Sunday, April 18, 2010

THE JUDAS GOAT by Robert B. Parker


My wife and I continue to work our way through Robert B. Parker's Spenser saga.  We have read most (maybe all) of the books before, but we thought it might be interesting to go through them in order in the course of a year or so.

So that brings me to The Judas Goat, a simple story in which Spenser and Hawk destroy a group of white-supremacist  terrorists operating out of England.  

The story takes Spenser and Hawk to England, to Denmark, to the Netherlands, and finally to Canada for the Toronto Olympics.  It ends with a violent scene at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.   The book itself was first published in 1978. 

Spenser has been hired by a rich man whose family was killed in a terrorist bombing.  Spenser's only task is to kill or cause to be arrested every member of the group who took part in the bombing.

These people are just dangerous enough that Spenser enlists Hawk to help, and Hawk lives up to his deadly reputation.  A young woman who is part of the group becomes a Judas goat, a decoy who leads to the rest of the conspirators.

She leads, in fact, to a much more dangerous person who is manipulating the group for his own terrorist purposes, and our fearless duo ends up having to take out that man and his massive sidekick too. 

Spenser and Hawk fly from place to place.  

Oh, how things have changed!  Spenser takes a gun on most flights, and Hawk finds a way to buy guns in each of these foreign countries.  Both men, and their adversaries, are able to carry guns into the Olympic venues themselves, and this is after the terrible terrorism of the Munic Olympics.  

In other words, for me the story seemed incredible.  But, as with all the early Spensers, the story is well told and interesting.  Susan is there.  Her relationship with Spenser continues to evolve.  

So the saga continues. 


pattinase (abbott) said...

For me the series started to fade after about six books. It began to seem less riveting plot-wise and more about Spencer and cooking and Susan and such. Like he got to a place where he knew he could write anything and did. See if you can pinpoint a slide or if it was me.

Joe Barone said...

You have said that before. I've been looking.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Joe-Can I include this with forgotten books today. I'm taking a chance that it's okay. Let me know if it isn't and I'll pull it down.

Joe Barone said...

Yes. It is OK.

Richard R. said...

I agree with Patti, though I can't say which book made me stop and think there wasn't much new or interesting and theks got thinner.Maybe 6, maybe 8. Somewhere in that range.

This was one I did like, as I recall.

Joe Barone said...


I think I remember the book, not the title or the number in the series, but what was happening in it. It will be interesting to see if I feel the same way when I get there.

Richard Heft said...

Parker told me that this was written because his tax accountant told him he HAD to write a book that used locations from his last few vacations, all of which were in Europe, all of which he had deducted as business expenses. After I heard this, I started to look squinty-eyed at many "exotic-location" books by Donald Hamilton and Dick Francis, suspecting the same tax fiddle was in play.