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1. Painted Ladies (Spenser Mystery)
2. The Professional (Spenser)
3. Sixkill (Spenser Mystery)
4. Early Autumn
5. Pale Kings and Princes (Spenser,
6. Rough Weather (Spenser)
7. Ceremony (Spenser Novels (Dell))
8. Split Image (Jesse Stone, No.
9. Crimson Joy
10. Blue-Eyed Devil
11. Promised Land (A Spenser Novel)
12. Brimstone
13. Gunman's Rhapsody
14. Back Story (Spenser)
15. School Days (Spenser)
16. The Boxer and the Spy
17. Mortal Stakes
18. Cold Service (Spenser)
19. Resolution
20. Small Vices (Spenser)

1. Painted Ladies (Spenser Mystery)
by Robert B. Parker
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-10-05)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$8.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399156852
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The brilliant new Spenser novel from the beloved New York Times-bestselling author Robert B. Parker.

Called upon by The Hammond Museum and renowned art scholar Dr. Ashton Prince, Spenser accepts his latest case: to provide protection during a ransom exchange-money for a stolen painting.

The case becomes personal when Spenser fails to protect his client and the valuable painting remains stolen. Convinced that Ashton Prince played a bigger role than just ransom delivery boy, Spenser enters into a daring game of cat-and-mouse with the thieves. But this is a game he might not come out of alive...

Completed the year before he passed away, Painted Ladies is Spenser and Robert B. Parker at their electrifying best. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

3-0 out of 5 stars Spotting the Fakes
The plot of Parker's latest novel, Painted Ladies, which centres on the theft of a Dutch masterpiece, is handled with all of Parker's customary deftness, tautly maintaining the tension and interspersing typically sharp Spenserian dialogue with scenes of sudden, shocking violence. But is the new novel a success? Would we pay much attention to it if it had appeared without the context of the preceding series? The two great strengths of the earlier Spenser books - that delving into Spenser's own persona and also into the layers of American society - are largely missing. Despite its Jewish elements the novel makes no real attempt to penetrate the cultural and moral maze of Jewish America. And perhaps it would be unrealistic and over-demanding to expect it.

However there are characteristic and welcome Parker touches, such as his sympathy for the young and vulnerable, which typically even extends as far as the villains. Even the bad guy Herzberg started out with good intentions and, as Susan points out in the closing pages, his descent into crime was in part driven by the historical damage inflicted on him and his family.

Also characteristic is Parker's merciless skewering of the phoneyness and pomposity of academe. What the novel does succeed in doing is to explore and link various kinds of deception and bad faith. Its dominant theme is fraudulence and inauthenticity, themes that perhaps spoke particularly to Parker in age. The `painted ladies' are not just the figures in the genuine and fake paintings but false-seeming characters. No-one is as they seem. Set against their falseness is Spenser's gritty integrity - but even Spenser's occasional attempts to masquerade as a cop in order to get information is emphasised in order to underscore the central theme.

In this new novel Spenser stands somewhat apart as a character. He makes clear his determination to solve the mystery entirely through his own efforts in an attempt to prove and justify himself. Those familiar cops, Quirk , Belson and Healy, put in an appearance, but not Hawk, apparently undertaking a CIA mission in central Asia, and other `friendly' villains - Vinnie, Chollo, etc - are similarly absent. Susan lends emotional and analytical support but is also much more unobtrusive than usual.

Not only does Spenser stand in greater isolation but also in a more retrospective light. It may be the effect of hindsight in the wake of Parker's death, but there seems something nostalgic and, one might add, almost terminal, about the figure of Spenser in this novel. Did Parker, one wonders, have the sense of an ending for Spenser and perhaps also for himself? Apparently there are two more works in the posthumous pipeline -an as yet untitled `Spenser holiday' novel due shortly, and finally Sixkill, scheduled for May next year. It will be interesting to see what further they can add to Parker's notable canon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fortunately, It's Not Yet Time to Say "Farewell, Spenser"
"But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil." -- Romans 13:5 (NKJV)

I once heard Robert B. Parker remark that he didn't care if publishers didn't bring out his latest novels right away, just as long as the advance checks didn't bounce. Despite the loss of this prolific novelist, there are still a few more books to come out . . . so this is not farewell. I'm glad of that, both because I want more Spenser and because Painted Ladies isn't the right book for the series to end on.

As the book opens, Spenser takes on a job that doesn't thrill him, chaperoning an unappealing popinjay professor who will be taking a ransom to exchange for a valuable stolen painting. The hand-off doesn't go as planned for the professor or for Spenser, and Spenser finds himself in the role of solitary avenger (there's no Hawk in this story) with a few helpful nudges from his friends in the police. The plot heads off into a more remote direction than you might expect in the beginning, and it takes awhile to see who all the bad people are. Once the players are in place, you'll probably deduce the outcome before Spenser does. But that's all right; you're in it for the wisecracks, aren't you?

Like many of the more recent Spenser stories, it's bare bones and it won't take you long to read it. But despite that, Robert B. Parker charms us with Pearl's romance and lots of Spenser and Susan together. "Ain't love grand?"

Unfortunately, this book is also available in what seems like a particularly overpriced Kindle version. Does the publisher still think that greed is good?

3-0 out of 5 stars Persistence
The 38th Robert Parker novel to feature private detective Spenser was completed at the time of the author's death last January. Painted Ladies ratchets up the ways in which Spenser confronts danger and takes personal risks. When asked to protect art historian Ashton Prince as he exchanges cash in ransom of stolen art, Spenser can do nothing when a bomb explodes and kills Prince. Spenser returns the fee he didn't earn, and persistently pursues the case to its resolution. Along the way, the tension is high as Spenser confronts skilled opponents who try hard to kill him. Susan Silverman keeps Spenser grounded to earth, caring for each other, while he puts his life in danger. Readers of the series will not want to miss this installment, and any reader who likes crime fiction will likely find this book to be enjoyable and entertaining.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

4-0 out of 5 stars RIP Robert B. Parker
In this last Spenser novel there is almost everything one expects from a Parker book - including extremely short.The plot is driven by witty and erudite dialogue; Spenser and Susan are madly in love; Pearl is still a spoiled dog; Rita is still hoping for seduction; and Spenser can steal beat up a thug.Unfortunately, Hawk never appears.In the development of the characters, Quirk, Belson and other cops now use and root for Spenser.Gone are the days when he was the meddling private eye that got in their way.All of these traits are comfort food for Spenser fans.

There are two things about this book that make it a step up from other recent Spenser books.The plot is a good one.Spenser is hired to protect a professor as he pays ransom for a stolen painting.The mission fails miserably and Spenser is on the case for his pride rather than profit.The plot enters the art world and Holocaust survivors.The supporting cast is strong with a whacky poet, a fanatical holocaust art restorer and, of course, pretty damsels in distress.

The second thing is a strong return of Spenser the English literature quoter.There were far more literary references and quotes than in recent books.I always found these enhanced the books and usually brought a smile and a "How did he think of that?"They may be fillers, but they enhance the experience.

This was a fun short book that was a major notch up from Mr. Parker's other recent offerings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better-than-Average Entry in the Series
I've read almost all the Spenser novels, and I'm pleased to say PAINTED LADIES -- the second-to-last entry in the series -- is one of the better ones.This is a fun piece of entertainment.

I mainly read the Spenser novels for the witty dialogue and sharp prose.But in PAINTED LADIES, author Robert B. Parker also delivers a surprisingly complex plot with a lot of surprises.It seems to me that Parker decided to challenge himself a little with this novel, and the result is a satisfying pageturner.

If you're new to Parker's work, my advice is to first read the initial ten Spenser novels, which were written during the 1970s and 1980s. In those books, Spenser was a younger and more conflicted man, and the plotlines had more depth to them. I also recommend the first few entries in the Jesse Stone series, as well as the baseball novel DOUBLE PLAY.These books represent Parker -- who died earlier this year -- at his very best.

But the later Spenser novels are fun as well, and PAINTED LADIES is a strong effort. I look forward to reading the final Spenser novel -- SIXKILL -- next May.

Three and a half stars. ... Read more

2. The Professional (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425236307
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The wives of Boston's wealthiest men have a mutual secret: they all had an affair with the same cad who's blackmailing them, and Spenser's been hired to stop him. But when the wives start dying one by one, Spenser's new case becomes murder.Amazon.com Review

Sue Grafton and Robert B. Parker: Author One-on-One
In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together blockbuster authors Sue Grafton and Robert B. Parker and asked them to interview each other.

Sue Grafton is the New York Times-bestselling author of the beloved Kinsey Millhone mystery series, which continues to delight millions of readers across the globe. Read on to see Sue Grafton's questions for Robert B. Parker, orturn the tables to see what Parker asked Grafton.

Sue Grafton Grafton:During your career, you've generally worked as a solo writer. Aside from your collaboration with Raymond Chandler (quite dead), how did you enjoy the experience of writing with your wife, Joan? I notice a long break between Three Weeks in Spring, which was published in 1978, and A Year at the Races, which was published in 1990.

Parker:Joan is an idea person more than a writer. She has done a lot of uncredited thinking for me. But Three Weeks in Spring, about her first bout with breast cancer, was a special case. And A Year at the Races, also nonfiction, was about our initiation into the world of thoroughbred racing. I have found it wise for me to write and Joan to think (egad, what if it were the other way?), but I have also found it wise not to speak for her. I liked working with her. In fact, I like pretty much everything with her.

Grafton:I notice in your bibliography that you wrote a nonfiction book called Parker on Writing. I'd be interested in reading it, but I decided I couldn't afford the $499.99 the book is selling for online. How do you feel about a reprint? (P.S. This is not a sly hint that you should send me a copy….)

Parker: Parker on Writing is a collection of random items loosely about writing that Herb Yellin at Lord John Press collected into a finely manufactured limited edition. Herb is a friend, and given what he paid, I can convincingly say it was affection not money that captured me. I feel fine about a reprint…. If I have an extra I will send you one, but I'll have to look—it’s quite possible that I don't.

: I'm curious about your experience in writing Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel. What prompted you to write about Spenser's early life? Did you learn things about him you hadn't known before?

: My publisher, agent, and wife all wanted me to try a YA novel. I did three, culminating, at my publisher's request, with Chasing the Bear.Since I knew a great deal about Spenser's adulthood, it was mostly a matter of jacking up the adulthood and sliding a consistent childhood under it. YA novels are hard because you know a great deal that you can't use.

:I saw the movie Appaloosa last night on DVD, and while I haven't had a chance to read the novel and study the two side by side, I got the impression that the movie was close to what you had in mind. Will you write about Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch again? You did seem to leave the door open to that possibility.

: I’ve written two sequels to Appaloosa (Resolution and Brimstone) and am finishing up a third (Blue-Eyed Devil). Ed Harris did a wonderful job, I thought, with the movie. It is as close as it could possibly be to the book, and those parts that had to be added are hard for me to tell from my own stuff. Harris is genius, as is Viggo [Mortensen]—they nailed the characters and the relationship. You can also take Ed Harris's word—in your own adventures in Southern California you may have noticed how infrequent that is. Incidentally, Bragg's lawyer in the courtroom scene was played by the great Daniel T. Parker.

:How do you spend your time when you're not writing? Hobbies? Leisure activities? I'm not very good at having fun, but I'm hoping you are. Please advise.

: My friend John Marsh once remarked, "I hate fun." I concur. Mostly, I just live my life, which turns out to be fun. I work out, box with a trainer, watch ball games, go out to dinner with Joan. You've met Joan. We’ve been married fifty-three years. Now that's fun.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

5-0 out of 5 stars Always a Pleasure
It's always a pleasure to read a new Spenser Novel.
The series regular characters have become welcome friends.
I was saddened to learn of Robert Parker's death . . . he will be missed.

