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Rough Weather    by Robert B. Parker order for
Rough Weather
by Robert B. Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Spenser encounters stormy conditions indeed, when paid by wealthy Heidi Bradshaw to attend her daughter's society wedding in Rough Weather. But it's even harder on the young bride, whose brand new husband is shot in front of her eyes before she herself is abducted, as a hurricane rages. Faced with an old opponent (Rugar, the Gray Man) and impossible odds, Spenser does what he can but concentrates on ensuring Susan Silverman's safety (she had accompanied him to the private island, Tashtego).

Spenser is left with many questions. Why did Heidi Bradshaw want him there in the first place and why was she not more traumatized by Adelaide's kidnapping? Why would the Gray Man, who worked in the big leagues, be involved in a simple kidnapping? And why would he take one on 'that required a squad of submachine gunners and a helicopter, in front of a host of celebrated people, on an island that had limited exit choices?' Was the kidnapping a decoy? Spenser, being Spenser, he wants answers.

The reader gets to enjoy the usual light and witty banter as Spenser asks questions of all sorts of people, from lawyers to FBI Special Agent Epstein to Heidi's assortment of ex-husbands. Spenser even gets to question the Gray Man, who tells him that, as usual he's 'blundering about in a situation' he doesn't understand, and threatens to kill him. But Rugar makes clear that he will not go after Susan as that 'would compromise the adversarial dignity' of their relationship.

As the killings mount, Hawk, called in by Susan, says, 'you been doing what you do, which is to poke around in the hornet's nest until you irritate a hornet.' Spenser always swats his hornet though - he gets a big one this time but lets another go, following his own brand of honor. Spenser fans will revel in Rough Weather.

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