The Usual Spenser (with no review spoilers to ruin your read)
Feb 17, 2008
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 clichéd 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. 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.
This is the worst of the Spenser novels. FBI agent Dennis Doherty walks into Spenser's office and asks him to follow his wife, as he believes that she is having an affair. After he takes the case, Spenser has no difficulty in proving that she is involved with Perry Alderson, a professor and leader of a terrorist group. When Doherty confronts his wife with the evidence and kicks her out of the house, she goes to Alderson and he refuses to allow her to stay with him. Shortly after this, … more
One of the reasons fans of Robert B. Parker keep coming back for more is the characters. Now and Then has a great plot, but it also continues to develop the characters it is so well known for - Spenser, Susan, and Hawk, as well as a couple of old favorites, Vinie and Chollo. In Now and Then, Spenser takes on a case we don't see him accept too often. Dennis Doherty hires him to find out if his wife is cheating on him. In the course of the investigation Spenser runs across a … more