This is the last book in the Spenser series written by Robert B. Parker, who died in January of 2010, and so it will hold a special place in the heart of any fan. Although Spenser’s iconic sidekick Hawk is missing from this entry, a new character bearing the title name is introduced and would no doubt have figured in future novels had Parker lived.
The story begins as Captain Quirk of the Boston Police Department asks Spenser to look into a murder case which doesn’t quite add up. Hollywood star Jumbo Nelson, as large in size and appetites as his name would imply, is accused of killing a star-struck young fan with whom he spent the night in his luxury hotel. Jumbo is being defended by high-powered lawyer and Spencer friend Rita Fiore, who puts Spenser on the payroll to dig into the facts of the case. Rita soon quits, refusing to take any guff from her mean-tempered client, but Spenser is like a dog with a bone—he keeps on gnawing away despite being officially off the case. He is assisted by Jumbo’s ex-bodyguard, a former college football star and Native American named Zebulon Sixkill. Spencer handily beats Sixkill in a fight then becomes a mentor to the young man, helping him conquer the demons from his past and become a warrior worthy of his Cree ancestry.
They uncover some hidden facts and defend themselves from the Mob muscle sent to kill them. The novel builds to a surprising ending in which the true villain of the story is revealed.
The book crackles with the snappy dialogue and philosophical musings for which Spenser is famous. His relationship with true love Susan Silverman is as solid as ever, and there are enjoyable appearances by dimunitive fighter Henry Cimoli and crime figures Tony Marcus, Junior and the spaced-out Ty-Bop. While the plot is a bit too thin to be among the best of the Spenser series, this is still an enjoyable entry in the series and, as the last one written by Parker, a must-read for any fan.