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Now and Then (Spenser Series #35)

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Overview

Spenser knows something’s amiss the moment Dennis Doherty walks into his office. The guy’s aggressive yet wary, in the way men frightened for their marriages always are. So when Doherty asks Spenser to investigate his wife Jordan’s abnormal behavior, Spenser agrees. A job’s a job, after all.

Not surprisingly, Spenser catches Jordan with another man, tells Dennis what he’s found out, and considers the case closed. But a couple of days later, ...
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Now and Then (Spenser Series #35)

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Overview

Spenser knows something’s amiss the moment Dennis Doherty walks into his office. The guy’s aggressive yet wary, in the way men frightened for their marriages always are. So when Doherty asks Spenser to investigate his wife Jordan’s abnormal behavior, Spenser agrees. A job’s a job, after all.

Not surprisingly, Spenser catches Jordan with another man, tells Dennis what he’s found out, and considers the case closed. But a couple of days later, all hell breaks loose, and three people are dead. This isn’t just a marital affair gone bad. Spenser is in the middle of hornet’s nest of trouble, and he has to get out of it without getting stung.

With Hawk watching his back and gun-for-hire Vinnie Morris providing extra cover, Spenser delves into a complicated and far-reaching operation: Jordan’s former lover Perry Alderson is the leader of a group that helps sponsor terrorists. The Boston P.I. will use all his connections–both above and below the law–to uncover the truth behind Alderson’s antigovernment organization. Alderson doesn’t like Spenser poking around his business, so he decides to get to him through Susan. But what Alderson doesn’t realize is that Spenser will do anything to keep Susan out of harm’s way; nothing will keep him from the woman he loves.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For Spenser, the job was another day at the office: a suspicious husband; a philandering wife; a hefty retainer. As often happens, the anxious spouse was right, but this assignment didn't end with separation or divorce; it ended with a triple homicide. And for Spenser, it didn't end at all. His routine snoop into adultery has aroused the ire of a terrorist sponsor who decides to wreak ghastly revenge by proxy. Love, honor, and intense suspense. One of Parker's best.
Publishers Weekly

When a client who suspects his wife is cheating on him is murdered in Parker's 35th snappy Spenser adventure (after Hundred-Dollar Baby), the Boston PI takes it personally, not only because the case resonates with Spenser's past history with love interest Susan, but also because, like Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, Spenser feels he can't let a client get murdered without doing something about it. The repartee is up to Parker's high standards, and the detection is hands on and straightforward, with Spenser carrying the load. Since Spenser's aides, including the stalwart Hawke, outclass the heavies, Spenser has time to deal with the mysterious other man, Perry Alderson, whose academic background appears as suspect as his dealings with various subversive groups. This briskly paced cat-and-mouse game offers Spenser fans exactly what they've come to expect from the reliable Parker-no-nonsense action and plenty of romantic give-and-take between Susan and Spenser, who even find the subject of marriage intruding once more. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Forbes Magazine
Robert B. Parker is that rarity--a prolific author whose books are consistently original, suspenseful and fascinating. His crackling dialogue is always fresh and smart-alecky. His sparse prose makes Hemingway seem like a windbag. You don't have to work to get into Parker's books. You're happily hooked before you know it. He published three mysteries in 2007 (G.P. Putnam's Sons). Spare Change ($24.95).Boston PI Sunny Randall is asked by her father and former cop, Phil, to help him investigate what appears to be the return of a serial killer who leaves three coins next to each of his head-shot victims. Now, after a 30-year hiatus, the killer is back at his grim business. Phil headed--unsuccessfully--the original investigations of these killings and is now back to assist police in tracking down the killer. After interviewing a number of people rounded up because they were in proximity to a recent killing, Sunny thinks she's found the villain. But how to get the proof? Hunches are not enough. Sunny takes a high-risk approach, going out to dinner with the suspect, who seems to take perverse pleasure in being investigated.

