In The Boxer and the Spy, by Robert B. Parker, a young man's body is found washed up on the shore if small town Cabot, Massachusetts and is ruled an apparent suicide with dubious overtones of steroid abuse. Fifteen-year-old Terry Novak finds suicide hard to believe; Jason Green planned to be a landscape designer, suffered from bouts of asthma, did not have the reputation to support steroid use, and once offered words of condolence to a grieving classmate. With the help of his friend Abby, Terry begins to question rumors and innuendo only to find the circumstance of Jason's death surrounded by mystery, greed, and deception. While the mystery itself is open to the readers, Parker uses spycam chapters to delve into psyche of other characters; readers will be intrigued at how Abby, Terry, and their network of friends strive to find the truth while learning about their own moral fiber and character.
Anyone familiar with Parker's other works, Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall, will easily recognize this novel's enigmatic, witty dialogue and overall storytelling structure. As a young adult, Terry is growing into his personal code of honor and has a strong mentor in George, the veteran boxer teaching him to fight. Young readers will enjoy not only Terry and Abby's frank discussions about school, sex, friendship and life, but also unraveling the mystery afoot.
Tags: The Boxer and the Spy, Robert B. Parker, Juvenile fiction, YA fiction