This latest one in the series opens, as many do, with Spenser gazing out his office window at the women passing below on Berkeley Street. Middle of September finds the women starting to display the fall fashions, the Red Sox out of contention, and the sky grayish but not overcast. His musings are interrupted by Ms. Heidi Bradshaw who would like to hire him.

 

She has a home off the coast on Tashtego Island. She wants to hire Spenser to be there for an event in late October and isn’t at all specific as to why she wants Spenser around. “I want you to be the man I can turn to if I need something.” (Page 9) As long as he can bring Susan, longtime girlfriend, Spenser is agreeable and takes the job.

 

October comes quickly and on the appointed day Dr. Susan Silverman, looking ravishing as always, and Spenser arrive at the island. Pearl the wonder dog had to be left back home and that is probably just as well. Everything is under tight control as it should be considering the monies under Heidi Bradshaw’s control and her expensive tastes. After all, her only daughter is getting married. So things have to be perfect. But, Ms. Bradshaw can’t control the fact that a hurricane is coming closer by the hour and the weather is worsening. She also can’t control the fact that multiple murders, a kidnapping, and the return of the notorious “Gray Man” will disrupt the wedding.

 

This latest Spenser plows absolutely no new ground in terms of character development, the characters themselves or plot. Entertaining enough as a story, the book dusts off numerous old associates that have made this journey many times before. The novel also dusts off many an old conversation between Spenser and Susan about what makes him different that the “Gray Man’ or Hawk or several other returning characters. It also reaches a conclusion that is utterly predictable and as such borders on the clichéd. The minimalist prose continues so chapters are short, descriptions lacking, and the novel has a feel of a short story padded to novel length.

 

And yet, this is Spenser. One can’t help overlooking the numerous weaknesses in the book simply because Spenser is an old favorite. As such, it is hard to be critical because it would be nice to be Spenser for a day. And if Susan Silverman was around, the night would be pretty good too.

 

Take it for what it is which is simplistic reliable entertainment that pleasantly diverts one’s attention from the real world. Considering how most things are these days in the real world, that kind of mindless fun reading is a good thing. Especially since the Steven Seagall movies are so bad lately.

  

Rough Weather: A Spenser Novel

Robert B. Parker

Thorndike Press

http://gale.cengage.com/thorndike

2008

ISBN# 1-4104-0841-8

Hardback—Large Print Version

329 Pages

 

Review copy provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

 

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

 

“By The Light Of The Moon”
The Carpathian Shadows  Volume 2
Print or E-book
http://www.booksforabuck.com/sfpages/sf_08/carpathian_shadows2.html

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