The case becomes even more dangerous and urgent when the killer starts choosing victims who resemble Sunny. The suspense is periodically punctuated by many of the characters' various--and usually messy--personal relationships, including Sunny's ex-husband, who comes from a mob family. High Profile ($24.95). The hero in this tale is Jesse Stone, the alcohol-challenged police chief of a small town called Paradise. Stone's battle with the bottle forced him out of the Los Angeles Police Department. A controversial libertarian talk-radio host, Walton Weeks, is found shot andhanging from a tree in Paradise. Shortly thereafter another body turns up in a Dumpster--that of a young woman who had worked for Weeks and was pregnant with his child. Amazingly, Weeks' former wives and current wife seem oddly detached. But Weeks' notoriety has Stone coping with a deluge of media, as well as a publicity-hungry state governor. As in Spare Change, the characters here all have less-than-perfect personal lives. Stone, for instance, is still obsessed with his ex-wife, even though she is what was once called a "loose woman." Despite these and other personal sideshows, the story proceeds absorbingly and briskly.

Now & Then ($25.95). Parker's third home-run novel involves his original hero-character, Spenser (whose first name is still a mystery). A routine case of an aggrieved husband wanting to find out for sure if his attractive wife has been unfaithful veers into several murders involving a gang of terrorists. Spenser's longtime squeeze, Susan Silverman, a both-feet-on-the-ground shrink, finds herself in mortal danger as she treats a suspected killer who prides himself on being able to seduce any woman he desires. You'll remain oblivious to the rest of the world as you race through Parker's latest mesmerizing masterpiece. (7 Jan 2008)
—Steve Forbes

Library Journal

After several disappointing entries in the series, Parker returns to form with his 35th Spenser mystery. The Boston private eye is hired by a suspicious husband, an FBI agent, to find out whether his English-professor wife is unfaithful. When the husband is murdered, Spenser must uncover the real identity of the wife's lover, an outspoken yet mysterious opponent of the American government. Spenser's search for the truth involves some old-fashioned gumshoe work reminiscent of that of the heroes of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald novels. The too-cute banter between Spenser and his associate Hawke is kept to a minimum, while the detective's relationship with longtime girlfriend Susan Silverman receives more attention than usual, with Parker seeming to respond to criticism of his recent books. As always, Joe Mantegna's reading is outstanding; he handles the quips, the violence, and the tender moments equally well. Recommended for popular collections.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr.

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Spenser, who's become increasingly inclined to retrospection (Hundred-Dollar Baby, 2006, etc.), uses a brush with domestic terrorists to settle a 20-year-old score with Susan Richman. Whatever is bothering his wife, FBI agent Dennis Doherty is certain it isn't sex. And he's right. Professor Jordan Richmond isn't a bit bothered by the frequent sex she's having with visiting professor Perry Alderson-at least not until Spenser gets her and Alderson on tape and plays a strategically edited version of it for her husband. In short order, the cheating wife is dead and the husband is dead, and the hit man who shot the wife is dead at the hands of the colleague Spenser had assigned to tail her. And that's not the worst of it. Doherty dies without learning that the part of the tape he didn't hear revealed that his wife's pillow talk included classified information about his job, and that her lover is an agitator whose organization, Last Hope, aims to hook violent protesters up with materiel. The Boston FBI wants to know how deeply compromised the Bureau has been by Jordan's affair. But Spenser, focused on taking down Alderson himself to resolve his feelings about Susan's long-ago infidelity, hijacks the red-hot political plot down Memory Lane. Parker never reveals Last Hope's nefarious plans. Even so, the first half, before the manly stuff sends the tale up a blind alley, is something special.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399154416
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/23/2007
  • Series: Spenser Series , #35
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker is the author of more than fifty books. He lives in Boston.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Ever!!!!!!!!!!

    Now and Then was about a man that happened to be an FBI agent, who goes to Spencer (who is a private investigator) to spy on his wife to see if she is cheating on him. The thrill in this book is amazing. It is a fast read and I love this book. I never read so it means a lot if I fall in love with a book. I have also read The Boxer and The Spy. It is also an amazing book. Now and Then is so amazing that everyone should read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Spenser sympathizes with a federal agent whose wife was unfaithful to him with an egocentric radical. Intriguing investigation and violence ensues.

    As usual, when reading Spenser novels aloud, one must skip over many of the "he/she said" phrases. Parker doesn't even bother to change the verb from "said" to "asked" in the case of questions, much less use any kind of synonyms or Swifty adverbs, but between the quotation marks is some very witty repartee.

    Anyway, the interactions of Spenser with Hawk, Susan, various law enforcement types, and underworld characters provides a familiar escapist environment in which moral principles are individualistic and unfettered by absolutes or by law.

