The Boxer and the Spy by Robert Parker
I have to admit that this one is a bit thin. It felt more like a short story than a novel. Even though it was written for a teen audience, I thought it was lacking depth. Basically it follows the adventures of a 15-year-old aspiring boxer who tries to solve the mystery when one of his classmates drowns under strange circumstances.
It is classic Parker with is his usually non-verbal responses like “He nodded”, and “He said nothing.” The best-drawn character is the old boxer who is teaching the teen to fight, when not to fight and about life.
Parker fails to capture the teens with any depth of character and the other adults in the story are very much stereotypes. There are no parents in the story, which reminds me of the Charlie Brown Cartoons. We hear about them and they make some background noise, but they are never real. Maybe this is because it is meant more for teens that don’t see parents as having a role in their lives.
I will admit the opening is quite good and gave me goosebumps.