4-0 out of 5 stars My First Spenser Book-I liked It
This was my first experience into Spensers' world and I didn't think it bad at all.By the reviews I see both good and bad, I didn't know what to expect.Okay had this been my 30th something and a lot of the same dialogue-perhaps I would look at it differently. I enjoyed perhaps the laid back slower paced of Spenser-more dialogue than action in this one but I was amused at the banter between he and Susan and Spenser and Hawk as well as others.I had finished a very dark book about a serial killer and the horrid things done to young women so I was looking for a lighter storyline and this sure fit the bill.I can see if I had read 36 books before this one on how smart and beautiful Susan is and perhaps some of the same dialogue then can understand some of the other reviewers. Since it was my first one (and may now go back and read some of the older ones)I actually will have to say I enjoyed it.

As I read it I pictured Robert Urich who played Spenser and I liked the series on TV and I liked Mr. Urich-maybe that was some of the appeal of this book to me remembering Mr. Urich who lost his fight with cancer. I met him once when he made a movie in our area-in fact MGM leased one of our cars and it was in the movie.Our car-the star! HA!

Back to the book here!I enjoyed the short chapters and it was a book I was interested in enough to read every word-I am a notoriuos skimmer if a book bogs down or there is too much information. I had read some of the Jesse Stone novels but hadn't ventured into Spenser.Mr. Parker is a different kind of author and I like variety so know I can go back and read one of his when I need a break from some of the heavier darker ones.

I do enjoy a book with a good mystery yet can give you a chuckle or two and felt this one did both.Whether you liked this book or not I feel we lost a talented writer in Mr. Parker.May he rest in peace-he has left a legacy of many books for us to enjoy-or not.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Book
"The Professional" is a very well written book. It is a fast read and hard to put down. The dialog is minimalist, but it works. All in all, a very good book. This was my first "Spenser" novel and it showed you don't have to have read the rest of the series to get it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick but worth it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, filled more with dialogue than discriptions but the dialog was written so well that you didn't need it.

His Calling

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time or hard earned money
I have never read one of Mr Parker's books before so maybe this one was not a good one to start with.I have to admit that I was seduced by the fact that is was a New York Times bestseller.The story starts off interesting with the 4 married women that have been blackmailed by a "serial lover" but then then it goes downhill from there.The plot gets lame, predictable and boring and lacks a climax. He spends time introducing characters that you never hear about again.This was 8 hours of my life that I'll never get back. ... Read more

3. Sixkill (Spenser Mystery)
by Robert B. Parker
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2011-05-03)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399157263
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An extraordinary new Spenser novel from the beloved New York Times-bestselling author.

On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. The situation doesn't look good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become their biggest liability.

In the course of the investigation, Spenser encounters Jumbo's bodyguard: a young, former football-playing Native American named Zebulon Sixkill. Sixkill acts tough, but Spenser sees something more within the young man. Despite the odd circumstances, the two forge an unlikely alliance, with Spenser serving as mentor for Sixkill. As the case grows darker and secrets about both Jumbo and the dead girl come to light, it's Spenser-with Sixkill at his side-who must put things right. ... Read more

4. Early Autumn
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 224 Pages (1992-04-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440122147
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A bitter divorce is only the beginning.First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son.Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back.But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own.

With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15 year old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars SPENSER BOOK SEVEN
The seventh book in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series EARLY AUTUMN is definitely the best so far.I greatly enjoyed the insight into Spenser's thought processes.The detective opens up personal thoughts and attitudes.The story is simple enough, recover and teen, Paul Giacomin, from his father for his mother.Both parents quite the losers.Spenser takes on the roll as mentor to the by, quite literally his up bringing.Different plot for this tough guy Spenser.The book has it all, action, love, poor love, Hawk at his best, Susan Silverman and nasty bad guys.I recommend the series be read in order at least these early book.On to the next book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Spenser and Robert B Parker
I've read many of Robert B Parker's Spenser books as well as all of his Sunny Randall and JesseStone. "Early Autumn" is the best. It's so much more of a character study than any of the others. There's still some detective work, but it's not the whole story. Spenser's connection with a young 15 year-old is great. If you've never read Robert B Parker, you should read this novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Early Autumn
Another well done Spenser novel.This one is about the relationship between Spencer and Paul Giacomin, and it gives all the background needed for references to Paul in future books.An interesting read, with more insights into Spenser's character.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful as usual
Early Autumn is a very touching book about Spenser helping a teenage boy find himself.Every book by Parker that I've read so far has something that moves me. He is an excellent writer!

4-0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent of King Solomon
This is a good mystery novel.Spenser is hired to protect a mother and son.The son is kidnapped by his father because he wants to get at the mother due to their divorce.The tale brings to mind the King Solomon sectionof the bible with the boy in the middle and both parents pulling in opposite directions. ... Read more

5. Pale Kings and Princes (Spenser, No 14)
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 320 Pages (1988-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440200040
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The bestselling author of Pastime and Double Deuce presents a "taut thriller . . . (that will) keep the reader's adrenaline pumping overtime" (Publishers Weekly). Caught in a snowstorm of drugs, passion, and hate, Spenser investigates a cocaine-related murder. Part of Dell's ongoing Robert B. Parker reissue program. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Affairs, drugs, corruption all resolved at the end
Requested by a newspaper to investigate the death of a reporter, Spenser heads to Wheaton, Massachusetts where he finds cocaine, police corruption, further deaths, and illicit behavior. Using his method of annoying people and investigating various hints of problems, Spenser unearths a level of criminal activity that is ultimately connected to local law enforcement. Eventually bringing in Hawk for some muscle, and Susan for psychological insights and therapy, Spenser is able to end the problems in the town and put a stop to the drug trafficking. Along the way we find an extramarital affair, a drug lord using local law enforcement, two more murders, and finally a level of violence not unlike the battle of the OK Corral.

Robert Parker's smooth prose, terse dialog, and concise descriptions shine forth throughout the story, demonstrating his no nonsense approach to fiction. The style is gold without ornaments, and the architecture is functional, solid, without frivolity or unnecessary frills. This makes the story move quickly, giving the reader the facts and not cluttering up the purpose with excessive platitudes or sideline stories. Spenser's odd brand of moral values dictates the book's ending, and his own desire to protect the weak but destroy the powerful once again reigns victorious.

Yet, in spite of the solid plot and carefully crafted story, the book has a predictable quality to it. We know the drug lord will be killed, we know Hawk will shoot some bad guys, we know the corrupt officers will receive their just deserts, and we know the widow will be given a chance deal with her grief and to start over. In addition, the book reads like a television episode with everything be resolved at the end. A good read, but not great, and a solid book for those interested in the detective genre.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Spenser Novel
This is a good Spenser novel.It has good lines and a good plot.I'm impressed with how Parker writes of Spenser's love for Susan.It is refreshing!

The book deals with murder, cocaine, trafficking, crooked cops, adultery - - it's all there.Great read for plane or beach.

4-0 out of 5 stars Parker Returns to Form with this Novel
I've read most of the Spenser novels, and I think PALE KINGS AND PRINCES is definitely one of the better ones.

In this novel, Spenser goes to a small town to investigate the murder of a journalist, and discovers that the town is effectively controlled by a mysterious drug lord.What follows is the typical Spenser plot: lots of funny dialogue, romantic interludes with Susan Silverman, and exciting action scenes with Hawk.

PALE KINGS AND PRINCES isn't a great book, but it's very enjoyable and far better than the two Spenser novels that immediately preceded it (TAMING A SEA HORSE and A CATSKILL EAGLE).So if you enjoy Parker's writing style, I'm guessing you will find pleasure with this one.

Three and a half stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs and Willie Nelson
In this entry in the Spenser series, he is hired by a newspaper when an up-and-coming young reporter - Eric Valdez - is murdered while investigating the cocaine trade in Wheaton, Mass - a small town with a big reputation of being the Miami of the North.When Spenser starts asking around, he finds that no one knows nothing and that the police seem to be spectacularly unhelpful - and they, especially, seem to want him gone.They insist that Valdez's murder was due to his sexual peccadilloes and nothing else, pointing to the bodily mutilation as proof.

Of course, when people want Spenser gone - or when they want him to quit asking questions - that just makes him stick around and ask more questions.

When first the sheriff and then the sheriff's son are murdered - after Spenser catches the son smuggling cocaine, apparently for the town's biggest produce warehouser, named Felipe Esteva - the action begins to really heat up.

Was Eric Valdez killed because he was getting too close to the truth about the drug trade in Wheaton?Or because he was having an affair with the wrong woman?Why were the sheriff and his son killed?

This was a multi-layered and very satisfying book.Things that seem obvious turn out to be red herrings - things that appear to be obvious red herrings turn out to be truth.I loved it.Strong recommend from me!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pillows Puffed for Wide-eyed Wallowing in Pages of a Plot
There's no use trying to use a Spenser novel to conjure or cajole the sandman.Similar to TAMING A SEA-HORSE (#13 Spenser); PALE KINGS AND PRINCES (# 14) kept me up a couple hours in the middle of the night, beyond a silly hope of returning to sleepiness through a short time of reading.

PALE KINGS opened again with the standard realism of the detective doing his walk-alone-deal, accompanied by shiftless boredom and justifiable frustration.In this case, since the food in the rural community in which Spenser was detecting was so limp, and the clue extraction so dentally daunting, the private eye was able to drag/push himself through his solitary shuffles for only 1/4 of the plot before he called in Susan for a weekend visit of Salmon Loaf or Polish Platter at the Reservoir Court motel in Wheaton, Mass.

I was intrigued with Parker's feature in this one of how an individual gets himself seen as such, as a person instead of a thing. His technique of having Spenser gradually thaw out Wheaton's finest citizenry seemed similar to me to his methods of drawing readers into Spenser's games.This time, those games were a town's economic rooting into Columbian Coca/Cocaine, and the class spits accompanying the resulting population stew in Wheaton.As usual, I was mesmerized with Spenser's repartee with criminal codgers, which in this case were the top-of-the-food-chain of Colombian Drug Lords.I was especially impressed with the way the P. I. humanized these guys into seeing him as a worthy person, actually more easily than he set the standard-of-his-humanity with Wheaton's police presence, barkeeps, waitresses, librarians, and regular Joe's.

I wondered if that humanizing ability might be one of the mesmerizing character traits which has kept Spenser cozied within the reading hearts of so many faithful fans.Spenser dedicates himself to making everyone see him as a warm-bodied person, instead of as a bloodless character-stick in a plot of a novel.

Especially in the first scene with Esteva, the Columbian King Pin, PALE KINGS solidified for me one of the main reasons for Spenser's appeal.He's real.Duh?He works on each person in his presence (including the reader), until that person sees him that way.

I've noticed several times in this series (and more so in PALE KINGS), that exchanges between Spenser and his dialogue collections had him describing a person looking away, purposely not looking at him, until he wormed that person into his scene.Now I recall how often Spenser has noted the "covert looks" which Hawk draws out of people.Hawk, too, is real; his essence demands to be experienced as a person of potence as well as presence.

Is this part of what charisma is, a person who sees himself as significant, and therefore causes others to see him that way; a person who won't quit radiating and/or badgering, focusing on others until they LOOK at HIM and SEE him?Maybe, charisma also involves a person like Spenser or Hawk actually SEEING everything they look at, which in turn causes the "objects" or persons of their observations to connect to them as human beings as well?

Reading this novel began to congeal some of the illusive reasons I've searched for to explain my addiction to this detective novel series, especially since I've rarely been drawn, by natural preference (in the past), to read even the best examples of seriously authentic, male private eyes.Along with the mutual-personalization-syndrome noted above, and the mesmerizing ability of the literary style and perfectly-paced-plot drivers which keep me reading in the middle of the night; my addiction seems to involve the philosophical strands of golden threads which labyrinth through Spenser's sensual, sensitive, poetic soul.Each book I read brings up the question, "What key about life's purpose might I be surprised by in this one."

