School Days by Robert B. Parker
This is the umpteenth Spenser novel (even the publisher has given up trying to figure out how many there have been), and it shows – in both good and bad ways. The good – Parker’s writing is polished, he knows how to tell a good story and keep the tension; the bad – it is very formulaic. If you have read Spenser stories before it is all here: the stubborn gumshoe, the obstructive small town police, the comfortable relationship with his girlfriend, the physical dominance, and the private detective who keeps on the case for free even though he has been fired by his client. A set of clichés, not quite tired but definitely well worn. All in all: read it if you like his other novels (and I do), or if you are an enthusiast for hard-boiled detective novels (I am). It’s a quick, unchallenging read, mildly enjoyable.