This is one of those books in which the reader knows who the killer is the first time he appears on the page, so the only real mystery is, why wasn't this Parker's "Young Spenser" novel? Change Terry's name to Spenser, and this book would have been perfect. There's the black mentor who teaches Terry about boxing and life, with all the expected lines about what it means to be a man. There's the perfect girlfriend (she's pretty, she's smart, she's "the one") with whom Terry discusses everything. The book's told in the third person, but the dialog and the descriptions are pure Parker.
Here's another interesting thing. The book's about 200 pages long, but it's about one-third the thickness of a Spenser novel. Maybe the books for adults are fattened up so grown-ups will think they're getting a bargain, while books for teens are slimmed down so as not to intimidate reluctant readers. If you like Parker, you'll probably enjoy this one.