Yet, thankfully, the philosophical, psychological tapestries in the series do not diminish the dedicated dramatization of the basic detecting lifestyle, with its normal daily routines which are often uncomfortable, deprivation-intense, soul-leechingly boring, and inconvenient ... 90% of the time ... with the other 10% being "hairy" with high risk of deadly harm.In this case, the snow-challenged, dangerous denouement scenes in PALE KINGS were unusually complex and hairy, with Hawk, Susan, Caroline, Juanita, and Lundquist (a fantasticly heroic character) adding race, gender, color, Cause, and Creed to Spenser's righting of wrongs, during which we're privy to mesmerizing details of the process of a psychologist (Susan) doing a therapy catharsis.

Another part of Spenser which I came to understand more precisely here (and which I usually welcome with a whoosh of relief) was Spenser's clean means of sidestepping any character's effort to draw him away from true issues in percolation, into potential-black-hole-passions of politically correct causes.As usual, he sidestepped abruptly and adeptly, without dismissing or undermining the actual values in those causes.

Yeah, I suppose Spenser has it all, at least all that I require to continue following a pair of footsteps, in a process somewhat like a P.I. trailing a suspect or a clue.

Sometimes, I do have one.

Linda Shelnutt ... Read more

6. Rough Weather (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 336 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425230171
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Hired as a bodyguard at an exclusive society wedding, Spenser witnesses an unexpected crime: the kidnapping of the young bride, which opens the door for murder, family secrets, and the reappearance of an old nemesis.

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Customer Reviews (69)

2-0 out of 5 stars Terrible ending
I don't know what's going on with Robert Parker,but this Spenser novel isn't like the old ones. The book didn't draw me in until Chapter 8. I thought the plot and concept were good, but that's about it.

SPOILERFOLLOWS. Don't read if you are getting the book:

The ending was awful. Basically Spenser lets a mass murderer go free, a guy who murders a minister, a wedding groom, and several security guys in cold blood. Why did Spenser let him go? Because the bad guy's semi-legitimate daughter won't have anyone left after her mother gets put away? Gimme a break!!! What kind of a person would let a young woman go off with psychopathic father like that. Ridiculous!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spoiler Alert!

In this one, Spenser is hired to cover a rich-couple's wedding (on a private island, no less), and takes Susan along.

A team of assassins arrives, kills the groom, kidnaps the bride, AND KILLS SUSAN SILVERMAN!!!!!!!!

Yes, the tedious Susan is finally (FINALLY!) terminated.

This causes jubilation at the wedding, and everybody forgets the groom (and also the minister, who has been killed), and even the kidnapped bride, and celebrates.

The Gray Man and Spenser reconcile, because GM has done what Spenser should have done years ago: get rid of Susan.

Everyone lives happily ever after.

No.Only kidding.

Susan doesn't die.Darn it.

She continues her tedious existence and pops up here from time to time, making the novel even less coherent than it already is.

Most people don't like the unfinished ending.But I think that's the best part.

4-0 out of 5 stars The complexity of the crime in combination with the softness of the ending weaken what could have been a very powerful book
While this book still sparkles with the crispness and quality of the dialog and there is an adversary worthy of Spenser, the circumstances of the main crime and the resolution are a bit too extreme.
Gold digger extraordinaire Heidi Bradshaw has amassed a fortune through marrying and divorcing well several times and her daughter is about to be married. Even though the wedding will take place on a private island and she has hired an excellent security firm, Heidi also hires Spenser to attend. He is given no real instructions regarding his role, so with Susan Silverman at his side, Spenser is in the crowd as the "happy" couple is about to wed.
However, an extremely sophisticated group arrives by helicopter, kidnaps the bride and kills the groom and every member of the security detail. This group is led by Rugar a.k.a. the Gray Man and when a hurricane arrives, Spenser is able to escape and extract Susan from the group of hostages. Even though Spenser is paid off, his sense of pride and responsibility keeps him working the case, which is baffling because there is no ransom note. The trail involves local crime lords, international spying, child sexual abuse and the honor among thugs for hire. There is a resolution, but it is extremely tame, there is no climactic shootout or confrontation.
The main crime is so sophisticated that the complexity is on the border of overwhelming, it could have been toned down a bit and that would have improved the story. Given the number of deaths, while the ending is somewhat noble, it evokes no real tension or excitement. One of the high points is when Spenser, Hawk, Susan and Pearl are having Thanksgiving dinner together and Susan voices the love they have for each other.

2-0 out of 5 stars Two stars because it is Parker
I am a long time RBP fan.That is now said.However, this book should have been 3 chapters long.One in which he gets hired, one to go to the wedding see Gray Man, kill him and then a wrap up chapter.Despite the fact that the rest of the book is pretty standard (if not tired) RBP Spenser, the whole book does not work because of the beginning. It is his JOB to be there for his employer.Yet Spenser drags Susan along to his job, sees his Arch Enemy and does NOTHING!!!!What the hell did he think GM was there for?!At bare minimum Susan should have been sent home and Hawk called in to deal with this.Also, wayyyyyy too much Susan.It would be OK if she would do something.By now it is like watching paint dry when she is in a chapter.Let something happen to her like some of the previous novels.Or better yet, make a couple of books with barely a reference to her at all.

Thank goodness, I got this one from the Library.I give it two stars just because of RBP. Don't waste your money.

Quick fix for most of this book:

If RBP had not let The Gray Man be seen at the start of the wedding and let it be a surprise later that it was him, the book would have worked and everyone would be happy (at least I would have).I just cant believe ole Spense let it happen that way.

2-0 out of 5 stars Spenser, come back!
First on, let's focus on the positives: for almost four decades the Spenser stories have collectively been, without doubt, one of the greatest detective series ever.He and his allies (most notably his paramour Susan Silverman and his tougher-than-nails sidekick Hawk) have meted out their own special justice in over three dozen mysteries--most but not all in the Boston area.

Throughout this series Spenser's fans could always count upon his quick wit, fast hands, an unshakeable ethical code, and his "See It Through to the End" credo.Whether the cases involved a missing person, a cheating spouse, personal security, or even carrying out vengeance, Spenser's work always carried with it an ethical dilemma from which true justice would have to be extracted, with or without the consent of his employer.

I've been reading these novels ever since my late college years in the early 1970s ("The Godwulf Manuscript"), and I have always been enthused every time a new Spenser paperback hit the shelves.During the interim I felt I always got what I'd paid for: humor, adventure, a clever plot, and a compelling case that moored my guy in a quandary that required an unusual and clever resolution. And I loved Parker's spare writing style, one that always seemed to me to symbolize how Hemingway would have written had he a sense of humor.

That is, until recently.Not usually a naysayer, I've heard the complaints of others and yet I tried to ignore what they were saying: the formula is getting stale; there have been too many trips to the well; no new ground is being broken.But I hung in there...the books were still fun, and I'd rather spend my time inside Spenser's head, even on a bad day, than with most characters on their best.

But with "Rough Weather," I have to admit that I, too, am getting bored.It's not just that for the umpteenth time he's re-treading an old character, doing more or less a sequel. No, it's more than that.It's kind of a...well...a boredom has set in.Like so many other fans, I think Mr. Parker is just earning a paycheck.

As I read "Rough Weather" I once again watched as all the basic elements were wheeled out: the sexy repartee between Our Hero and the perpetually "ready for a roll in the hay" Ms. Silverman; the racially centered badinage between him and Hawk (whose most essential feature lately is to alternate his speaking style between that of a street thug and a college graduate); the inevitable punch out scene where our Hunk knocks out a tough guy; and the women who throw themselves at him but he remains true to Dear Old Sue.

But it goes further than even that: in "Rough Weather," the antagonist doesn't even remain consistent within his own characterization.He's appeared before, and up until now the most interesting thing about him has been his sheer professionalism; he is maddeningly thorough and NEVER makes a mistake.In fact, he's the one foe who has come closest to ending Spenser's reign.But by the end of this novel he's behaving like a sniveling fool.

And yes, everything HAS been done before. We know that Spenser is going to run up against some amalgamate of evil corporate types; sexually frustrated women who spin out of control when he walks by; pseudo intellectuals who appear to know it all but are only a Spenser quip away from a humbling experience; tough brutes who would scare the pants off you and me, but Spenser and Hawk routinely dispatch like they're swatting flies, and the perennially steamy repartee between Spenser and Susan, who falls into a swoon with him about a dozen times a book.

Unfortunately, I think, after all of this time, that P.I. Spenser may finally be facing the one fundamental foe he cannot vanquish, the one enemy he cannot overcome: a languid Robert B. Parker, who has gotten too comfortable himself, and is content with doing what Our Hero never would: phoning it in.
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7. Ceremony (Spenser Novels (Dell))
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 224 Pages (1992-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440109930
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Crimson Joy. Spenser's out to make war, not love, as he goes after Boston's entire X-rated industry. Pretty teenager April Kyle has disappeared into the city's darkest underworld, and to rescue her, Spencer pits muscle and wit against bullets and bullies. Part of Dell's ongoing Robert B. Parker reissue program. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ceremony: mistaken identity
I read this book many years ago, and thought it was typical of what is good about Robert B. Parker's Spenser series.However, I'm not writing here to review the book; that has already been done well enough by others.I'm writing to point out that there is an error in the matching of the reviews with the book supposedly being reviewed.

Of the reviews posted for "Ceremony" (sixteen as I write this), three are reviewing a completely different work,apparently a supernaturally-themed B-movie on VHS, which happens to have the same title.These three are also three of the four reviews that give a score of less than four stars.This skews the "average review" score, while wasting the time of anyone looking for info about the Parker book.

(The fourth reviewer who gives " Ceremony" a low score apparently does have the right work, if a misguided opinion.I'll take the high road and not disparage his review; I'll just point out that he spells Spenser incorrectly.)

For the record, "Ceremony" (the one by Robert B. Parker), poses an interesting, and at least semi-profound moral dilemma, which Spenser (as usual), doesn't seem to linger over too long.Interestingly, Spenser encounters the teenage prostitute again in a much later book, ("Hundred Dollar Baby"), now older and a madame, but the later story takes a darker turn."Hundred Dollar Baby" is good, but I think I might like "Ceremony" better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Service & Product
The seller was very prompt on delivery(within the week) and the book itself was in perfect condition.Quite satified with the quick delivery and product.

5-0 out of 5 stars CEREMONY by Robert B. Parker
I am a serious reader of historical books, but when I want something entertaining I turn to Robert Parker's books.Ceremony is a great read of the once employed city detective Spencer.Because of Spencer's lack of respect for the rules and regulations binding all other law officers, he is now in business for himself as a private eye.He is not discriminating as to who he works for either.This is the first book in a series about a young April Kyle who's family life and environment leads her into the seedy world of prostitution, crime, and corruption.For some reason Spencer is the shining Knight who comes to the rescue; but in a way the average reader cannot anticipate.Smart, confident, and with a cutting edge wit; Spencer is a great read!

4-0 out of 5 stars A book which is sure to spark conversation
I have just completed another Robert B. Parker book:"Ceremony."While I enjoy Mr. Parker's storytelling, the ending, which I do not wish to give away, disturbed me.

Despite my opinion on the ending, I still give it 4 stars.Mr. Parker, as the author, is an excellent storyteller, and the one who creates the ending for his book: here, Spenser must come up with a quick solution to save a young girl from the jaws of a low-line prostitution ring - a girl who does not want to go back to the safety of her childhood home.I have thought about Spenser's solution in this story for some time now, and I honestly cannot say that I have an alternative, based on the character Mr. Parker created.

I would recommend this book, but I am not sure everyone would agree with the ending.If you are looking for an ending which may spark conversation, this book has done so for me.

