ROBERT B. PARKER – Chance. Spenser #23. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, 1996.  Berkley, paperback, 1997.

   Spenser takes a job from a mob figure to find the man’s son-in-law, and quickly discovers he’s not the only one looking. Pretty soon he’s unpopular with everybody, including his employer, and he and Hawk are dodging people they didn’t know existed.

   I keep reading these, just like everybody else, and I always feel guilty about it. There isn’t any substance to them and hasn’t been for many years, and Parker’s been parodying his own brand of macho fantasy for over a decade. All that said, if Chance was the first book from a new writer it would probably be one of the better firsts of the year.

   Parker may be, is, all moves/no punch, but the moves are still slick and professional, Spenser is still the kind of character people like to root for, and Hawk is still the quintessential badass. (But Susan and the dog still and forever bite the big one.)

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #24, March 1996.