Spenser heads back to the Boston suburbs to help a mother whose son has been arrested for—wait for it—setting up a fake Twitter account.
When you’re the sort of kid who steps out of line in Blackburn, Judge Joe Scali knows what to do with you. Just ask Jake Cotner, who got nine months at the barbaric juvenile camp on Fortune Island for breaking windows in an old warehouse, or Ryan Bell, who did six months for throwing a steak at his crazy stepmother. But Sheila Yates, whose son Dillon has just drawn nine months for “stalking and terrorism” after posting humiliating tweets on an account he set up in the name of Blackburn High Vice Principal Luke Waters, isn’t about to take Dillon’s sentence lying down. She hires Spenser, who assures her, “I would’ve paid you to take this on,” and he goes into overdrive. So does the hanging juvie judge, along with his patron, district judge Gavin Callahan, every cop in Blackburn, and—once Spenser, as foretold by the imprudently spoiler title, has tied the rash of imprisoned kids to a for-profit corporation working hand in hand with the mob—a bunch of hard cases who clearly aren’t impressed by Spenser’s resume (Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot, 2014, etc.). Interpolated scenes at Fortune Island don’t intensify the suspense but simply break up the momentum.
The ritualistic series of face-offs will be red meat for franchise fans, and it’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life, even though his rescue of Dillon predictably fails to put much of a dent in even little Blackburn’s prison-for-profit scheme.