J.R. Reardon
author, "Confidential Communications"

2-0 out of 5 stars A Love/Hate Relationship, Without the Love
No one loves low budget horror flix more than I do, or is more likely to cut then ample amounts of slack than I am, but there are certain movies that have just rubbed me the wrong way and unfortunately for everyone connected with CEREMONY, this film is one of them. I'm not going to complain about horrendous hair-dos or out-dated wardrobes from days of yore, the film was made in 1994 so nothing is quite so antiquated that it would raise cries of "Yuck!" from even the most coiffure and sartorially conscious critic. The camera work and the lighting are no worse than a thousand other films I've endured--a bit of squinting here and there gets you through the dimmest scenes just fine. Several of the actors DO appear to be graduates of the Snidely Whiplash Academy of the Dramatic Arts, and they use their mentor's patented lip curl to convey nearly every emotion from disgust to anger to fear. Apart from that, the acting is par for the low budget course. So what you may ask has me so ticked off at this movie?

The story begins well enough with low budget potential just bustin' out all over the place. It seems that one of the Lord's servants became jealous of Christ and his position next to God, and this envious angel was cast out--not to hell, but to our physical world. Satan saw that she (its always a female, isn't it--how sexist can you get) was weak and vulnerable and was able to overpower her. (All of this is demonstrated for us in glorious low budget manner with the camera on a woman who is apparently in heaven, then after being bathed in some sort of light that annoys her, she finds herself lying on the sand in the desert, where she cries and screams until a very thin person wearing camel hooves and some surprisingly effective make-up for this production comes over and forces her to spit tapioca out of her mouth. That was Satan possessing her.) This all took about 4 minutes, probably the best 4 minutes of the film. After that we're thrown 1400 years into the future which is, of course, the present.

Sylvia Brindisi (Emilie Talbot)is our heroine. Her Grandfather (played by Forry Ackerman)is in a nursing home because his condition requires the kind of round the clock care that the family's hinky housekeeper Gloria can't provide. And its not a good time for him to be out of commission either, because the Brindisi Family's Big Raison d'Etre is coming up the very next day! Without Gramps Sylvia will have to deal with it all by herself. Naturally she doesn't take Forry's advice --NO GUESTS ALLOWED! And she invites everyone she can think of from the cute married couple who think she's having a couples' retreat to Dr. Davidson the secular humanist bleeding heart liberal Dean of Theology, who's also teaching a class in religion Sylvia is taking. She warns everyone though, do not come unless you truly believe in God. Everyone assures her that they do, even the professor who has all his fingers, toes, and even his eyes crossed while he's doing it.

Later that night when they all assemble at her huge home, Sylvia finally tells them why she has invited them, and why it was so important that they believe in God. She recaps the story of the jealous angel and tells how her ancestors had built a device in which they had trapped her and held her prisoner, how they had consulted philosophers and wisemen and calculated the date of the Final Judgment to the year, month, day, hour, and minute. And how at that precise time the device would open and this evil creature would be released to face the wrath of God. And that time was to be midnight that very night. Well, the secular humanist gets all sarcastic, of course, and doubts the story and the existence of the device (which is sitting on the other side of the room the whole time she's telling the story), whereupon Sylvia merely goes, "Voila!" Adding that she has no idea if there's anything in there or not but she doesn't want to be there alone when it opens.

The next step is for Sylvia to conduct a little Holy Communion for the group's protection, and I'm not the only one who had things starting to stick in their throat at this point--so did good ol' Dr. Davidson, the eucahrist was giving him more problems than Aunt Betty's fruitcake, which he vomited up as they left the room--the eucahrist. There wasn't any fruitcake.WEll, the time comes, and goes, and the angel/demon is a no-show. Someone remarks about the difficulty of precision watch making--and BINGO! There she is!

Before you know it there are dead people all over the house because everyone had to split up and look for the demon after she broke out of the circle as we all knew she inevitably would. (She did it with the help of a dog, if you're interested.) Well, eventually Sylvia gets the demon back into the circle and contains her just in time for dawn, which is very important because that's when the device will close back up whether she is in it or not. And she gets that last little magic candle lit just in time and that nasty old fallen angel gets sucked right back into that clocklike thingie for an indeterminate amount of time.

AND GUESS WHAT? EVERYBODY WHO WAS DEAD GETS UP AGAIN! EXCEPT OF COURSE FOR THE EVIL, SECULAR, HUMANIST, BLEEDING HEART, LIBERAL, COLLEGE PROFESSOR WHO IS SHOWN SCREAMING HIS LUNGS OUT IN HELL! Yes, that's why I hate this flick. They might just as well have dedicated it to Ann Coulter, except that no one knew who she was in 1994. Why couldn't the dead true believers just have gone to their eternal reward in heavenly bliss--nope they got up and lived again! And that's the part that really irks me. I have absolutely nothing against the scriptwriter giving them an afterlife full of puffy little white clouds and streets paved with gold and whatever other dandy delights he may care to dream up, but dead should be dead! Now if he wanted to play fair and resurrect the professor that would have been cool with me too, it could have carried a much more interesting message of redemption or something with it, but NO, we have to kill the bloody, liberal, elitist intellectual and put him in his place once and for all!

I wonder if the screenwriters had just flunked their finals or something, this has such a nasty, vindictive feel to it.

This is really a 1 and 1/2 star film, the other 1/2 is for unrealized potential.

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8. Split Image (Jesse Stone, No. 9)
by Robert B. Parker
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-02-23)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$5.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399156232
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Family ties prove deadly in the brilliant new Jesse Stone novel from New York Times-bestselling author Robert B. Parker.

The body in the trunk was just the beginning.

Turns out the stiff was a foot soldier for local tough guy Reggie Galen, now enjoying a comfortable "retirement" with his beauti­ful wife, Rebecca, in the nicest part of Paradise. Living next door are Knocko Moynihan and his wife, Robbie, who also happens to be Rebecca's twin. But what initially appears to be a low-level mob hit takes on new meaning when a high-ranking crime figure is found dead on Paradise Beach.

Stressed by the case, his failed relationship with his ex-wife, and his ongoing battle with the bottle, Jesse needs something to keep him from spinning out of control. When private investigator Sunny Randall comes into town on a case, she asks for Jesse's help. As their professional and personal relationships become intertwined, both Jesse and Sunny realize that they have much in common with both their victims and their suspects-and with each other.

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Customer Reviews (62)

4-0 out of 5 stars joy revisited
classic parker...it's like i didn't miss him so much when i was reading this book. for me, his style and humor are like my favorite pair of slippers that never wear out; familiar, reliable comfort. it's all about the dialogue...he's so quick. another parkeresque entertaining read. now i miss him again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Parker does it again.
What can one say? Jesse Stone is one cool, entertaining customer and Parker's sparse and magnetic writing style just keeps me coming back.

3-0 out of 5 stars Jesse and Sunny are both too buried in their personal emotional baggage to make this work as a murder mystery.
While I am a fan of the writing of the Spenser stories of Robert B. Parker, that excitement is not nearly as high for the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall stories and they are the two major characters of this story. Small town police chief Jesse is a man with severe relationship problems; he seems unable to free himself from his ex-wife Jen. His fixation on Jen is always a major part of the stories, even when Jesse is investigating multiple homicides. Sunny is a private investigator that is still strongly tied to her ex-husband Richie. Both are seeing psychiatrists on a regular basis in an attempt to cope, Sunny is a patient of Susan Silverman, the girlfriend of Spenser, another major character created by Parker.
The action is restrained, nowhere near the level of the other Parker novels. Jesse is investigating two homicides that might be related and Sunny is looking into the case of a girl in her late teens that has joined an unusual religious community. Her parents don't want her around; there concern is that her involvement will prove to be an embarrassment to them. In between fixations on their ex-spouses and their investigations, Jesse and Sunny manage to begin a relationship. While both is very willing to become sexually involved, neither one is willing to extend themselves emotionally. From their histories, you know that whatever develops, it will be a mutually slow slog through their baggage.
I found that the story moved along at a rapid rate, yet didn't really captivate me.The dialog is in the snappy, snippet style so characteristic of Parker's stories, yet while I generally consider it a strong point, in this case I found myself wishing that the statements between Jesse and Sunny contained a few more words. They are lovers and are struggling to find a shared identity, when people are in such situations they tend to ramble a bit rather than being this brief. Once again Sunny finds it necessary to request the aid of strong male companions; in this case it is Spike and Jesse. If Sunny is ever to be a viable character, she is going to have to complete a case by herself.

3-0 out of 5 stars Book is good, Kindle formatting is awful
The book is classic Parker, with Jesse and Sunny building their relationship. If you've enjoyed his other books you'll like this one.

My big problem is with the quality of the conversion to Kindle. The Kindle edition is littered with typographical and layout errors. There are extra spaces in the middle of words ("i n" instead of "in"), words that are just completely missing, paragraphs of convesration between people that are strung together in a big bunch, and missing punctuation. As my first experience reading a book on Kindle, it really wasn't the greatest.

5-0 out of 5 stars More! More!
More of Jesse Stone would be appreciated....we mourn the loss of a peoples author.We'll miss you Robert B. ... Read more

9. Crimson Joy
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (1989-04-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440203430
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
They call him the "Red Rose Killer" because he leaves one on the body of each woman he kills. But then the madman's eyes turn to Susan Silverman, and Spenser is on the case. For when Susan's life is in danger, Spenser becomes a hard-fisted, unstoppable locomotive--determined to bring the criminal to justice no matter what the odds!((Dell--Fiction) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent psycho whodunit
Parker is a master with words.He says so much in so little.Wonderful characters with humor and intelligence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Early Spenser is good Spenser
I've tried to read this series in order, yet somehow I missed this gem. Going back in time (before even Pearl I) reminded me why I remain loyal to this series. Spenser brings us along every step of the way as he tries to solve Boston's Red Rose Murders. One of his moves (I won't spoil it here) makes you wince as he does it because we know, as surely he must, that he won't get away with it, but we sense his frustration and know why he must give it a try. The villain of this piece is nuts, and there's unpredictability that reasonably goes a long with that. Having the villain share narration duties with Spenser helps heighten the suspense. And then there's Susan. I have never been a fan of hers, but she's integral to the story and for once isn't desperately obnoxious! In fact, when she's in "Dr. Silverman" mode, she's interesting and even earned by grudging respect.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Parker's better Spenser books...
Robert Parker's Spenser series is always good, and Crimson Joy is even better than many of the Spenser books.

A serial killer has been targeting black woman.He ties up his victims, shots them, and leaves a red rose on each woman (thus he's been dubbed Red Rose by the press).Homicide detective Lt. Martin Quirk of the Boston Police Department brings private investigator Spenser in on the case.Red Rose wrote a letter to Quirk claiming that he's a cop, and Quirk wants at least one person on the investigation who is not associated with the BPD.Red Rose then starts leaving red roses for Spenser's girlfriend, psychologist Susan Silverman.Spenser suspects that Red Rose is one of Susan's patients, but Susan is reluctant to help because of patient confidentiality issues.In the meantime, Spenser and Hawk take turns guarding Susan while Spenser and the BPD investigate the murders.The race is on to catch Red Rose before he kills again--especially before Spenser and Silverman become victims.

I enjoyed Crimson Joy for a number of reasons.First, this becomes a psycho-thriller as Spenser matches wits with Red Rose.We even get to hear the voice of Red Rose as he struggles with his demons and his past.Then there is the conflict between Spenser and Silverman about what is more important---patient-doctor confidentiality or catching a killer.There is also a twist at the end.And then there is always the repartee between Spenser and Hawk.These all add up to a great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Spenser
A truly adult story, with an eerie feel to it unlike most Parker stories. THe story presented chracter development in Belson and Quirk and displayed a deeper understanding of the Spenser/Silverman relationship.The most satisfying Spenser I've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars High action; a true thriller in the real sense of the word
Spenser is called in by the police on a murder investigation in this, the 15th book in the series.There is a serial killer on the loose - the killer is targeting black women in their 40s, binding and gagging them and killing them in a most gruesome manner.His signature?A single red rose.As race and class tensions rise in Boston, the police put pressure on the team investigating the murders - and Spenser - to close the book on this as quickly as possible.

