Parker is starting to find his own style in this one, not just emulating his heros Chandler and Hemingway. And it's a good read. It's also the first in a long line of simplistic 'the kid is messed up and the parents are to blame' storylines. It's as if Parker went to a couple of counseling sessions with a Freudian psychologist and decided he understood everybody's motivation, and that gets more irritating over the years rather than less - particularly if you, like me, are the parent of a troubled teen. Life just isn't that simple. Also, if you read the whole series, you can watch Spenser move away from his prejudices against gay people, but if you haven't read the later books, this one might offend you.