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About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring police chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.

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Boston private eye Spenser returns to investigate rumored cheating by Taft University's star basketball team in Parker's 19th novel. The challenges of the case at first seem straightforward: when Bobby Deegan, representing mob gangsters, strongly advises the detective to stop snooping, Spenser and his equally intrepid sidekick, Hawk, simply do in Deegan's hired guns. But a trickier moral dilemma then presents itself, and Spenser asks his lover, psychiatrist Susan Silverman, to help him resolve it. Evidence of point-shaving by Dwayne Woodcock, Taft's power forward, threatens the fragile future of this talented black student trying to rise from the slums. Finding that Woodcock has been passed all the way to senior grade, without ever learning to read, Spenser redoubles his efforts to serve justice and mercy both. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club. (May)

With characteristic acerbic wit and impudent independence, Spenser tackles a case of alleged point shaving by Dwayne Woodcock, a famed black forward on the Taft University basketball team. Spenser discovers the truth of the allegation and ties to a New York mobster, but, because of Woodcock's illiteracy and sensible girlfriend, decides to save Woodcock's career if he can. The solution works itself out all too easily, even for Spenser; however, Parker's compressed prose, recognizable regulars, and no-nonsense action will satisfy his followers.-- REK

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