Robert B. Parker. A Catskill Eagle (1985) 311 pp.
Boston P.I. and all-around tough guy Spenser is summoned to the Bay Area by a letter from his former lover Susan Silverman telling him that his pal Hawk is in jail in “Mill River, California,” south of San Francisco, on a trumped-up murder charge. Spenser busts Hawk out of jail and they discover that Susan has disappeared, possibly having been kidnapped by her new boyfriend, the son of a local tycoon. While trying to figure out why Hawk was framed and pick up Susan’s trail, they hide out in San Francisco. Eventually, they head north to Washington State and then go on a cross-country chase back to the East Coast, leaving a trail of property damage and dead bodies in their wake, before finally rescuing Susan and serving their country in the way they know best. [Note: S.F. mystery expert Don Herron singles this book out as an example of an out-of-town writer having trouble getting his local details straight. When Spenser and Hawk are trying to get out of San Francisco without drawing the attention of the local authorities, they decide to drive south down the Peninsula and around the Bay, rather than cross either the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge because they figure that the cops will be watching the cars stopping to pay the tolls—except for the minor detail that on both of those bridges you stop and pay the toll on the way in to San Francisco, not out of it.]