Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, novels featuring Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, Parker died in January 2010.
YA Parker's story has a timely plot revolving around cocaine smuggling through a Massachusettes town from a syndicate in South America. Spenser comes to town to probe the death of a newspaper reporter who knew too much. It soon becomes apparent that the chief of police is involved in the drug operation. After a second murder, Susan, his psychologist girlfriend; Hawk, a man of special skills; and Lindquist, the cooperative state trooper, join forces against the drug kingpin. Lots of action, some violence, and a little romance keep the plot moving right along. Easy, fast-paced reading that should appeal to teen mystery fans. Anne Paget, Episcopal High School, Bellaire
The TV series Spenser: For Hire is based on Parker's bestselling series of mysteries starring a Boston private detective, and this taut thriller will no doubt match its predecessors' success. The murder of newspaper reporter Eric Valdez takes Spenser to Wheaton, Mass., where Valdez was investigating a Colombian cocaine operation. After a meeting with the police chief, Bailey Rogers, the detective is waylaid by thugs whom he beats handily. Spenser confirms his suspicions that a grocery wholesaler, Felipe Esteva, is dealing the drug and paying off the police. The next murder victim, however, is Rogers, whose young son drives a truck for Esteva. Spenser daringly hijacks a fortune in cocaine and offers to sell it to Esteva, as dangerous a ploy as the macho detective has ever attempted. When his only ally, a state trooper, is ``reassigned,'' Spenser brings his lover Susan to help with psychological warfare and his sidekick Hawk to face Esteva's mob. Parker keeps the reader's adrenalin pumping overtime until Spenser and company claim the victory. Mystery Guild dual main selection; Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate. (June 5)