As Spenser edges closer to the truth, the killer targets Susan.With the police off the case (due to the confession of another man), Spenser calls in Hawk to help him.The two primaries on the murder investigation - Quirk and Belson - are asked to take vacation, because they believe that the wrong man is in jail.They join Spenser in protecting Susan and trying to find the killer.

The action in this book comes and goes - but when it is there, it is high intensity!This book is a thriller and a rather gruesome serial killer murder mystery.As such, it is atypical of Spenser - not to say that murders do not occur, just that usually murder is not the crime Spenser is investigating.Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book a great deal - a recommend from me! ... Read more

10. Blue-Eyed Devil
by Robert B. Parker
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-05-04)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$11.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399156488
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The extraordinary new Western from the New York Times- bestselling author, featuring itinerant lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch.

Law enforcement in Appaloosa had once been Virgil Cole and me. Now there was a chief of police and twelve policemen. Our third day back in town, the chief invited us to the office for a talk.

The new chief is Amos Callico: a tall, fat man in a derby hat, wearing a star on his vest and a big pearl-handled Colt inside his coat. An ambitious man with his eye on the governorship-and perhaps the presidency-he wants Cole and Hitch on his side. But they can't be bought, which upsets him mightily.

When Callico begins shaking down local merchants for protection money, those who don't want to play along seek the help of Cole and Hitch. But the guns for hire are thorns in the side of the power-hungry chief. When they are forced to fire on the trigger-happy son of a politically connected landowner, Callico sees his dream begin to crumble. There will be a showdown-but who'll be left standing? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars Robert Parker - He will be missed!
Robert Parker is one the the best authors I have ever read. He has been my favorite author for almost my entire life. If you have never read his Spenser novels, start now and read them in order!With his western series, he had begun creating another set of characters that will forever live and breathe in our memories. I am so sad that Robert Parker will not be able to create any more awesome novels and I feel as if a member of my own family has passed on. I recommend this book and any of the other Robert Parker novels. He also wrote the Jesse Stone series, which were made into movies that starred Tom Selleck. All of Robert Parker's main characters have inner strength and the convictions of their morals, to which they stay true no matter what. He will make you laugh, cry, and feel good that you read something worthwhile! Three cheers to a life well lived and to books well written!

5-0 out of 5 stars Too Hard to Put Down--This Is A One-Sit Read!
Blue-eyed Devil was Robert Brown Parker's last in his Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series."Parker died suddenly of a heart attack sitting at his desk in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 18, 2010. He was 77."Parker was a master story teller and talented writer! He left a legacy of great books that readers will enjoy for decades to come.

Set in the 1800's in Appaloosa, Texas, in this old western thriller, Blue-eyed Devil, Parker brings back major characters Virgil Cole, Everett Hitch, Pony Flores, Allie French and others.

Virgil is not as book smart has his West Point sidekick Everett; however, he is the wise hero that can always be counted on to just know what to do. Virgil's girl friend Allie is raising now sixteen year old, Laurel, a rape victim who can, but does not talk to anyone except the man who saved her life--Virgil.

Pony Flores is half Mexican and half Chiricahua Indian. His half brother, Kha-to-nay has a price on his head after robbing a train and killing people in the process. In spite of Kha-to-nay's hatred of the "Blue-eyed devils" (white people), Flores brings his brother to Cole's house for protection.

Politically ambitious and corrupt former circus trick shooter, Amos Callico and a herd of deputies are the new law in Appaloosa, a town that where Cole and Hitch once policed.

Callico is shaking down the local tavern owners and other businesses to finance his political goals; Kha-to-nay is planning a raid on Appaloosa; and rich Lazy L ranch owner, former Confederate Army General Horatio Laird has hired New Orleans gunfighter, Chauncey Teagarden to kill Cole.

Cole and Hitch are on a collision course from three directions and have their hands full in this action packed fast-paced thriller!Pick up this book and find out if they survive or if this is the end for these amazing characters.

I could not put this one down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Even for those who have not followed Parker..
It seems that most of these reviews are by those who have followed the author for many years and books. Nothing wrong with that.

However,I would like to assure new prospective readers that even if,as is the case with myself,you have never read a previous book in this series or even by this author, you will find this book to be understandable, well-written, very interesting and highly worthwhile.

Good Western. And much more than just a "western", as are all the best Westerns.

5-0 out of 5 stars love Mr.Parkerswestern stories
I have read all books in this series and really enjoyed them. I especially love the dialogue between these two men.It is refreshing to read something that is not the typical read of today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read
This continuation of the "Appaloosa" series was another very enjoyable read. The ongoing adventures of Cole and Hitch are a great escape for an afternoon or evening. ... Read more

11. Promised Land (A Spenser Novel)
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 224 Pages (1987-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440171970
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Acclaimed mystery author Robert B. Parker continues to win an even greater audience with each new Spenser novel. For all crime fiction lovers who discovered Parker through his latest bestsellers "Pastime" and "Double Deuce", his entire Dell backlist is now available in attractively repackaged editions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

1-0 out of 5 stars buy the actual book
If you are not familiar with this story by Robert B. Parker buy the actual book and not this kindle version.It reads like a combination pdf document and screen play.No dialogue designation at all.No 'Spenser said...' or 'Hawk replied' anywhere.To determine who said what one has to go back and find the quotation marks.Very disruptive to the flow of the story! The entire copy is left justified, really ruins an excellent Spenser novel.

This book PROMISED LAND is the fourth book in the series and I always recommend reading them in order, get THE GODWWULF MANUSCRIPT and enjoy.The Spenser series is classic and timeless. This book finds Spenser hired to find a wife that ran away while her husband has troubles she isn't even aware of.The book waxes a little poetic once in awhile but we get an insight in Spenser and his relationship with Susan Silverman, girl interest now.We also are introduced to Hawk, a very important charter in this series.I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the series and this novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Robert B. Parker's star - Spencer will be missed.
As always the Spencer books are a great read for fans of Robert B. Parker. this was one of the older books that I hadn't yet read. Enjoyable tales as always.

3-0 out of 5 stars Horrible Kindle Edition - But Classic Spenser
I don't know how Amazon transfers books to Kindle, but the Kindle version of Promised Land is horrible, really horrible. It's almost as if some out-sourced foreigner with a 1st grade command of English typed the book for Amazon. There are numerous typos, bad indents, punctuation problems. THIS KINDLE VERSION IS THE WORST KINDLE BOOK I'VE READ! GET IT TOGETHER AMAZON. IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BUY A KINDLE, AT LEAST HAVE THE BOOKS PRESENTABLE!

That said, Promised Land is classic Spenser. Obviously, Parker created Susan Silverman to bring more conflict into the story. In my opinion, she just consistently slows Spenser down with her whiny, feminist banter. Spenser is better off free of any romantic entanglements, particularly one from a libber.

Still, Parker writes a fair novel. Not one of my favorite Spenser books, but certainly better than most anything on the shelves today.

1-0 out of 5 stars Promised Land
The book is very good, but this version for the Kindle is bad, very bad. Misspelled words, poor format, accasional different font type - really detracting and sad that Amazon would sell such a product. Read this book, but not in the Kindle format. I have read over fifty books on my Kindle, and this one is the worst. Don't buy this book in the Kindle format! ... Read more

12. Brimstone
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 320 Pages (2010-05-04)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425234614
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Cole and Hitch are back in a new Western classic...

The guns-for-hire introduced in Robert B. Parker's Appaloosa are back...

When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch track down the woman who stole Virgil's heart, they find a dispirited prostitute rather than the innocent beauty she once was. Now they must save her, even if murder is the price of redemption. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent but not great
As someone who is not into old west novels that much, I found this to be a typical and predictable book.If you enjoy the old west theme I'm sure you will enjoy the constant dialouge and action but I found the charachters conversations to be on the boring side and was a bit dissapointed that the ending was so predictable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Parker Book
Loved Appaloosa and Brimstone is an excellent continuation of the story!I am dang sorry to lose an author I have so enjoyed for years!!I am happy that I had him in my life and am able to continue re-reading his many books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Parker Western
Each book in the four-book western series by Robert Parker is wonderfully read by Titus Welliver. "Appaloosa" and "Resolution" precede this book and "Blue Eyed Devil" follows it.They should be read in order for maximum enjoyment and understanding.Parker writes with humor, and this is a twist from his usual Spenser, etc. mysteries, but is an excellent read.Brimstone is my favorite in this series so far, and alas there is but one more.I will miss this talented writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brimstone by Robert Parker
This is a very good book that is a fast read.My husband and I both enjoyed Brimstone very much and would recommend it to all Robert Parker fans.It is a shame we lost such a wonderful writer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Liked it more than Resolution
I'm a fan of these two characters. While I agree with some other reviewers in that it's basically the same story retold for me, Parker's dialogue and pacing make each book a worthwhile read. I enjoyed Brimstone more than Resolution. Perhaps it was the return of Allie French, but overall the story seemed to have more depth than Resolution. I'm looking forward to reading the last in the series and mourn the passing of Robert B. Parker who I have only recently discovered. ... Read more

13. Gunman's Rhapsody
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 336 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425182894
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A novel of the Old West, imagined as only Robert B. Parker can.

"He already had a history by the time he first saw her . . . he was already a figure of the dime novels, and he already half-believed in the myth of the gunman that he was creating, even as it created him."

Robert B. Parker, the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, has long been credited with single-handedly resuscitating the private-eye genre. As the creator of the Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall series, he has proven, again and again, that he is "Boston's peerless man of mystery" (Entertainment Weekly). Now he gives his fans the book he always longed to write-a brilliant and evocative novel set against the hardscrabble frontier life of the West, featuring Wyatt Earp.

It is the winter of 1879, and Dodge City has lost its snap. Thirty-one-year-old Wyatt Earp, assistant city marshal, loads his wife and all they own into a wagon, and goes with two of his brothers and their women to Tombstone, Arizona, land of the silver mines. There Earp becomes deputy sheriff, meeting up with the likes of Doc Holliday, Clay Allison, and Bat Masterson and encountering the love of his life, showgirl Josie Marcus. While navigating the constantly shifting alliances of a largely lawless territory, Earp finds himself embroiled in a simmering feud with Johnny Behan, which ultimately erupts in a deadly gunbattle on a dusty street.

Here is the master's take on the hallowed Western, as expertly crafted as the Spenser novels, and with the full weight of American history behind it.Amazon.com Review
Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Tombstone, the O.K. Corral--theicons are so firmly embedded in American history that we might know nothingmore about them than their names. But in this spare, moody riff on theevents leading to the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral--the signaturebattle defining the violence of the Old West--Robert B. Parker shades theblack-and-white starkness with shifting tones of gray.

Parker moves beyond the Hollywood version of the shootout to explore thetangle of family loyalties, dirty politics, and passion that embroiledWyatt Earp before and after his encounter with the Clanton gang. InParker's version, the longstanding rivalry between the Earps and thecowboys may stem from cultural difference (the Clantons were ranchers whoheld Confederate sympathies during the Civil War; the Earps were townsfolkwho had Union loyalties), and it may be exacerbated by alcohol, machismo,and fiery accusations from both sides. But the spark that leads to thefinal conflagration is simpler: Wyatt falls in love with Josie Marcus,Sheriff Johnny Behan's beautiful, self-assured companion.

Parker's Wyatt Earp is, like his detective hero Spenser, by turns arrogantand humble, and Earp's firm-jawed struggles with honor, family, and lovewill feel familiar to fans of that long-running series.But the author has abandoned the series' relatively intricate plotting andits touches of goofy humor. The novel is a curious amalgamation ofinexorably linear narrative and moments of static contemplation. It driftslike a tumbleweed through Tombstone, leaving two- and three-month gaps,pausing briefly to dip into moments of conflict and moments of peace.

