Saturday, April 26, 2008
In 1989, Robert B. Parker published his sixteenth Spenser novel entitled "Playmates". From the cover, it is clear that this case involves basketball. Spenser is hired by a local university to investigate the rumors of point-shaving in their basketball program. In typical Spenser fashion, the investigator gets to the bottom of the situation quickly but also finds an unexpected element that makes it a difficult problem to wrap up.
I really enjoyed the characterizations of the basketball coach, the star team player and his girlfriend. Parker has a good talent at making new characters interesting to the readers. By the same token, he again brings back the old reliable supporting cast of Susan, Hawk and the local Boston police detectives. That's a good key to building a solid fictional world, and Parker does it well.
My only nit - it seems, once again, that Parker has to tie-up the loose ends quickly to get to a resolution before the chapters run out. It sort of reminds me of those investigative television shows where the leads are running on different angles for the first forty-five minutes and then, in the final scenes, pull together the right clues to solve the problem. I guess it's the nature of the genre.