The Judas Goat is the fifth Spenser novel written by Robert B. Parker. It was originally published in 1978.
A recluse millionaire in a wheelchair (think Mason Verger from Hannibal without the facial deformity), Hugh Dixon, hires Spenser to find the members of a terrorist group (Liberty) that killed his family. Spenser does what he does and stirs the pot to the point where he needs to call in backup in the form of Hawk.
Spenser finds a member of the group known as “Katherine” and tracks her to Copenhagen, he meets the leader of the group, Paul. The group turns out to be a white-supremacist group which leads to some snappy dialogue between Spenser & Hawk. Tired of dealing with Spenser (as he proves very difficult to kill) Paul leaves the last two members responsible for the bombing shot dead in Spenser and Hawk’s hotel room. With his “contract” completed Spenser must determine if he should go home or “finish the job”. As we all knew he would he decides to stay on till the end.
They follow Paul and crew to Montreal where the Olympics are going on. They there learn of a plot to assassinate a gold medal winner and Spenser and Hawk must stop them. Paul is now being guarded by a huge bodybuilder named Zachary. In a great sequence Spenser and Hawk take on Zachary where they all are worse off than when the confrontation began.
Spenser is synonymous with Boston. When he travels it’s normally for a short time and he returns home relatively quickly. For the majority of this novel he’s not only out of the Boston area, but he’s out of the United States. This is one of the only Parker novels that I can remember that has one of his characters travel for such an extended period of time so far from home. It certainly doesn’t detract from the book, but it’s very noticeable.
One of the things that has always drawn me to Parker’s work is the dialogue. Read any one of his books and you’ll get a pretty good sense of who he is as a writer. There were a couple of lines here that really stood out to me.
Spenser: “I miss Susan.”
Hawk: “Can’t blame you for that , man, she got one of the finest ass…”
I looked up.
Hawk said, “Cancel that, man. I sorry. That ain’t your kinda talk about Susan. It ain’t mine either. I forgot myself.”
Hawk was first introduced in the previous Spenser novel Promised Land but dialogue like this shows the depth of friendship that they have. It also speaks to the “Code” that we’ve come to know and love.
We were quiet on the ride to the airport. Susan was a terrible driver and I spent a lot of time stomping my right foot on the floorboards.
Any man out there who’s ever driven with his significant other (who isn’t all that great behind the wheel) knows exactly how this feels.
As I stated previously this one is almost entirely out of the Boston area. It’s a great story of Spenser & Hawk working together and for those that don’t like Susan all that much her involvement here is pretty limited. I always say that I cannot be very objective when it comes to Parker’s works but this one is top notch all the way. Pick up a copy of The Judas Goat on Amazon today!