Any new installment in Parker's long-running series starring tough, wisecracking Boston PI Spenser is a pleasure, and this time out high-maintenance girlfriend Susan Silverman is out of town, giving readers unfettered Spenser face time. The wealthy Lily Ellsworth hires Spenser to prove the innocence of her grandson, Jared Clark, accused of a Columbine High School-style shooting that has left five students and two teachers dead. Jared has confessed to the crime, and Spenser faces major opposition from local law enforcement officials, school authorities, dysfunctional parents, opposing lawyers and deadly gang-bangers. As always, Spenser solves the case in a surprising manner, shoots some bad guys and has several attractive women offer him sex, all of which he handles in his proficient, wisenheimer way. Susan's German shorthaired pointer Pearl gets a lot of attentive babysitting, but longtime sidekick Hawk is nowhere in evidence. Those who have stuck with Spenser as Parker invented (and set loose) other case-crackers will be rewarded once again with another solid installment in this fine, enduring series. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
America's mystery maestro scores again. Our private investigator hero Spenser (no first name) is hired by a grandmother to prove the innocence of her 17-year-old grandson, who, along with another schoolmate, has been accused of killing seven students and teachers and wounding eight others in a Columbine-like massacre. The trouble is, the kid has confessed to his part in the hideous crime. (14 Nov 2005)
Spenser agrees to investigate a teenage killer who, with another boy, entered his posh New England high school with serious weapons and randomly started firing, killing students and faculty. The boy has confessed, yet his grandmother believes that he's innocent. His parents want him imprisoned so they can forget they ever had such an unsatisfactory child. Spenser doesn't know what to think, but he knows there's a lot more to the story than anyone's telling; perhaps the sexy school psychologist is the key. Most of Parker's books include Spenser's colorful friends, but this mystery, set in suburban Boston, is full of colorless suburbanites. So while Joe Mantegna does his usual fine reading, he does not have the opportunity to demonstrate his facility with accents and voices. Spenser fans will find this work less amusing than some of his other tales but still will want to listen. Recommended for most mystery collections.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Just when you thought the Spenser saga (Cold Service, 2005, etc.) had tailed off into attitude and wryly clipped trash talk, Parker socks another home run with a tale ripped from not-so-recent headlines. Two students in ski masks executed seven people at Dowling Academy before one of them, Wendell Grant, surrendered to police. The authorities are convinced the other one was Jared Clark, the buddy Grant gave up to them when they pressured him. So why is blue-blooded Lily Ellsworth so convinced her grandson is innocent that she's offered a pot of money to Spenser to prove it? As the dean of Boston private eyes sets out to question the interested parties-and he gets stonewalled so consistently by cops and administrators who want "closure" and "healing" that the biggest mystery is how he's ever going to find anything out-one thing is clear: Jared sure looks guilty. Spenser's dogged attempts to learn where the killers got their weapons and the training to use them leads him to a student hangout where the kids are even more laconic than he is, a bunch of gangbangers even more prone to violence, and inevitably more murder. Given such a bitter harvest, it's no wonder he gets paid off and sent packing. His response is merely to change his focus to the question of why Jared, a slow, inoffensive kid who, despite the testimony of dishy school psychologist Beth Ann Blair, doesn't seem to fit the profile of the classic disaffected teen killer, would have joined forces with a bully like Wendell Clark. The shattering answer shows that Parker's willing to borrow from more than one set of real-life headlines. Spenser's most wide-ranging, deeply felt and penetrating case in years, one that will leave youwondering why, as one kid says, violence doesn't break out at schools more often.
“Crackling prose and juicy repartee.”—Entertainment Weekly
“The best Spenser novel since Early Autumn.”—The Associated Press
“Plenty of entertainment…The two-fisted P.I. is in good form and his creator in fine fettle here.”—Los Angeles Times
“Spenser fans…will be thrilled to have their wise-cracking Boston private eye back again…navigating the perilous shoals of suburban discontent and ripped-from-the-headlines horror stories—with only his fanciful German pointer, Pearl, to keep him company.”—New York Post
“Spenser returns! He fights, he flirts, he cooks, he wisecracks, he quotes poetry. This thirty-third outing for the Boston private eye is one of the most psychologically astute and well-choreographed entries in the entire series. This is a high point in one of the genre’s classic series.”—Booklist
”A pleasure…another solid installment in this fine, enduring series.”—Publishers Weekly
“Vintage Parker…Everyone interested in mystery and contemporary writing in general should read at least one of the Spenser novels.”—Library Journal
“Parker is at the top of his game…School Days [is] one of the best and most timely books Mr. Parker has ever written.”—Midwest Book Review
“A crackling yarn.”—Boston Magazine