Hawk wants Spenser to wage war on a street gang. Susan wants Spenser to move in with her. Either way, Spenser's out of his element. So why not risk both?
This novel has a more intense than usual opening for Spenser, because we get to sorta know the young girl and her baby daughter just before they're killed, and to have a feeling of the life they were leading.
From there, as other reviews have pointed out, Hawk is the principal character this time, though Spenser does provide him with valuable information just before the climax. And hey, Hawk is involved in a relationship too, as if trying to clear a housing project in the ghetto of a gang isn't enough.
The romantic side plot this time takes up the question as to whether Spenser & Susan should be living together or not.
Especially good here is the portrayal of the attitude of the project residents and the activist preacher helping them towards Spencer. Also good is the portrayal of the grudging mutual respect between Hawk and the gang leader. On top of that, we're given an idea of how Hawk, in his own way, rose above his childhood beginnings.
I enjoyed this book because there was so much real dialogue. The things that were said by Hawk,Spenser, and the gang members is much like the slang that is used in the real world. I also enjoyed it because the author showed a great contrast between the lives of those living in Double Deuce, and the life of Spenser. Robert Parker showed how Spenser went from staying in the ghetto during the day, to living a very comfortable life at home with his girlfriend, Susan, and their dog, Pearl. The chapters were short and to the point. It made me interested in what was going to happen in the chapters ahead. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery novel. Though it does not keep you guessing, it does keep you wanting to learn more.