Early Autumn, by Robert B Parker

Spenser is hired to find a kid who has become a bit of a ping-pong ball in a bitter divorce. What starts as a routine case is complicated by Spenser’s realisation that neither parent actually cares about their son. Always a bit of a softy, Spenser decides to take the kid under his wing to teach him to build, box, cook and the rudiments of feminism.

Early Autumn is a similarly themed book to Sixkill, the last Spenser novel written by Robert B Parker. It is about mentoring, perhaps even fatherhood, and how boys learn to become men. This leads to much of Spenser’s trade-mark philosophising and wry observations on life.

This being Spenser, of course, his chivalrous act upsets some nasty Boston hoodlums and so Spenser and his buddy Hawk are compelled to show these gangsters the errors of their ways.

In other words this is another fine chapter in the chronicles of Spenser – an efficient and thoughtful thriller without a word wasted.

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