Gunman's Rhapsody is not a big, sprawling western. Hewing firmly toan understated minimalism, it seems at times to have sprung from acollaboration between Hemingway and a Quaker council. Who would havethought that such an unlikely combination could be so rewarding? --KellyFlynn ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars EARPS IN TOMBSTONE - 1879
I've been a Spencer and Hawk fan forever - never missed a Parker book...so now comes along the Western series which I am enjoying more every day. Now that Parker has passed, I've taken to reading his other efforts outside of Boston and the mystery genre.I absorbed this quick read in several days and saw that he didn't give up his fast-clipped and witty dialogue.This version runs away from some of the known facts but hell, it's entertainment; and maybe it did happen this way.All the interesting characters of the Old West tales are here, like Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, the Brothers,and Wyatt's lady Josie Marcus. Just like all the Westerns, there are the good and bad guys, and Wyatt just happens to be the 'white hat' in this novel.A good read!

3-0 out of 5 stars A Creatively Historical Rewriting of the Earps and OK Corral
In typical Robert Parker fashion, this is a tightly constructed story full of "Cowboy" understatement, terse dialog, few descriptions, with the focus on action and events. Somehow, as seems to be true in most Parker books, the women take on a greater role in the legend than previously mentioned in other accounts. While most historical looks at this legendary gunfight attribute cattle rustling and horse-stealing as being the primary causes, Gunman's Rhapsody blames the relationship between Wyatt Earp and Josie Marcus as being the central issue. Regardless of the truth, and perhaps the truth has been masked, expanded, or confused over the years, it makes for a great story.

Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan, and two other brothers James and Warren, become embroiled in a bitter war with the Cowboys of Tombstone. This leads to the famous gunfight and subsequent vendetta killings that results in the injury of Virgil and the death of Morgan. Because Wyatt is not killed nor injured, his status as the "hero" of the story becomes historically elevated. In Parker's account, Wyatt is a determined Spenser-like character with a few redeeming qualities and primarily a man of action. Other characters involved include Frank Stillwell, the Clantons, Sheriff Behan, the McLaurys, Johnny Ringo, and Curly Bill Brocius. Once again, as seems to be true in all retellings of the famous battle, facts and fiction merge together to make the Earps and Doc Holliday come out victorious over the marauding gang.

In spite of the excellent writing, the simmering energy of the entire story, the action and the emotion behind the events, I did not really enjoy this book as much as I expected. It seemed a little convoluted without clear distinction of the individuals. Too many people were alike and the characters became names rather than real people with real problems. Even the Earps blended together to an extent. While I like the idea of few descriptions and the mystery of character depth being unveiled from the circumstances being presented, it did not really happen in this book. This made me feel removed from everything and somewhat disinterested in what happens.

Generally okay but not all that engaging. My favorite Parker series continues to be his later Westerns with Hitch and Cole.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Wyatt Earp Legend Comes to Life
They're all here. Wyatt and the brothers Earp. Josie Marcus, Mattie Blaylock, Big Nose Kate and the Earp women. Curly Bill Broscius and Johnny Ringo. The pathetic Johnny Behan and Ike Clanton. The McLaury boys, Bat Masterson and , of course, the fascinating Doc Holiday. All the iconic figures that came together in a moment of time and put the mining town of Tombstone, Arizona on the map and a place in the annals of historical folklore. Author Robert B. Parker brings the era to life with a style that transports you there, that sets you down in the middle of events that would become the stuff of legend. This taut, highly enjoyable telling of the story is interspersed with news items of events taking place in the rest of the country and world, at that time, which skillfully puts the whole tale in an historical perspective.
An extremely enjoyable read for any fan of the numerous printed and filmed versions of the legend of Wyatt Earp.

4-0 out of 5 stars Get your Guns Right
I agree with most everyone else's reasons for giving any of Parker's Westerns a 4 star rating.Great characters, good dialogue, plenty of action and morality plays.

But I must point out like a previous reviewer already did that the inaccuracies with the details of the firearms used is VERY frustrating.Cylinders do not swing out on Colt single action pistols.They have a loading gate that opens and each empty cartridge must be unloaded one at a time.The loading of the pistols is also one at a time through the same loading gate.And there were no rifles using pistol calibers such as 45 Colt back in the cowboy era.Those are a modern creation used for the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting.And the insistence on his characters using an 8 gauge shotgun?Yes, they did exist, but 10 gauges were much more common, such as the 10 gauge Winchester lever action shotgun.

Someone should contact Parker and give him the hardware information he needs (if he cares about getting it right).They should go back and fix the inaccuracies in all three of his Westerns.It would just be the right thing to do.It's what Spenser would do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wyatt Earp reviewed
As the jacket says, this is the story of Wyatt Earp and his brothers in Tombstone. It is thoroughly fleshed out and organized into a real cowboy story. If you are unfamiliar with the story of WE, then you will find this an easy, insighful introduction.

It is not quite as intriguing as Parker's Appaloosa trilogy, but he has to deal with the historical constraints of a real person. I think he does it quite well, and I will never look at the OK corral in quite the same way again. ... Read more

14. Back Story (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-03-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425194795
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In Robert B. Parker's most popular series, an unsolved thirty-year-old-murder draws the victim's daughter out of the shadows for overdue justice--and lures Spenser into his own past, old crimes, and dangerous lives.Amazon.com Review
In this 30th entry in one of mystery fiction's longest-running and best-loved series, Spenser--the tough yet sensitive Boston private eye with no first name--takes on an unsolved murder nearly three decades old. The client, an actress, is a friend of Paul Giacomin, Spenser's surrogate son (who first appeared in 1981's Early Autumn). Her mother was slain by leftist radicals at a bank holdup in 1974, and now she wants to know who fired the shot. As Spenser digs into the past, he soon learns that powerful people on both sides of the law want the case left alone--badly enough to kill.

These death threats provide a fine excuse for Hawk, Spenser's extremely scary (yet sensitive) bad-guy pal, to tag along in nearly every scene as bodyguard. The interaction of the two friends is one of this series's familiar pleasures, as is the presence of Susan Silverman, Spenser's longtime love interest. Another pleasure is Parker's stripped-down prose, a marvel of craftsmanship as smooth as 18-year-old Scotch. (Plus we get the first meeting between Spenser and Jesse Stone, hero of another Parker series.) Alas, the whole enterprise feels a little tired. The plot never generates much sustained suspense, and the author's adoration for his central characters renders them at times almost cartoonesque. Still, Back Story is excellently prepared comfort food, even if it isn't five-star cuisine. --Nicholas H. Allison ... Read more

Customer Reviews (71)

3-0 out of 5 stars Plot is vague
Robert B. Parker created interesting, fully rounded characters, wrote marvelous often-funny dialogue, and established an atmosphere that felt exactly right.Unfortunately his plots often felt vague--as is the case in this umpteenth Spenser opus.I tried to keep it all straight, but I found myself lost and had to go back and re-read portions.It didn't help much.

The plot seemed to be heading for some great denouement, but for me it fizzled.I won't give it away by going into the details.I thought it should have been more meaningful than it was.

Still, Parker's Spense For Hire novels are interesting if only for the dialogue and the characters--including a dog.

5-0 out of 5 stars back storyby robert b parker
I am a hugh Spencer for Hire fan and because of that a fan of Robert B. Parker, who writes the books.Back Story is teriffic, taking all kinds of twists and turns.It was picked because it is one I was missing in my collection.I wouldn't hesitate to reccommend this book or vender to any fan.

3-0 out of 5 stars A later spencer for hire novel
How killed the young actress's mother?
The militant groups holds up a bank
and a young mother is killed.
The 28 year old mystery open old wounds that
some important people want left closed.
For me the Spencer character begins to feel
two dimensional for all the author's effort to
make him seem more? Somehow he comes off
here as a pig who is bigoted about hippies
more than 20 years after the fact?
The second half of the novel with the MOB
involved just left me feeling empty.
I didn't like the overall effect.

3-0 out of 5 stars Classic Spenser
A classic Spenser novel, maybe a bit better than some of his other recent books. If you haven't read Robert Parker before, you'd probably want to start with some of his earlier Spenser novels. These can probably be described as classic PI noir novels, with unrealistic but entertaining plots and dialog. The characters are reasonably well developed over the course of several books, but the emphasis is on the action and the wry wit.

3-0 out of 5 stars Average at Best
I've read most of the Spenser novels, and I thought BACK STORY was a relatively weak entry in the series.

The plot of BACK STORY involves Spenser investigating a murder committed during a 30-year old bank robbery.Parker has constructed an intricate plot here, but I felt the storyline was a bit too convoluted, with Spenser rushing from place to place to place (San Diego, LA, Maine, etc.) almost non-stop.Most of the scenes are too short and not well developed enough.Most of the supporting characters are also quite thin.As a result, I didn't find this book particularly suspenseful or engaging in the end.

Still, BACK STORY is mildly enjoyable because Parker's writing style is enjoyable.The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the plot interested me enough to complete the book.Parker doesn't write a great book every time, but his novels are almost always entertaining.

So BACK STORY isn't bad, but don't make it your first Spenser novel.My advice is to start with the earlier ones first, starting with the GODWULF MANUSCRIPT and GOD SAVE THE CHILD.

... Read more

15. School Days (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-10-03)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425211347
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
When a boy is accused of a shocking mass murder, only his grandmother is convinced of his innocence. When she hires Spenser to investigate, the inquiry grows more harrowing with every unexpected turnREVIEW; Spenser returns! A high point of the...classic series. (Booklist, starred review) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (90)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not One of HisBest
I really enjoy Spenser and the Spenser cast of characters.I didn't care for this one, though.Really predictable and not very exciting.
Spenser features Pearl way too much.The ending was weak.I'd recommend many other Parker books, but not this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Audio Version
I've never read Robert B Parker but, I am currently listening to the book on satellite radio.A great book - eh.A good book - yeah.The Reader is doing a pretty good job with the audio version, enough to make me set a reminder to listen at the same time everyday.It is definitely entertaining and has you wondering if "he did it" and where the book is going.Probably worth the $15 bucks that Amazon wants for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Read
In this latest outing of the likable, wise-cracking Boston gumshoe, we find him being gently persuaded to delve into the case of a boy who stands accused of a horrible crime.To the delight of many Spenser fans, Susan's presence is minimal throughout the tale, but to the dismay of those very same fans, Hawk is nowhere to be found (though there is a brief reference to Hawk by Spenser when he seeks to enlist the aid of a local hood).

In spite of the lingering presence of Susan throughout (she's attending a professional conference out of state while the gumshoe is on the case), I found myself laughing at key points in the tale.I enjoyed reading Parker's clipped, sharp 'prose'.He certainly has nailed the dialog thing.

In fact, I think I will pick up the next tale in the Spenser series and give it a slow, careful read.I am amazed at all the life lessons Parker drops here and there.Every book he writes is a true intellectual treat.

1-0 out of 5 stars A New Low for Spenser
Almost no action, no Hawk and very little Susan. I yearned for something to hapen for far too many pages.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finding out what happened and why
Spenser is dogsitting for Susan when Lily Ellsworth seeks Spenser's assistance for her grandson, Jared Clark.Jared has been identified as one of two Columbine-style school shooters and has confessed.The police and Jared's lawyer don't want Spenser to investigate.

The parents of Jared had moved to the town to be part of it.Jared's co-defendant had never been what his mother wanted him to be.Wendell's mother describes him, he is a bully.(Jared's parents cleaned out his room, leaving not even a speck of him in it.)

Susan remains in Durham for the duration of this mystery.Spenser gets ideas by talking with an attorney friend, Rita Fiore.It turns out the school shooting presents an interesting case to solve.The shooters are known but the reasons aren't.

