Finding Rachel Wallace: Have I been Spenser’ed??

Spenser is hired to protect a lesbianfeminist activist, the eponymous Rachel Wallace. After his protecting gets in the way of her protesting, she fires him. Shortly afterwards, she is kidnapped. Though no longer officially employed to protect her, Spenser feels duty-bound to find her.

I picked up this book when i was on vacation in Kodaikanal. Tucked in the serene hills of Kodai in my resort room, freezing at night, i began reading my first Spenser Novel. The review by New York Times caught my eyes. In a small town where it grows night early, I was looking for a lot of suspense.

The novel is written in a narrative style by the character Spenser who is in literal terms the “macho” guy full of masculine cliches and overdrawn sensibilities. Spenser enjoys rescuing damsels in distress and has very firm ideals about women. He’s the dangerous guy who will do his job so well that both his clients and enemies are wary of him. Having been on the police force and in the army, Spenser’s every word shows his agile mind.

In what may be Spenser’s toughest assignment, he gets assigned to protect Rachel Wallace who is a proclaimed lesbian and is not afraid to say so. More than Spenser, the character Rachel interested me more. She was sketched more complexly, with layers in her thinking and an evident fatigue of putting up a brave face. Liberals will protest against this but then women who actually do break free and try to do something different always face difficulties. And here was a self proclaimed lesbian publishing a book about discrimination against homosexuals in Corporates. A tough task indeed.

Then Rachel gets kidnapped and that’s when the plot goes Astray. The rest of the book is about the people Spenser meets and the “tough guy” routine he does to extract information and unearth clues. He goes about punching people and threatening them and eventually realises that Rachel’s gay lover is the sister of one of the Fundamentalists. The book ends with Spenser breaking into a house and then shooting 2 people and walking away with Rachel in his arms as the police looks on.

It was interesting to read the narrative but I did beg for a better plot or a better chase. I don’t take away points from the fact that the book was entertaining.

I’m posting the link to another blog who has a favourable review for the book.

My Rating: 2.5/5. A one time read



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