While the rest of us grow older, Spenser seems suspended in perpetual early middle age. Oh, he talks about getting older, but his body is still firm, his muscles toned, and his reflexes are still hair-trigger fine. Even so, it is Spenser's body that betrays him when he is almost killed by an assassin's bullet two-thirds of the way through Robert B. Parker's latest Spenser adventure, Small Vices. Hired to discover the truth behind a four-year-old murder, Spenser soon runs afoul of "the Gray Man," who eventually shoots and partially paralyzes him. Spenser, his stalwart girlfriend Susan, and his almost mythical friend Hawk then hole up in Santa Barbara until the detective can get back on his feet again.
There's never any doubt that Spenser will get back on his feet, or that he will eventually track down the man who shot him and solve the mystery that started the whole ball rolling in the first place. What makes the Spenser mysteries interesting is Spenser himself, the thinking person's private eye, a man of honor and of conscience who understands that every action has consequences. --Tim Appelo
"In Small Vices
Mr. Parker not only brings his hero to the point of death but challenges him to confront his own mortality in a way that he hasn't since Valediction
."The New York Times Book Review, Marilyn Stasio