THIN AIR by Robert B. Parker
Kirkus Star


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Spenser's 22nd adventure pits him against the kidnapper of a bride who has as much to hide as the deranged romantic who's kidnapped her. Snatched from her new husband, Boston cop Frank Belson, disc jockey Lisa St. Claire occupies the time in between changing into the movie-star outfits her kidnapper favors by repeating the mantra "Frank will find me." But Frank, ambushed and left for dead, is in no condition to find anybody. So it's up to Spenser to stand in for his old acquaintance. It isn't long before Spenser, following a trail of deceit that leads back to Lisa's checkered past in LA, figures out what we already know: Lisa's been grabbed by her former classmate and lover, Luis Deleon, who's presumably holding her in a stronghold in San Juan Hill, his private Hispanic garrison in his hometown of Proctor. The Proctor police chief, though, won't lift a finger that might trigger an outbreak of gang warfare between Luis and his archrival, Freddie Santiago; and since Hawk is off in Burma doing something clandestine, Spenser has to radio for reinforcements during a trip he and Susan make to LA: somebody who'll help him persuade Santiago to move against Luis in a bid to take over San Juan Hill. A lesser storyteller would linger over the thrust and parry of this rescue operation, but Parker (Walking Shadow, 1994, etc.) sets it all up with his left hand -- skating over lazy plotting, flimsy characterization, and patches of fine writing ("Something inside her had calcified and her resolve had achieved an opalescent density") -- while he's uncovering the neurotically interlocking desires that make Luis and Lisa the perfect, foreordained victims of doomed romance. Spenser hefts heavy weights and heavy literary allusions with all the aplomb of a junkyard dog marking its turf, proving once again that the triumph of this venerable series is the calculated, understated authority of the hero's voice. Brother, can this guy talk.
Pub Date: May 11th, 1995
ISBN: 0-399-14020-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995


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