problem is such overt wealth attracts thieves like flies to honey. Headed by a fiery type known only as The Preacher, a band of homegrown hoodlums soon threatens the residents' gold plated existence. The police are powerless. It falls to Spenser to thwart the gang and build a police force capable of keeping crime at bay. Whichever part he plays Joe Mantegna renders a stellar performance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2001

    Awesome Book!

    Potshot is a very good book! I really liked it because it was very interesting of Mary Lou's husband to die. If you want a book that it's not boring and want a book that you cant take your hands off, I recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    SPENSER IS BACK IN ACTION!!!

    For me, the publication of a new ¿Spenser¿ novel is like opening presents on Christmas morning! There¿s always the instant rush of anticipation and excitement. In Robert Parker¿s newest edition to the series, POTSHOT, our Boston P.I. is hired by Mary Lou Buckman to investigate the murder of her husband. The Buckmans had moved from Los Angeles to Potshot, Arizona in order to run a small travel service; but, when Steve Buckman refused to pay protection money to a gang of roughnecks called the Dell, he was shot to death in broad daylight on Potshot¿s main boulevard. Spenser decides to take the case and flies out to Arizona to do a little investigating. What he soon discovers is that Mary Lou slept around with a number of men who might have wanted to see her husband dead; that the Dell (led by a man called The Preacher) is scaring folks out of Potshot; that someone is buying up the property at an alarming rate; and that he can¿t take on the Dell by himself. Flying back to Boston, Spenser enlists the aid of Hawk and Vinnie Morris. He then travels around the country to recruit Chollo, Tedy Sapp and a couple of other tough guys to help him fight the Dell. While his posse heads to Potshot, Spenser continues to check into the background of the Buckmans and discovers some things that begin to shed light on the situation in the small Arizona town. Before anything can be done, however, the Preacher and his gang of cutthroats must be dealt with. The showdown between Spenser, his men, and the forty-or-so members of the Dell is definitely worth the price of the book. What POTSHOT does is bring several of Spenser¿s acquaintances together in one story to pit them against a larger force. It¿s fun to read as Hawk and Vinnie and Tedy and Chollo try to outdo each other in the ¿toughness¿ arena. Of course, we know that Hawk and Spenser could¿ve taken on the gang by themselves and won. Still, it¿s great to see all of these other characters from past novels come together to interact with each other. I do wish the novel had been longer with more confrontations with the Dell before the final shootout. As usual, Parker¿s dialogue is crisp and funny. Spenser still has his sense of wit and humor, and isn¿t afraid to use it in front of the bad guys. That¿s probably one of the best things about Spenser, besides his code of honor. I will say that the ending left me a little confused. Without giving it away, I¿m still not exactly sure who killed Steve Buckman. It could have been one of two people. All in all, reading POTSHOT is a wonderful way to spend an evening. It¿s like getting together with an old friend for a few hours and reminiscing about the past year. Life doesn¿t get much better than this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2001

    Witty Dialogue, an All-Star Cast, and a Showdown

    Potshot is an improvement over recent Spenser novels. There's more mystery here, the dialogue is in top form, and many characters you haven't read about in years are brought together. I particularly liked the way that Mr. Parker arranged the plot so that Spenser's strong feelings about the right way to do things would be apparent in a new way. My only complaint (why the book got four stars instead of five) is that the last two pages of the ending made no sense to me . . . except as an extreme form of irony. Surely, Mr. Parker isn't as ironic as this seems. Or is he? You'll have to see what you think. Those pages remind me of the ending of The Maltese Falcon in some ways. Spenser is comfortably encased in his office in Boston when a new client enters, from Potshot, Arizona. The attractive Ms. Mary Lou Buckman has been recently widowed. Her husband was shot after having been threatened by a mysterious gang leader called The Preacher, who runs a protection racket. 'They killed my husband.' 'He wouldn't pay the Dell any money.' The local police are making no headway, and a mutual friend from the L.A.P.D., Lieutenant Samuelson, has recommended Spenser. Arriving in Potshot (a cross between a refurbished ghost town for yuppies and biker heaven in the weeds), everyone praises the late Mr. Buckman, agrees that The Preacher had him killed, and offers no hard evidence. A woman in town begins vamping Spenser, and he gets a sense that some things are not as portrayed. During an interview with The Preacher, he becomes convinced that someone other than the gang killed Buckman. Taking Susan for a West Coast swing to check things out, Spenser finds that the case is even hotter than he imagined. Soon, he is assembling the ultimate A-Team of shooters to take on the 40 bad guys in the Dell (The Preacher's gang). You will find Vinnie Morris, Bobby Horse, Chollo, Bernard J. Fortunato, Tedy Sapp, and Hawk on the team. This section is a little briefer than would have been ideal, but there's good fun here. The mystery and its resolution fit nicely into a typical small town Western plot. Overall, the book has quite a range. Some sections are like shoot-outs in old Westerns while other parts have funny French and literary plays on words. As a result, this book has something for almost everyone and should be quite popular. After you finish, ask yourself the question of how you can spot situations where there are more red herrings than real clues to the motives of those you are dealing with. How can you get past the red herrings? What questions should you ask? Mr. Parker's answer is that character will out. I suspect he's right. Look for character clues. If you can't find any, set up the situation to develop some. That's what Spenser's approach to sticking out his neck is all about. Bang! Who's dead now? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Author needs proofreader, not spellcheck

    I've read every single one of Robert B. Parker's books and eagerly awaited 'Potshot.' I did like the story, but was disappointed to find lots of sloppiness. To wit: ¿ Page 2 - Saw Tooth, Page 7 - Sawtooth. Pick one. The mountain range is the latter, one word. ¿ Many times sentences are lacking words and complete thoughts: Page 52, line 10: This not surprising (needs an is); Page 192, line 8 from bottom: What are packing for a handgun (needs a you); Page 222, line 11 from bottom: Sick the snow (needs an of). ¿ Balancing out, there are sentences with extra words: Page 19, last line: from from traffic (one from is sufficient); Page 223, line 7: I¿d be selling real estate as from early in the morning (as??); ¿ Page 21- rotary club, Page 71 Rotary Club. (Rotarians need capital letters). ¿ Page 165, line 3: Carol Sloane, Page 165, line 14: Carol Sloan (no e); (Carol wishes you could spell her last. name) ¿ Page 198: ¿Yes, I said. . . (quotation marks need closure after ¿yes,¿). ¿ Throughout the book (page 173, 192, 208, etc.) you can¿t decide if it¿s¿in to¿or ¿into¿ or both. ¿ Page 239: Cops always know where they¿re donuts. (They¿re is a contraction for ¿they are.¿ Here, if you want the vernacular, it should be there¿re. . . there are.). I expect the proofreading to match the plot.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2001

    Potshot

    Potshot keeps to Mr. Parkers use of dialouge as the main vehicle to tell his story. I like his use of his cronies to try and keep Spenser from crossing the line from knight in shining armour to thug. It is also a great remake of The Seven Samarui or as we know it The Magnificent Seven. This didn't really dawn on me until Chollo quoted Steve McQueen. This is the second time that I've seen this movie mentioned. Overall the book is well written with the relationships between the townspeople morally bankrupt and Spenser who moves through these surburbanites with his usual ease. I liked the book and love the series but I did not like the way it ended. There was no conclusion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2001

    Ending is a potshot for sure.

    Book has a very disappointing ending.

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    Posted September 17, 2011

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    Posted November 19, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

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