This is the sixth Spenser novel written by Robert B. Parker. It was originally published in 1980. The book’s title character Rachel Wallace would go on to be a recurring character in the Spenser universe.
Preceded By: The Judas Goat
Followed By: Early Autumn
Rachel Wallace is a lesbian feminist author who hires Spenser for a security detail. She’s completely biased against him and his macho ways and eventually fires him. Afterward, she is kidnapped and “The Code” kicks in and Spenser takes it upon himself to rescue her.
This is a pretty straight forward Spenser novel which is to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Parker deals with some pretty heavy issues for the time. Sure these days lesbians in the media are a dime a dozen, but back when this was published in 1980 they were few and far between. The first time I read this I don’t recall enjoying this one all that much, but years later when re-reading for this blog I find that this stretch (from Mortal Stakes through A Savage Place) are some of my favorites. As always, Parker makes me laugh at least a couple of times during each novel. One instance between Spenser and Rachel in particular had me rolling:
“I am told you are quite tough.”
“You betcha,” I said. “I was debating here today whether to have lobster Savannah or just eat one of the chairs.”
I’m a big fan of the Spenser “universe” as a whole and it’s always nice to see the origin of the characters which pop up from time to time. Now that Dr. Parker is gone there won’t be any more entries into the Spenser series but we can always go back and read his older works. If you haven’t yet, this is a good one to check out.