PLAYMATES by Robert B. Parker
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Which came first--the "Spenser" TV series or the Spenser novels that read like run-of-the-mill television scripts? In any case, this 16th outing for the Boston shamus is easy-reading, low-level fare, with virtually no mystery and very little suspense. Hired by Taft U. to check out nasty rumors about the university's ace basketball team, Spenser is soon convinced that team star Dwayne Woodcock has indeed been "point shaving." Moreover, Dwayne--from a Brooklyn ghetto--is an illiterate who's been faking his way through college, with tacit cooperation (or worse) from the faculty. So Spenser wants to help the kid learn how to read, and how to get free from his gambler-cronies. But Dwayne resists all such noble efforts--even after he's been benched, even after his girlfriend aligns herself with Spenser. And there'll be some violent encounters between the bad guys (a gambler-thug and his moll) and the good guys (Spenser, girlfriend Susan, sidekick Hawk) before the vaguely upbeat fade-out. Thinly plotted, including one highly extraneous murder--but fast, breezy, and with enough of the usual trimmings (fancy cooking, smart one-liners, tough-guy preening) to please undemanding fans.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1989
ISBN: 399-13425-5
Publisher: Putnam
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