Monday, September 24, 2018

Boston P.I. Spenser Hunts a Con Man

Spenser, Robert B. Parker's iconic Boston P.I., appears here for the forty-fifth time, now in the very capable hands of Ace Atkins who has revived the series and made it fresh again.

As the book opens, Spenser's Significant Other, the therapist Susan Silverman, refers one of her clients, Connie Kelly, to Spenser. Kelly has fallen hard for a guy named M. Brooks Welles who claims to be a former high-ranking secret agent for the U. S. government. Welles has impressed not only Kelly, but a number of cable news networks who have regularly featured him as a noted authority on military matters and international developments.

Welles convinces Kelly to give him nearly $300,000, which he is going to invest in a sure-fire scheme that will make her a fortune. But then Welles disappears and Kelly realizes that she has been conned. Embarrassed, she wants Spenser to find Welles and recover her money.

That will turn out to be a complicated process. Welles is involved in a complex web of mischief with a bunch of gun runners and other bad actors, none of whom want Spenser messing around in their business. Federal agents are also involved in the hunt, and they don't want Spenser messing around in their business, either.

Naturally, Spenser could not care less what either the Bad Guys or the Good Guys want. He's on a mission, with the assistance of his best friend, Hawk, and he's not about to be deterred. The result is a very entertaining novel that is sure to please any fan of the series and practically anyone else who enjoys crime fiction.

If I have one nit to pick with the book, it involves the fact that in his earlier Spenser novels, Atkins had seriously toned down the sappy, saccharine byplay between Spenser and Susan Silverman that so annoyed many readers, this one included. He seems to have stepped it back up a notch in this book, and thus left me cringing at several of their scenes together. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book enormously.

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