Spenser begins with the knowledge that no one wants to know why the shooting happened and he unravels things from that point.Anyone who cares about schools and teenagers will find Parker's careful portrayal of the school and the town realistic. ... Read more

16. The Boxer and the Spy
by Robert B. Parker
Paperback: 240 Pages (2009-06-25)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$2.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142414395
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
When a shy high school student’s body is found washed up on the shore of a quiet beach town—an apparent suicide—Terry Novak doesn’t know what to think. He decides to do some investigating with the help of his best friend, Abby. Before long, they learn that asking questions puts them in grave danger. Fortunately, Terry has been learning about fighting, thanks to a retired boxer, who teaches him to use his head and keep his feet set beneath him—lessons Terry takes to heart in more ways than one. Robert B. Parker delivers a taut, empowering mystery for teen readers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

3-0 out of 5 stars Who Killed Jason?
Jason Green overheard a conversation and soon after he was dead. Terry Novak and Abby Hall are on a mission to find out what happened to Jason. When some of their friends join in to help, they form a spy network and they are very serious about being detectives. But there is an adult who wants to put an end to their investigation and he's using one of their classmates to keep them from finding out the truth. If he can.

Jason: He lost his father and his mother got drunk a lot. He didn't like sports but he did like old movies and he liked to draw. He was taking the technical arts curriculum at William Dawes Regional and he wanted to be a landscape designer. He was believed to be gay, but his interests were the only reasons given. Those likes and dislikes made this young man gay? I couldn't see why characters came to this conclusion.

Terry and Abby: They worked well together. Some thought they were a couple. They claimed they weren't but the way they related to each other it seemed as if their close friendship would be more someday. I liked that Abby wanted her `first time' to mean something.

George: Terry's mentor doesn't just teach him to box (quite a few boxing lessons take place in this story) but he also speaks words of wisdom because he wants Terry to make good choices.

Mr. Bullard: The principal of William Dawes Regional high school is not a likeable character.

This is the first Robert B. Parker novel I've read. The mystery was a page-turner not really because it was exciting or thrilling, but because I wanted to find out who killed Jason. Even though I didn't get to really know him, I liked him. It was also a quick read; forty-seven of the shortest chapters I have ever seen in a young adult novel. There is a fight scene and the use of steroids is addressed. There is also a bit of profanity and the mention of sexual activity but it isn't written in detail. Even though there are teenagers of high school age, this story is one I believe mature middle school students would enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Boxer and the Spy
Even without Spenser this is an excellent read.Classic Parker.Great for young readers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Only good for teenagers.
Since the death of the great author Robert B. Parker
I have been on a guest to read every book he has ever written.When I purchased this book I had no idea it was written for teenagers. However disappointed I was
young people would benefit from reading it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't take on the boxer and the spy
High school chums and almost boyfriend/girlfriend Terry and Abby suspect that their classmate's suicide was not a suicide at all, but foul play somehow tied in with some shady goings-on by their school principal and a local pol now running for governor.But what, they observe, could a couple of kids do about it?A lot, as we soon find out.

Robert B. Parker's third book for young adults ("Edenville Owls" and "Chasing the Bear" were the first two), doesn't talk down to kids, and in fact discusses Mr. Parker's usual themes with the same enthusiasm as they're approached in his adult thrillers.These include the importance of having a personal code, and being consciously aware of both the strengths and challenges of one's personal relationships, especially one's primary romantic relationship. Actually, in this book's case, it's more of a potential romantic relationship, as Terry and Abby are still somewhat circling each other and figuring everything out, even as each is clearly taken with the other.

The title alludes to Terry's enthusiasm for boxing and Abby's plan to mobilize her and Terry's friends to spy on the adults they suspect of murdering their friend and scamming the community.A decent plotline (maybe slightly simpler than a usual Parker plot, but not much), likable characters, and some good confrontation scenes result in a solid, entertaining effort.As I also said about the characters in Mr. Parker's other two stand-alone (so far) young adult titles, it would be nice to see Terry and Abby again sometime.

5-0 out of 5 stars What dialogue!
I haven't ever read a Robert B. Parker novel, and I can understand what everyone is saying about his incredible dialogue. Terry is not an overly complicated boy, with the basic motivations of an essentially good person. He is head-over-heels for the flirtatious, intelligent Abby, and the two of them banter continually about sex even though they've never had it and aren't sure they want to have it. The zen-like wisdom of the capable George balances the easy back and forth of the pair and the chatter of their friends. The mystery is not particularly mysterious, violent, or particularly surprising at its conclusion, but that takes nothing away from Terry's investigations, which unites kids from all classes and cliques. Wonderful book. ... Read more

17. Mortal Stakes
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (1987-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440157587
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Everybody loves a winner, and the Rabbs are major league.Marty is the Red Sox star pitcher, Linda the loving wife.She loves everyone except the blackmailer out to wreck her life.

Is Marty throwing fast balls or throwing games?It doesn't take long for Spenser to link Marty's performance with Linda's past...or to find himself trapped between a crazed racketeer and an enforcer toting an M-16.

America's favorite pastime has suddenly become a very dangerous sport, and one wrong move means strike three, with Spenser out for good! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars Mortal Stakes
Thought it sort of drug on. Didn;t care for it as well as some of his others.

5-0 out of 5 stars It has it all
This is just a great read.Good plot.Lot of laugh out loud lines by Spenser.Good resolution.Five Stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gelati"s Scoop
Blast from The Past Mortal Stakes Robert Parker

As promised I am dedicating April's Blast from the Past posts in memory of Robert Parker. To say that I have enjoyed reading his book is an understatement. Mortal Stakes is the 3rd installment in Parker's "Spenser "series. The story line on this oldie but goody is this: Everybody loves a winner and the Rabbs are Major league. Marty is the star pitcher on the Red Sox. Linda is the loving wife. She loves everyone except the blackmailer out to wreck her life. Is Marty throwing fastballs or throwing games? It doesn't take long for Spenser to link Marty's performance with Linda's past or to find himself trapped between a crazed racketeer and an enforcer toting an M-16. America's favorite pastime has suddenly become a very dangerous sport, and one wrong move means a strike three, with Spenser out for good.
I have read all the Spenser series novels and this is a good example of Parker's early work with the characters. In this installment, Spenser realizes early on that he must violate his personal "code" to solve the problem. His ethical struggles are key to most Spenser books as are his relationships. Once one gets over the fact Parker is a homer and big Red Sox fan, the books become more enjoyable. I am a Yankee/Phillies fan so it is with great pain I even mention or type the word Red Sox. Ouch. The usual happens in this book as all others, Spenser teaches us a recipe or two, a few plot twists and turns, good triumphs over evil. Does it get any better? No, not when Parker writes it. Give the Spenser series a try if you haven't already. Start at the beginning and watch the characters develop; it is a worth while journey. It is one I am glad I took.
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5-0 out of 5 stars SPENSER #3
MORTAL STAKES is a baseball mystery, third in the Spenser series.Spenser is to investigate Boston best pitcher.Could he be fixing games?The book flows so easily, and as always with Spenser, it is full of his humor.An easy beach read, easily finished in a day.Thank you, Robert Parker, it may be old but I love it!HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Spenser novels
This is without question one of the best Spenser novels penned by Parker. As a baseball fan, I obtained additional enjoyment from Spenser's references to actual baseball players, past and present. Marty Rabb may be the best pitcher in major league baseball, but an official of the Boston Red Sox, the team he pitches for, has a notion that he cannot shake. There is nothing in the way of hard evidence, but the official believes that Marty may be deliberately easing up in certain game situations to aid gamblers. The notion has reached the point where the official hires Spenser to look into it, so Spenser takes the cover role of being a writer wanting to write a book about baseball. There are the usual Spenser wisecracks, but when a known gambler pays Spenser a visit and tells him to get lost, he knows that there is something to his pursuit. After a little deception on his part, Spenser realizes that Marty's wife Linda has a past inconsistent with her cover story and that is the hook for major blackmail.
In his style of being the ultimate in tough good guy, Spenser begins the process of covering Linda's tracks and trying to relieve the blackmail pressure. None of the people in the blackmail chain are willing to back off, so they must be forced off, even at the threat of Spenser being killed. Spenser faces down the worst of the bad guys, people that would kill him with nothing more than a shrug. Yet, the fact that he killed them bothers Spenser a great deal, even though he knows that had he not killed them, they would have killed him. Susan Silverman plays a minor role in this story, but it is critical at the end when Spenser needs to be consoled. Hawk is never mentioned.
Spenser is at his best when he is active as a wisecracking do-gooder, a combination of steel and putty. That is the role he has here, after the first few pages, I could not put it down.
... Read more

18. Cold Service (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-03-07)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$2.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425204286
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
When his buddy Hawk is beaten within an inch of his life, Spenser infiltrates a ruthless mob in the name of friendship--and revenge. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (108)

The good news is that COLD SERVICE (2005) is a bit better than BAD BUSINESS (2004). The bad news is that it isn't much better.

COLD SERVICE is basically a fantasy book--a macho revenge fantasy--in which Spenser assists Hawk in killing the men who shot Hawk in the back and killed the man Hawk was hired to protect, as well as that man's wife and two of his three children.

Basically about 87 percent of this story is a paint-by-the-numbers piece, and we get the usual Parker touches--events recapped with Spenser telling his girlfriend what has just happened and her providing minimal queries of a moral-psychological nature; scenes with Spenser's dog trying to join the girlfriend and Spenser in bed; scenes with Spenser cooking for his girlfriend; and of course dozens and dozens of comments about the weather and traffic and seagulls and pedestrians to help Robert Parker pad out some of the chapters from 2 or 3 pages to a weightier 4 or 5 pages.

As usual, the local police and the Feds (who allow Hawk and Spenser to do their vigilante-killing-spree thing without any objections) all belong to a fantasy land. Only the street names and store names of real Boston have a close connection with this imaginary "Spenserian Boston."

But that's okay--if that is where you want to spend a few hours instead of playing online in Facebook's Farmville or some other cyberspace fantasy land. After all, in the 1950s and '60s, Ian Fleming's James Bond Thrillers provided basically the same sort of macho "time out" from reality for many people, including Pres. Kennedy--and me.

Three things that seemed to be improvements over BAD BUSINESS were (1) the kind of crime/criminals involved were somewhat more realistic (though very stereotyped), (2) Hawk&Spenser (as a unit) basically committed fewer crimes (although there WERE a lot of people murdered by Hawk), and (3) the brief descriptions of how it feels to be recovering from serious injuries/wounds rang fairly true (I judge from my own experiences).

As for "plotting," it seems more than a bit shaky. Even Spenser seems to notice at times; dialogue OFTEN runs like this: "We go in there and kill 'em all." "How do we do that?" "Through the front door." "What's the rest of the plan?" "That's the whole plan." (Am I the only person reminded of Beavis and Butthead cartoon episodes?)

SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: Very few readers will be happy with the way Hawk's final showdown with the Chief Bad Guy is presented at an abandoned shopping mall--two men go in; one comes out--you already know which one--and neither Spenser nor we have any idea what happened inside the mall. Nor does Robert Parker.

Finally, the REALLY good news is this book can be read so quickly that nobody will be wasting many precious hours of his or her life on it.

2-0 out of 5 stars SAME-SAME-SAME



3-0 out of 5 stars Spenser helps Hawk exact revenge
Having been shot 3 times in the back, it takes quite a bit of time for Hawk to recover. Eventually he is ready to seek out the shooter and the killers of the family that left behind a small child--a family he was hired to protect. Hawk's investigation, with help from Spenser, reveals a corrupt group of Ukrainians supported by the mayor of the Marshpoint. A simmering territorial gang war in the area further exacerbates the situation and Hawk realizes that revenge is rather complicated. Needing to acquire money from the mayor to help the small child but also desiring to kill those involved with the initial shooting, Hawk and Spenser devise a plan to kill the Ukrainians, get the money, and slow down the budding violence in the area.

The story progress along quickly with the easy banter of Spenser and Hawk shining forth as well as the occasional moral dilemma of killing people being mentioned. Hawk's own relationship is in question and we find several insightful psychological moments scattered throughout the book.

It is a fun read full of Parker's concise language and terse dialog. Unnecessary descriptions are avoided and while we don't know these people in depth, we do know enough to understand how they will react in certain situations. Once again, we connect well to Spenser, not as well to Hawk, and we cheer for the cause of helping the little boy. This makes for a feel good kind of story in spite of the pervading violence. In the end, the bad guys suffer and the good guys win.

