By Ben Spier
Updated September 28, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

In Parker’s 33rd Spenser mystery, School Days,two students confess to a bloody massacre in a posh suburban academy — but one of them has a rich grandmother firmly convinced of his innocence. When she hires the skeptical PI to prove same, he runs afoul of a colorful assortment of dubious characters including a pompous school ”president,” a lissome blonde shrink, and a Latino-Asian drug thug named Animal. The plot takes a long time to percolate, and the denouement seems both rushed and over-the-top. But devotees will delight in Parker’s crackling prose and juicy repartee (a gangsta sums up Spenser thusly: ”You got some big bangers for a Bud Light”).