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    HUGGER MUGGER by Robert B. Parker

    G. P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin Putnam Inc., 2000

    Private Detective Spenser is intrigued when a horse-racing tycoon with three beautiful daughters hires him to find who is shooting his horses. Hugger Mugger, the star horse in the stable, may be in danger. When Spenser arrives in Georgia to investigate, he runs into family bickering, unfaithfulness, drunks, and no possible reason why anyone would have shot at those horses. When Walter Clive, the tycoon, is killed, Spenser gets fired and returns to his longtime love, Susan Silverman for sex and restoration.

    In HUGGER MUGGER, the old wise-cracking I can handle anything Spenser is back. Susan remains as a minor irritant, although nothing like the destructive force she became in Robert Parker's mysteries in the 90's. Hawk, Spenser's frequent sidekick is nowhere to be found, leaving Spenser to fend for himself. Fend he does. Things are definitely not what they seem in small town Georgia and the local cops are afraid to push too hard. Clive had a private army of security on site and they seem to be gunning for Spenser rather than helping him find the killer.

    Although falling short of the exceptional standard set in some of the early Spenser novels, HUGGER MUGGER answers the question of whether it's safe to come back into the Spenser series with an emphatic yes.

    See more reviews of novels by Robert Parker.

    Four Stars

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