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Spenser in Las Vegas with a case in search of a client
on 28 July 2004
As "Chance" begins our hero is "in the bucks," which means that when mobster Julius Ventura shows up to hire Spenser to find his missing son-in-law, our hero has nothing better to do. Of course Ventura and his daughter Shirley are not telling the entire truth about Anthony Meeker. Then things get interesting. Marty Anaheim, the right-hand man of Gino Fish, Ventura's main opponent, has Spenser tailed. Vinnie Morris is working with Fish, who has no idea what Marty is up to. But when it turns out that Phony Tony's big dream is to break the bank at Las Vegas, our hero heads off with Susan Silverman and Hawk.
This novel has volcanoes erupting outside of hotel windows, and Susan wearing boots. Ultimately, "Chances" is one of the most convoluted cases Spenser has ever worked, which is what is to be expected when you have mobsters in love and a power struggle in Beantown. Consequently, there are cameo appearances by several notable supporting characters from recent novels. Anyhow, every revelation regarding Meeker and his tangled web only complicates matters further and, of course the point comes in the case where Spenser's interests diverge from that of the man who hires him, and for most of the novel Spenser and Hawk are trying to figure out what is going on, what they want to do about it, and, most importantly, who they are doing it for.
All of these issues will be resolved, but pretty much at the last minutes. "Chance" has all of the essential elements of a Spenser mystery and is an enjoyable read, an above-average novel in the series. Oh, and by the way--despite the nice image of the wounded dice, the game of choice in this novel is blackjack, although watching Susan play is quite painful.