Bad Business (Spenser Series #31)by Robert B. Parker, Joe Mantegna
When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and… See more details below
When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and corporate corruption.
It seems the folks in the Cowleys' circle have become enamored of radio talk show host Darrin O'Mara, whose views on Courtly Love are clouding some already fuzzy minds with the notion of cross-connubial relationships. O'Mara's brand of sex therapy is unconventional at best, unlawfuland deadlyat worst. Then a murder at Kinergy, where Trent Cowley is CFO, sends Spenser in yet another direction. Apparently, the unfettered pursuit of profit has a price.
With razor sharp characterizations and finely honed prose, this is Parker at the height of his powers.
Read an Excerpt
Do you do divorce work?" the woman said.
"I do," I said.
"Are you any good?"
"I am," I said.
"I don't want likelihood," she said. "Or guesswork. I need evidence that will stand up in court."
"That's not up to me," I said. "That's up to the evidence."
She sat quietly in my client chair and thought about that.
"You're telling me you won't manufacture it," she said.
"Yes," I said.
"You won't have to," she said. "The sonovabitch can't keep his dick in his pants for a full day."
"Must make dining out a little awkward," I said.
She ignored me. I was used to it. Mostly I amused myself.
"I always have trouble convincing people that any man would cheat on a woman like me. I mean, look at me."
"Unbelievable," I said.
"My attorneys tell me you are too expensive," she said. "But that you are probably worth it."
"The same could be remarked of Susan Silverman."
"Who the hell is Susan Silverman?" she said.
"Girl of my dreams."
She frowned again. Then she said, "Oh, I see. You're being cute."
"It's my nature," I said.
"Well, it's not mine," she said. "Do you want the job?"
"My attorneys will want a strict accounting of what you spend," she said.
"I'll bet they will," I said.
She was good-looking in kind of an old-fashioned way. Sort of womanly. Before personal trainers, and StairMasters. Like the women in Life Magazine when we were all much younger. Like she would look good in a small-waisted white polka-dot dress, and a huge straw hat with a white polka-dot band. In fact, of course, she was wearing a beige pantsuit and big pearls. Her reddish blond hair was long and thoroughly sprayed, and framed her face like the halo in a mediaeval religious painting. Her mouth was kind of thin and her eyes were small. I imagined cheating on her.
"I'm represented by Frampton and Keyes," she said. "Do you know the firm?"
"You'll do all further business through them. The managing partner is Randy Frampton."
"Why didn't you let them hire me," I said.
"I don't let other people make judgments for me. I wanted to look you in the eye."
"Do you have pictures of your husband?" I said. "Names of suspected paramours? Addresses? That sort of thing?"
"You can get all that from Randy."
"And a retainer?"
"Randy will take care of that as well."
"Good for Randy," I said. "Will he tell me your name, too?"
"I'd rather keep that confidential for now," she said. "This is a very sensitive situation."
"Ma'am," I said. "How long do you think it will take me to find out your name once I know who your husband is?"
"I . . ."
I smiled my sunny good-natured smile at her. I could melt polar ice caps with my sunny good-natured smile. She was no match for it.
"Marlene," she said. "Marlene Rowley. My husband is Trenton Rowley."
"How do you do," I said. "My name is Spenser."
"Of course I know your name," she said. "How do you think I got here?"
"I thought you looked up handsome in the phone book," I said. "And my picture was there."
She smiled for the first time that morning.
"Well," she said. "Maybe you are a little bit handsome in a rough sort of way."
"Tough," I said. "But sensitive."
"Perhaps," she said. "Will you speak with Randy?"
"Right away," I said.
--from Bad Business by Robert B. Parker, copyright © 2004 Robert B. Parker, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Meet the Author
ROBERT B. PARKER is the author of more than forty books. He lives in Boston.
- Date of Birth:
- September 17, 1932
- Date of Death:
- January 18, 2010
- Place of Birth:
- Springfield, Massachusetts
- Place of Death:
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I read this in two days, and I couldn't put it down. I love the way it is written in tiny chapters, and I find that it seems to mirror my own sort of writing style. It is probably one of my favorites and has you guessing until the very end. I was so fond of this book, that I have decided to try and read the whole series (36 books) in its entirety.
How does Parker do it? After thirty some Spenser's he still has the fresh dialogue and writing. He is always suspensful and has a few tricks up his sleeve. This is probably one of the best Spenser's, next to Chance.
Audio/Unabridged: I've seen Jesse Stone & Spenser for Hire on TV so I was interested when I saw this at the library sale. I really liked it. The plot and outcome were so-so, but the character development was wonderful. You get the whole dynamic of Spenser & Susan and Spenser & Hawk. Hawk, aka "Licorice Stick" is the best part. The relationship between the him and Spenser is enlightening and not condescending or politically correct like so many white writers. Parker hits the nail on the head with the banter between the two as two adults, one white and one black. It was very refreshing to hear that kind of friendship. Joe Mantegna does the narration, but I still picture Spencer as Robert Urich & Hawk as Avery Brooks from the old TV series. [I had just listened to another CD he read and I liked this one so much better]. Worth a listen.
Was a great read just like all the other Spenser novels in this series.
I really enjoyed reading this book considering I am very picky. I love sarcasm and there was plenty in this book. He combines humor and mystery together and makes it a good read. You see a little into the main character's personal life. You meet all his friends that are also in books you have already read and ones you are going to read. Plus he keeps you on the edge waiting to find out who murdered who. Definitly not a book for young kids under the highschool level because of the amount and choice of bad words. But other than that a vary good book.
I'm a fan of most of Parker's work ( not the female Spenser series, though ). This one was pretty boring. A few funny lines, but never really held my interest. At least the chapters were short so I didn't have to waste too much time reading it.
Like most Robert B. Parker fans, I love everything he writes, but prefer the Spencer novels,thus I was delighted that Bad Business featured private investigator, Spencer. Bad Business is an edge-of-the-seat unpredicable thrill. This one is a winner.
Nobody has EVER written like Parker -- his Spenser series are THE best and you have to read one to really know what the rest of us are saying! I agree that this one was a little disjointed and harder to follow but the characters are, as always, timely and wonderful to a Parker fan!! Nobody can write dialog like him -- there just is no comparison. Maybe not his greatest book but still great!
Robert Parker once again throws Spencer into the middle of another case with Hawk and Susan. Between the typical Parker dialogue and banter, Spenser is never at a loss for words (or trouble). And, The reader can find out if this is a case that private investigator Spenser actually gets paid for! This may not be one of Parkers best, but if you enjoy the Spenser series and see Parker for the 'Master' that he is, you won't be dispointed with 'Bad Business'
I received the book in the mail Tuesday about 11:00. Finished it before bedtime and it was a lot longer than Parker's usual offering. This one seemed a little disjointed to me but still enjoyable. I have read every Spenser novel. No one writes dialog like Parker. No one. Hawk is his usual self and I hope he never changes. I still think Susan is too good to be true; no body can exist just nibbling lettuce leaves, except maybe a rabbit.