Boston PI Spenser returns - heading west to the rich man's haven of Potshot, Arizona, a former mining town reborn as a paradise for Los Angeles millionaires looking for a place to escape the pressures of their high-flying lifestyles. Potshot overcame its rough reputation as a rendezvous for old-time mountain men who lived off the land, thanks to a healthy infusion of new blood and even newer money. But when this western idyll is threatened by a local gang - a twenty-first-century posse of desert rats, misfits, drunks and scavengers - the local police seem powerless.
Led by a charismatic individual known only as The Preacher, this motley band of thieves selectively exploits the town, nurturing it as a source of wealth while systematically robbing the residents blind.
Enter Spenser, called in to put the group out of business and establish a police force who can protect the town. Calling on his own cadre of cohorts, including Vinnie Morris, Bobby Horse, Chollo Bernard J. Fortunato, as well as the redoubtable Hawk, Spenser must find a way to beat the gang at their own dangerous game.
'Robert B Parker's Spenser is one of the best private detectives in fiction' - Sunday Telegraph
The Spenser series remains fresh after 28 novels in about 30 years. How does Parker do it? Through recurring characters as alive as any in fiction, and through exceptionally clean, graceful prose that links the novels as surely as do the characters. The author also refreshes himself through other writings the Sunny Randall series, for example, or Gunman's Rhapsody, a tale about Wyatt Earp that Putnam will publish in June. So even when Parker resorts to a bit of gimmickry, as he does here, the vitality of his storytelling prevails. The manifest gimmickry is Boston P.I. Spenser's corralling of sidekicks from previous novels Hawk, of course, but also gay Tedy Sapp from Hugger Mugger, sharpshooter Chollo from Thin Air, Vinnie Morris (from several novels) and a few others to deal with trouble in the Arizona town of Potshot. Spenser is hired by a sexy blonde to look into the shooting death there of her husband, who tangled with an outlaw group known as the Dell, which for years has extorted the citizens of Potshot. There's an eventual shootout, of course (there are enough parallels between this tale and that of Wyatt Earp to guess that Parker's forthcoming Earp novel inspired this one), but not before Spenser digs into the town's secrets, uncovering the expected but in detail, always surprising domestic mayhem and corruption. Genuinely scary villains, sassy dialogue, a deliciously convoluted mystery with roots in the classic western and Parker's pristine way with words result in another memorable case.