Hush Money, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 0399144587
Five out of five stars
The environment within which Spenser is operating in this case has two components. The first is the denial of the academic tenure of a black man with a history with Hawk. The man’s father was a boxing trainer and a mentor to Hawk in his younger years, so we learn some background material on the enigmatic partner of Spenser. Hawk asks Spenser to investigate the matter and things get seedy very fast. For reasons that are explained, the normally unflappable Hawk goes somewhat berserk in beating up an academic.
What seemingly is an instance of puzzling academic politics turns into a dangerous situation involving an extremely militant black man and a white supremacist organization. They are connected in a very intimate and physical way.
The second component develops as a consequence of a request from Susan. Her old friend K. C. Roth is being stalked and there are two logical suspects but no evidence. Roth is a walking example of the emotionally needy, so she decides that her problems will be solved by having a sexual romp with Spenser. When he rejects her, Roth begins stalking him until Susan rather emphatically intervenes.
This is another excellent story involving the wise-cracking yet extremely efficient detective. Like the other stories, the dialog between Spenser and Hawk is crisp, effective and amusing.