Just what you’ve been waiting for: Spenser and his circle celebrate Christmas by asking some questions, doing some good deeds and shooting down some bad guys.
Resurrected this time by Parker’s agent and literary executor Brann, the Boston shamus (Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, 2013, etc.) is pulled back into the ring by Jackie Alvarez, who runs the unlicensed shelter Street Business, and Slide, one of the kids (“eleven going on thirty”) he’s taken in. Somebody is evidently bent on driving Street Business out of business, and Jackie wants the harassment to stop or at least wants to know who’s responsible. Jackie’s older brother Juan, a wealthy importer-exporter, has always supported Street Business financially and logistically, even to the point of sending two brutal minions to serve as Jackie’s gofers. But he’s kept his distance from his brother, and neither his meeting with Spenser at a society fundraiser nor the news that Spenser’s been asking Juan’s girlfriend, Carmen, a retired tennis player, questions brings the brothers closer together in time to light the Yuletide log. As Spenser goes through his routines—huddling with his main man, Hawk, calling in favors from Frank Belson of Boston Homicide and Capt. Healy of the State Police, working out at the gym, indulging in some discreet hanky-panky with his live-in therapist Dr. Susan Silverman, stuffing a turducken for the holiday dinner—you can feel Brann ticking off the boxes without adding anything of her own except for Christmas, which is a passing strange addition to the franchise.
The mystery is even less robust than Parker’s own final cases for the peerless PI, but Spenser lets nothing him dismay. If this adventure lights the tree, expect Christmas tales starring Jack Reacher, Alex Cross and Hannibal Lecter.