Spenser's girlfriend Susan goes away with another man, Jerry Costigan, the son of a very rich and dangerous criminal. Spenser and his friend, Hawk, go to find Susan. Soon they are in the world of the CIA, guns and murder.More
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Outlandish Events in the Name of Love
- Me & My Girls
Bizarre story, well told
This is where the series starts to get weird, and it's hard to disassociate it from the personal life of the author, if you have any knowledge of that. The good: this is some of the best pure action you're likely to get in a Spenser novel. It hits the ground running and doesn't stop. Hawk and Spenser genuinely feel like they are thinking through incredible odds to triumph in ways that at least seem plausible. "Grounded" is the hollywood term. It's when you get to Spenser and Susan when things take a turn for the weird. Spenser is forced to do a lot of morally questionable things in order to extricate Susan from a situation which by her own admission is of her own making. I'm not sure if it's a fault of the plot or the point, but Susan chooses a man that any reasonably sane woman would steer clear of. When Spenser and Susan finally get to talk about her choices and the events of the story, including those terrible things Spenser was forced to do to save her, the entirety of the conversation is about her problems and how her choices made sense TO HER, as if that is all that matters. And Spenser's acceptance of this interpretation takes me out of the story. There is no question in my mind that Susan's choices would only be made by a profoundly damaged person and the lack of attention to the collateral damage caused by these choices...well, I have to attribute it to an author who has lost his way in his own life, because no other character objects (Paul would seem to be an ideal choice for a dissenting opinion). It makes for a strange and off-putting reading experience. On some level Parker must have agreed because these question will all be addressed in Potshot (I believe) when Spenser finally takes Susan to task for what she puts him through in this book. But really, it needed to be in this novel. Spenser comes off, to some extent, as a lovelorn dope for whom anything is excusable, no matter how morally repugnant, in his quest. Susan comes off as a sociopath who cares for nothing but her own personal development. It's the nightmare of psychiatry and self help gone awry come true.
Ironically when these issues are finally addressed in Potshot, it gives that book a moral and emotional center that is missing in this entry.
And yet... everything else about this book is just so good that I am forced to ignore this so I can enjoy the action.
- dennis calero