This is the second Spenser book I've read, and it's definitely a home run.
Spenser's hired to find out if the Boston Red Sox' leading pitcher is on the take or not, gets involved with a few nice folks and quite a few who aren't as nice. The characters and their interplay with Spenser help make this a superior P. I. story. The pitcher and his wife, the madame of a New York bordello, a flashy pimp, a flamboyant sports announcer and his bubblegum chewing martial arts expert assistant, an on-the-edge mob boss and his hit man, a knowing and not altogether unsympathetic cop, Brenda from the first novel, and Susan from the second each provide good scenes moving the story along.
What lifts this novel above the average Spenser novel and the basic tough detective genre is Spenser's personal code, the set of principles that he lives by, and the struggle he faces when the only way to bring about a satisfactory resolution to the situation is to violate one of those principles.
This is, on one hand, a fast, enjoyable read and also, on the other hand, a satisfying look at what makes the main character tick.
Very highly recommended to casual P. I. readers as well as serious ones.