Ceremony by Robert B. Parker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When a troubled teenager named April Kyle is seen hooking in Boston, her parents want her brought back. While Spenser won't work for the father at any price, he takes the case for the princely sum of one dollar from April's mother. Spenser, Hawk, and Susan soon find themselves caught in a web of underage prostitution and pornography. But what do you do when a runaway prostitute doesn't want to come back home?
After reading the most recent Ace Atkins Spenser book, I decided it was time to fill in more of the gaps of the series.
Ceremony is the darkest Spenser I've yet read but things can't be rosey when a teen prostitute is the focus of Spenser's case. As per usual, Spenser, sometimes with Hawk in tow, walks around, pissing people off and stirring up shit, until the pot bubbles over.
One thing that I thought was really cool about this book was that Spenser toned down the wisecracks for this outing. One thing that sometimes bugs me about crime books is the smart ass that doesn't know when to shut up and Spenser blessedly knew when not to make jokes.
Spenser and Hawk were in fine form, going up against pimps, a crime boss, a pornographer, and an entire house party that was one big orgy. I question the logic of bringing Susan along to the final showdown, however.
There were a few things I didn't like about this book, however. As with a lot of Spenser books, there was a lot of talk of Spenser's code and how Hawk fits into things. Also, there was way too much Susan Silverman for my liking. The thing I really thought was strange was Spenser's logic that if April wanted to be a whore, he should put her to work for a madam he knew. I thought that came out of left field.
Fun fact: The pornographer's name in this book is Mitchell Poitras. Robert Crais' Elvis Cole's friend on the police force is named Lou Poitras. Since Robert Crais' Elvis Cole started as a Spenser ripoff (even though Crais claims Ernest Hemingway is his biggest influnece), I'd saw that's where Lou's name comes from.
It may be tantamount to blasphemy but I might actually prefer Ace Atkin's version of Spenser to the original. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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