Much like Stuart Woods has most of his novels in the Stone Barrington series open at a certain New York restaurant, Robert B. Parker has his open in the classic and some would argue clichÃ©d way of beginning at Spenser’s office in Boston with a client walking in the door. While both series written by their respective authors feature a lack of character development for the most part as well as limited description of the surroundings in favor of a quick read, the books are very different with Robert B. Parker being the master in packing information for the reader in the form of dialogue.
From the second Dennis Doherty walks into his office, Spenser knows something is off and not just the fact that they aren’t remotely getting along. Flippant as he always is regardless of whether or not it is a cop, thug, damsel in distress or in this case Dennis Doherty it quickly becomes clear that they won’t be friends and Dennis is hiding something.Â What is obvious is that he is hoping against hope that his wife isn’t cheating on him and wants Spenser to investigate.
Jordan Richmond, the woman Dennis Doherty loves deep into his soul, is the wife and it doesn’t take long for Spenser to confirm she is cheating and hadn’t chosen the best person to risk her marriage. She is into something Spenser isn’t sure how to handle. Before long, he has to go full bore with Hawk and several others as backup in a dangerous cat and mouse game that could result in Susan being killed. As he investigates, not only is he working a case with national security angles and Susan in direct danger because of his actions, he is forced to confront their not too distant past and how they ultimately reconciled.
With occasionally slightly more introspection than normal in the series, Spenser does not spend lots of time thinking about the past. What is done is done and they are fine now so everything worked out for the best seems to be his motto. Instead, his focus is on a killer, one known to all including readers from early on in the book and how best to finally stop him. The result is a fast paced read that Spenser fans will love from start to finish.
Â Now & Then: A Spenser Novel
Robert B. Parker
G. p. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group USA, Inc.
Â Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2008