Picks and Pans Review: A Catskill Eagle

updated 07/22/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/22/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Robert B. Parker

The Boston detective Spenser is back, out in the San Francisco area to rescue his lovely Susan, who has gotten mixed up with a very bad guy indeed. Unlike most of the other Spenser novels, this one is incredibly violent. Spenser has to rescue his black friend Hawk from the jail where he is being held on a trumped-up murder charge. It's true that the folks that Spenser blows away are nasty pimps and such, but old Spenser has never been so quick on the trigger before. He also faces a touchy problem since Susan feels that Spenser has too much control over her. If he saves her from her captors, he probably will lose her love forever. (Her shrink is surprised at Spenser's knowledge of how the mind works and asks him, "Have you been in therapy, Mr. Spenser?" He replies, "No, but I think a lot.") A Catskill Eagle is a fast read, but the wisecracks don't seem quite as fresh as those in the earlier Spenser books. Detective story fans who still aren't acquainted with Parker's series shouldn't start with this book. Dell has recently republished 10 earlier Spensers in paperback. Start with any of those (though they are best read in order), and get the thrill that comes from discovering a first-rate, tough-guy detective writer. (Delacorte, $14.95)

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