The Widening Gyre, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 0440195357
Five out of five stars
Spenser is a bit lovesick
This Spenser story is a bit different from the others regarding the client and the involvement of the main characters. The client is a politician (Meade Alexander) that is running on an extremely religious theme against an incumbent that is mob connected, specifically “owned” by Joe Broz. It is a race for a Senate seat in Massachusetts and there have been serious threats against the candidate.
At first the job seems to be routine security, but that changes quickly when Spenser is informed that Alexander’s wife has been extremely indiscreet sexually, to the point where there is a tape. While investigating, Spenser learns that renegade elements of Joe Broz’s criminal organization are responsible for the making of the tape.
Susan Silverman is heavily engaged in furthering her career in Washington D. C., so her involvement is mostly descriptions of Spenser lamenting her absence. Although they do have a few trysts. Hawk makes a token appearance, but only after Spenser is seriously injured. To the extent that there is a sidekick role, it is filled by Quirk and Benson. The main interaction is between Spenser and Joe Broz with Vinnie Morris. While Broz will not hesitate to have Spenser killed, the most logical solution is to reach an agreement rather than let the bullets fly.
The best and worst feature of this story is the self-doubts expressed by Spenser. His is a world where a moment’s hesitation can get you killed, so while the reader can appreciate the vulnerability, it also is not a trait consistent with his necessary thuggish nature.