Monday, February 17, 2020

Review of "Hundred-Dollar Baby," by Robert B. Parker

Review of

Hundred-Dollar Baby, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 9780399153761

Five out of five stars

 In the previous Spenser novel called “Ceremony,” with Spenser’s help teenager April Kyle was able to escape the life of a street sex worker. This was where she ended up after fleeing a terrible home life. Spenser did the best that he could do in the circumstances, he managed to place April in a high-class bordello where she was shielded from the most brutal of circumstances. April also fell into a situation where she needed Spenser’s assistance in “Taming a Sea Horse.”

 This story opens when a woman Spenser describes as a knockout walks into his office with no appointment. Until she identifies herself, Spenser does not recognize April. She is now running her own house, apparently doing quite well both financially and personally. However, she is now being shaken down by some low-level thugs and needs Spenser’s help once again.

 At first it makes no sense, Spenser checks with Tony Marcus, the man in thorough control of the local sex trade and it is not his doing. With Hawk’s aid, they easily deal with the part-time thugs that arrive to harass April and her girls. There being no usual suspects to follow, Spenser must rely on the good will of people in April’s past to search out anyone that may be behind the harassment.

 The story is a good one with the usual Parker dialog between Spenser and the other supporting characters Hawk, Susan, some of the regular villains and police officers Quirk and Belson. There is not much action in the area of fisticuffs or gunplay and there is an unexpected ending. Throughout, Spenser laments what he did for April and asks if he could have done more. Although Susan assures him that he made her situation the best that it could be, it shows the human side of Spenser, the professional tough guy and occasional killer.

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