    I read these books as much for the humor, which is also indiosyncratic, as the plot. Part of the humor is based on the peculiar world Parker has created and is inexplicable otherwise.

    Spenser is drawn as a one-of-a-kind character that we wish we were, but the other characters are more interesting as literary devices than as people. In fact, they are not really people at all, which is where the escapism fits in. Why live in the real world where one must obey real moral and institutional laws and deal with complex but mundane human beings when you can pretend to be above and beyond all that?

    This book includes appearances by Susan, Pearl, Hawk, Vinnie, Chollo, and Epstein. If you don't know who those characters are, start by reading earlier Spenser novels. This plot is not exceptional but adequately mysterious and very satisfying in the Parker tradition.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    Cool Dude Spenser

    This was my first "Spenser" Series book and was really a great read! Loved the "Spenser" character and his style of writing. Cover was attractive and one of the main reasons for my purchase. Was not disappointed and will buy more of the "Spenser" series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Easy read

    This was a good [easy read] story with an uncomplicated plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2008

    Now and Then

    The book is about a guy who is a detective. A FBI agent asks him to watch his wife too see if she is messing around with another man. Well he finds out that she is and tells the husband that she is and then the wife gets shot. Then the husband gets pushed into the lake and gets killed. then the detective tries to find out weho kills them. <BR/><BR/>I liked this book a lot. I recommend this book to a person who likes mysteries. This book kept me waiting on whats about to happen next. I thought that the book had great dialog and was easy to read. <BR/><BR/>What i didn't like about the book is that it was to wordy, but other then that i liked the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2008

    Sparse on words and plot

    I have every one of Parker's books. Loved every one of them. The earlier ones, I plan to re-read. I understand that he has 6 waiting at the publishers. The print lines are getting spaced farther and farther apart to make the book look thick. They are more like short stories. Maybe he should take more time in his writing and stop producing like a hack.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2007

    Avid Parker Reader

    A fast read, but disappointing story and plot, if there was one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    I liied I liked the book

    I read this book a long time on hard cover Shelleyma

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    Great read!

    This book kept my attention from beginning to end; not a doll moment through the story. It's my first book by this author and i'm certainly going to look into more from this very long series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Not one of his best

    This book started out great,but eventually I started skipping pages to see if the plot would thicken.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    Worst Spencer ever.

    Don't waste your time. They just keep getting worse. Maybe time to retire this character?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2007

    Bummed Parker Fan

    What a disappointment. This seemed like a mere outline for a story. Every Spenser character is here, but with not a lot to do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    First time Parker reader and I plodded thru this after a super cool beginning...what a disapppointment!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    This certainly was not Robert Parker at his best. The worst Spenser novel ever.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Spenser tale

    Every once in a while a case comes along that affects Spenser profoundly and Dennis Doherty¿s need to find out the truth is one of them. Dennis¿s wife is acting very strange, staying out late and acting distant. He doesn¿t want to believe his wife is cheating on him but he needs to know the truth Spenser finds it in the form of a tape he make of the wife making love with another man Perry Alderson. --- Spenser doesn¿t feel the usually closure that comes with the end of a case so he has a friend of his follow Dennis¿s wife Jordan. She is shot by while walking Spenser¿s friend kills him. Not too much later Dennis¿s body is found in the water, the victim of the same killer. The lover of Dennis¿s wife, who has ties to terrorists is probably the person who ordered the hit and Spenser wants him to pay for those crimes. Making sure that Susan is protected at all times Spenser blackmails Perry with the unedited tape that would bring the FBI on him. Tracing Perry¿s background, he discovers things about the man that would earn him a lethal injection and he intends to gather enough proof for a successful prosecution. --- All the Robert B. Parker trademarks are present in the latest Spenser tale including male bonding of a humorous sort, with teasing repartee and the use of dry wit to score points off one another. There is plenty of action and fun yet for the first time in a long time, Mr. Parker shows how deep the relationship between Susan and Spenser really is and how bottomless their love goes. Spenser shows a vulnerable side to his personality that endears him further to his fans. NOW & THEN is a great entry in this long running saga. --- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted May 16, 2013

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    Posted October 24, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted January 30, 2010

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