Spenser goes to bat for an old friend whose condo in Revere has become a most desirable property for all the wrong reasons.
The money bantamweight boxing promoter Henry Cimoli’s been offered for his place in the Ocean View Condominium isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either, and he’s too old to move without some inducement; getting beaten up by a pair of goons is not his idea of an inducement. So, although he hates asking Spenser for a favor, he grits his teeth and asks. First, Spenser and his Cree apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, help even the odds against the goons; then Z gets beaten up himself before Spenser’s able to identify Vegas casino mogul Rick Weinberg as the player behind Envolve Development’s sexy, brutal Jemma Fraser, who hired the thugs. Armed with knowledge as well as fists and guns, Spenser threatens to go to the newspapers with Weinberg’s plans, which will send Ocean View values skyrocketing before he can close the deal, unless he sweetens his offer. Weinberg, perhaps egged on by the conscience of Rachel, his wife of 40 years, obligingly ups the ante, and the condo board votes unanimously to accept his offer. The win-win scenario collapses, however, when someone cuts off Weinberg’s head, putting the deal in doubt and forcing Spenser to look deeper into the financials—until he finds himself up against not just two hirelings, but the full majesty of old-time mobster Gino Fish’s troops.
Since his creator’s death, Spenser’s dialogue, flippant to start with, has become relentlessly arch, and the tendency must be catching, since several other characters get into verbal jousts with him. Still, it may be unfair to complain that Atkins (Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby, 2012) doesn’t write exactly like Parker. All in all, an entertaining effort.