Yet, the story did not seem very original, nor even plausible. We have heard it all before and from the beginning, we knew how it would end. The anguish of indecision, those heart-wrenching moments of man against himself, did not come through in any kind of emotional sense. This made for a predictable read without much depth of thought. Not one of my favorite Parker books. Perhaps the same story set in a Western would have been more appealing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Superman Bromance in Boston
I'm an enormous fan of this series who somehow fell out of the habit of reading it.Now I remember why.In the first dozen or so books Parker was equal to Chandler, after whom he clearly modeled himself.Unfortunately the work has deteriorated to a couple of notches above a comic book.In this offering the iconic laconic Hawk gets shot in the back and Spencer has to help him get his revenge.The ultimate bad guys are---wait for it---Ukrainian mafiosa backed by an Afghan heroin lord who've taken over an entire eighty-thousand-person Massachusetts town.Something like Dr Doom and Latvania or wherever it was.So of course Spencer and Hawk, aided by a couple of other guys, have to clean up Dodge.En route they encounter a mysterious CIA agent, a mysterious FBI agent, and a mysterious foreign assassin, all of whom pitch in to help, pausing only to express their undying admiration for Hawk and Spencer.Whose dialogue, incidentally, seems to consist exclusively of intimations of mutual esteem and preening over their toughness.Their bromance is actually getting kind of weird----what's next, Provincetown?But even worse than the relationship between the men is their relationship with women----Spencer's mooning over Susan would make a cat barf, and his endless repetitive explanation of Hawk to the latter's current girlfriend borders on the pathological.On top of it all by my estimate Spencer---a Korean war vet---has to be at least 73.Formerly Parker at least nodded to Spencer's age; here he completely ignores it.

I used to read and reread the earlier books.This one goes straight from airport to tag sale.

3-0 out of 5 stars Characters have lost their roots
I have read all of the Spenser books up to this one, and always enjoyed them as a change from my normal reading.They are always witty, quick and I like the characters.But this book has begun the spin into the zone of the unreal.The plot is not realistic.The doors all open without hestation, the knowledge is gained without sweat, the friends are coming out of the woodwork to help, Hawk and Spenser are taking on a huge organization in Marshport but there is no drama from it.The characters of Hawk and Spenser have crossed the line - once they were the outcasts, the rebels on a cause, now they are the mainstream with police, mob and the FBI helping and looking the other way.It's too much.

The story starts after Hawk is gunned down and moves to his convalescence.The psychologist in Susan and Spenser is front and center on the emotional rehabilitation.A little more of Hawk is revealed and that sets up a conundrum:With this information, as small as it is, is it too much?Has Hawk become too human?Not sure that I like knowing more about him.

The verbal banter is still topnotch and the wisecracking enjoyable.The storyline, while a very large stretch, is still entertaining.I hope that Parker comes back to the roots of the characters and gets away from this type of plot in the next Spenser.
... Read more

19. Resolution
by Robert B. Parker
Hardcover: 292 Pages (2008-06-03)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$4.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003STCMOC
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The New York Times–bestselling author’s richly imagined work of historical fiction: a powerful tale of the Old West from the acknowledged master of crime fiction.

I had an eight-gauge shotgun that I’d taken with me when I left Wells Fargo. It didn’t take too long for things to develop. I sat in the tall lookout chair in the back of the saloon with the shotgun in my lap for two peaceful nights. On my third night it was different. I could almost smell trouble beginning to cook . . . .”

After the bloody confrontation in Appaloosa, Everett Hitch heads into the afternoon sun and ends up in Resolution, an Old West town so new the dust has yet to settle. It’s the kind of town that doesn’t have much in the way of commerce, except for a handful of saloons and some houses of ill repute. Hitch takes a job as lookout at Amos Wolfson’s Blackfoot Saloon and quickly establishes his position as protector of the ladies who work the backrooms—as well as a man unafraid to stand up to the enforcer sent down from the O’Malley copper mine.

Though Hitch makes short work of hired gun Koy Wickman, tensions continue to mount, so that even the self-assured Hitch is relieved by the arrival in town of his friend Virgil Cole. When greedy mine owner Eamon O’Malley threatens the loose coalition of local ranchers and starts buying up Resolution’s few businesses, Hitch and Cole find themselves in the middle of a makeshift war between O’Malley’s men and the ranchers. In a place where law and order don’t exist, Hitch and Cole must make their own, guided by their sense of duty, honor, and friendship. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (79)

4-0 out of 5 stars A true western by Parker
This is a true western in the sense that it copies a standard in use for many years, a town is being gobbled up by some greedy monied man who owns most of the businesses in the town and is busy gobbling up those he doesn't own legally of illegally. He is opposed by the protagonist who eventually wins out. Parker brings in two men he has introduced us to in an earlier work, Cole and Hitch, without the entanglement of any women. Parker alters the format slightly, two men are competing for the town, and Cole and Hitch align themselves with one of them. Gun hands are imported, Cole and Hitch sit out the confrontation, and their employer eliminates his adversary.Another pair of gun hands were aligned with the loser but they are bypassed and go to work for the winner. There is a third man who has little to do with the struggle but he is liked by everyone but the winners. Now the Indians intervene, homes are burned, the cavalry rides to the rescue, the gun slingers join with the third man. The climax occurs, the former winner is killed with Cole and Hitch left at loose ends so they can deploy, leave town and resume their search for Cole's missing girl friend. As I said a typical western enlivened by Parker's deft plotting and terse commenting, even if used by the characters, not the writer.Parker wrote an interesting western.

1-0 out of 5 stars Hitch and Cole Make One Last Stand
Robert B. Parker's RESOULTION is a fun modern read. As a western, the eminent Mr. Parker did not phantom the genre. Spencer and Hawk are Spencer and Hawk no matter what century and guise they assume.
The standard Parker rapid fire short dialogue in laden with modern usage of words that do not sustain the story line.
Nash Black, author of QUALIFYING LAPS.

3-0 out of 5 stars Liked It
Enjoyed it. Parker has a crisp writing style that does not waste words yet manages to convey the whole picture.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast ejoyable read
While I don't usually read westerns, I did enjoy the film Appaloosa which prompted me to read the next book in the series. Yes the story line is pretty basic and it would be nice to have one female character who wasn't a whore but...I liked that this book was 95% dialogue. I was able to bring my own visuals and characterizations to it based on seeing the film. If I hadn't seen Appaloosa, I don't know if I would have enjoyed the book as much. I will read the next one in the series 'cause I want to see what happens with Allie.

5-0 out of 5 stars resolution
This was a great book and easy to read.It's a different style of writting than the Lonsome Dove books but the charactors are unforgettable. ... Read more

20. Small Vices (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (1998-03-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425162486
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Ellis Alves is no angel. But his lawyer says he was framed for the murder of college student Melissa Henderson...and asks Spenser for help.

From Boston's back streets to Manhattan's elite, Spenser and Hawk search for suspects, including Melissa's rich-kid, tennis-star boyfriend.But when a man with a .22 puts Spenser in a coma, the hope for justice may die with him...

* A New York Times bestseller
* Fantastic reviews from The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Chicago Tribune, and many more
* A Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection
* Parker's newest hardcover, Night Passages, will be on sale from G.P. Putnam's Sons September 22nd.Amazon.com Review
While the rest of us grow older, Spenser seems suspended in perpetual early middle age. Oh, he talks about getting older, but his body is still firm, his muscles toned, and his reflexes are still hair-trigger fine. Even so, it is Spenser's body that betrays him when he is almost killed by an assassin's bullet two-thirds of the way through Robert B. Parker's latest Spenser adventure, Small Vices. Hired to discover the truth behind a doubtful murder conviction, Spenser soon runs afoul of"the Gray Man," who eventually shoots and partially paralyzes him. Spenser, his stalwart girlfriend Susan, and his almost mythical friend Hawk then hole up in Santa Barbara until the detective can get back on his feet again.

There's never any doubt that Spenser will get back on his feet, or that he will eventually track down the man who shot him and solve the mystery that started the whole ball rolling in the first place. What makes the Spenser mysteries interesting is Spenser himself, the thinking person's private eye, a man of honor and of conscience who understands that every action has consequences. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars An old and supposedly solved case nearly gets Spenser killed
Spenser is back, this time he is investigating a murder where a man has already been convicted and sentenced for the crime. His semi-flame Rita Fiore is no longer a prosecutor; she is now in a powerful law firm. However, one case from her past disturbs her, a black man with a long record named Ellis Alves was convicted of murdering a white college female and there were two witnesses to him dumping the body. However, Rita is disturbed by the case and wants to hire Spenser to determine if Alves was in fact the murderer.
Spenser agrees to take the case and proceeds in his usual way, asking people questions until they get annoyed. At first, he has absolutely nothing to go on but when four large men come to his office in an attempt to intimidate him, he realizes that there is something large and ugly hidden somewhere in the case. This leads Spenser into a direct confrontation with a killer that is so efficient that he would be considered too much for Vinnie Morris to handle. Spenser is extremely lucky, if being shot several times and put in a coma can be thought of as lucky. Spenser battles back and prepares himself for a second confrontation with the killer and through that, he is able to determine who killed the girl and why there has been so much resistance to his exploring an old case.
This story is Spenser once again at his best, supported strongly by his friends; everyone pitches in to help, including some old adversaries. The dialog and action is crisp, Spenser is flirtatious with women, but only to a point and through it all he remains a white knight with standards that give him a rudder, but may get him killed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spenser Rocks!
Robert B. Parker hit a homerun when he created Spenser. That's Spenser with an S like the poet. Parker hit a grand slam with this novel Small Vices.

If you were ever a fan of Spenser for Hire on television in the 80's You need to pick up a Spenser novel. Take your pick there are over 30 of them out there.

Parker's Spenser is a wise cracking former boxer, former police officer turned private eye. His sarcastic sense of humor willkeep you laughing and the hard pounding action will keep you reading/listening until the very end.

In Small Vices Spenser goes up against corrupt high society and a hired man in Gray hell bent on killing him. Along with Hawk,Susan Silverman, and a cast of others. Spenser finds himself in the fight of his life. The book covers areas in all our lives with racial humor, morality, integrety, and a quest for justice.

1-0 out of 5 stars Burt Reynolds ruined this book for me
I have listened to the Spenser CDs with Joe Montegna and couldn't get past listening to chapter 4 with Burt Reynolds. His monotonous voice made much of the text incomprehendible. Read the book and skip the audio book for this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thomas Fitzsimmons author of City of Fire loved this book.
City of Fire
I've read all of Parker's books and this one is a standout. It grabbed me on the first page and I read it in one day.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor choice of reader mars one of the best Parker novels
This is a review of the audio book - not the novel.Prior to listening to this version of the novel I had heard 10 other "Spenser" novels on CD.Then I bought two new CDs: one in which Wm. Windom is the reader and this one, in which Burt Reynolds is the reader.The previous 10 had been read by Joe Mantegna.

Now I don't know how others feel, but when I discover a new author who has created great characters I like to spend time with those characters.I read the books over and over.The best ones I never tire of.I love the physical settings, the relationships between the characters and many other attributes of the story.Hearing the story read adds another dimension and, particularly in the Parker novels, which are filled with humor, I sometimes pick up added bits of humor because the pace of the story is slower than when I zip through it myself.This presupposes that there is nothing in the voice of the reader to distract from the story.Joe Mantegna's voice is neutral enough so that it doesn't intrude on the story itself.

The reader in this story, however has such a deep, gravelly voice that it is a constant distraction from the story. The reader also moves his voice up and down an octave range that forces me to continually adjust the volume.Either he drops his voice so that I can barely hear him or his audio is so loud that the volume has to be turned down.I did not really appreciate Mantegna's presentations until I listened to Windom and Reynolds.With both of them the medium is indeed the message. ... Read more

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