School Days is the thirty-third Spenser mystery novel by Robert B. Parker. Is the Spenser series formulaic? Hell, yes. Is Robert B. Parker a good read? Yes, most of the time. School Days is one of the better mysteries in the series.
This latest Robert B. Parker mystery is a bit off the beaten path. Hawk is nowhere to be seen and barely mentioned. Susan Silverman is out of town for all but the last chapter. It is kind of interesting to see Spenser on his own and though Silverman is on the private eye's mind, it makes for a better read when she is not there.
School Days' premise is basically what if the two Columbine morons had not, thankfully, offed themselves. Spenser is hired by the grandmother of one of the two kids who went on a shooting rampage at a private school in a Boston suburb. Though she hires him to prove her grandson innocent, Spenser makes it quite clear he will find what he will find. Of course, as in many novels in the series, the detective gets fired before he has completely solved the case but continues his quest for truth and justice.
Though formulaic --and this, to me, is the charm of the Spenser series: popcorn for the brain-- School Days is much better than recent novels in the series. Of course, the local chief of police gets annoyed with Spenser. Of course, Spenser gets to take down a guy who is not as scary as he thinks he is. However, the resolution in this one is certainly fresh and believable and this makes for an interesting and fresh story.
If there is a weak moment in School Days it is in chapter 32 where at one point Spenser promises not to involve someone in his case, has a gang-banger vouch for his word, and then says he will involve the same someone if it turns out to be the truth. This is a bit hard to swallow but, what the hell.
Other Robert B. Parker Reviews
Cold Service - A Spenser Mystery: A little less than a Spenser novel should be.
Double Play: Double Play, a suspense built around the story of baseball great Jackie Robinson
Melancholy Baby - A Sunny Randall Mystery: An entertaining whodunit.
Sea Change - A Jesse Stone Mystery: The fifth Jesse Stone novel and a solid read.
Jesse Stone : Death In Paradise DVD: Third Jesse Stone DVD starring Tom Selleck, really really good mystery.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage DVD: First Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone second DVD in the series.
Hundred-Dollar Baby - A Spenser Mystery: A dreadful Spenser mystery. A waste of time and money
Blue Screen - A Sunny Randall Mystery: Very ordinary Sunny Randall mystery with stupid ending.
Jesse Stone : Sea Change DVD: Good stuff if subdued
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Readable? Yes. Believable? Hmmm.
Spare Change - A Sunny Randall Mystery: Sunny Randall and her dad team up to find a serial killer. Not a bad novel.
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Banal mystery by writer who puts out too much.
Night and Day - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Good read and toss kind of mystery.
Jesse Stone - No Remorse DVD: Very moody but very good made for TV mystery
Rough Weather - A Spenser Mystery: Decent enough for a later Spenser.
Painted Ladies - A Spenser Novel: 39th Spenser and as ordinary as the last 12 or so
Jesse Stone - Innocents Lost DVD: 2011 TV movie. Good but formulaic
Jesse Stone - Benefit of the Doubt DVD: Eighth in the series and just as good.