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Walking Shadow (Spenser Series #21)

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Overview

In a shabby waterfront town, an actor is shot dead onstage. Granted, the script left much to be desired. But there's more behind the scenes than an overzealous critic?and Spenser and Hawk are combing Port City's underworld to find it...

In a shabby waterfront town, an actor is shot dead onstage. As Spenser combs Port City's underworld for answers, he encounters an unpredictable cast of lovers, liars, killers and clowns--whose multiple motives constitute a master ...

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Walking Shadow (Spenser Series #21)

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Overview

In a shabby waterfront town, an actor is shot dead onstage. Granted, the script left much to be desired. But there's more behind the scenes than an overzealous critic—and Spenser and Hawk are combing Port City's underworld to find it...

In a shabby waterfront town, an actor is shot dead onstage. As Spenser combs Port City's underworld for answers, he encounters an unpredictable cast of lovers, liars, killers and clowns--whose multiple motives constitute a master class in distinguishing reality from illusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In fine form here, Parker's sardonic Boston PI Spenser, last seen in Paper Dolls , encounters danger, venality and plenty of comic material in this brisk tale spanning the worlds of experimental theater and illegal immigration. While he'd rather be at work renovating the old farmhouse that he and his lover, psychiatrist Susan, have bought in nearby Concord, Spenser agrees to find out who is following the Artistic Director of the Port City Theater Company, on whose board of directors Susan sits. The detective is utterly bored by a performance of the latest production in Port City, ``a town 50% Portuguese and 50% Chinese''--until one of the actors is fatally shot from the audience. The shooter gets away, leaving Spenser with murder to probe as well. After talking to one of the board members, Spenser is warned out of Port City by the woman's husband, an important member of a Boston tong. The threat prompts a call to his old pals Hawk and Vinnie, who, he notes, blend in to the theatrical scene ``like two coyotes at a poultry festival.'' As Spenser discovers that the influx of Chinese illegals into the area is being overlooked by the Port City Chief of Police, an actress in the company reports that she too is being followed. Another murder and a kidnapping occur before the mysteries are resolved and Spenser can get back to his sledgehammer. Although the detective lags in reaching a conclusion readers may have sussed out earlier, the expected pleasures of an adroit Spenser adventure are here in full supply. BOMC selection. (May)
Library Journal
The latest from the best-selling author of Paper Doll (Putnam, 1993) is a whodunit starring the redoubtable Spenser. According to the publicist, Parker breaks new ground with a truly ambitious plot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425147740
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Series: Spenser Series , #21
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 161,912
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

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:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Shadowclan MAP

    ------------------------------------MAP-----------------------------------Res 1:Map.
    Res 2:Main Camp.
    Res 3:High Rock.
    Res 4:Medicen Den.
    Res 5:Nursery.
    Res 6:Leader Den.
    Res 7:Deputy Den.
    Res 8:Warriors Den.
    Res 9:Apprentices Den.
    Res 10:Sunning Rocks.
    Res 11:Hidden Cave holding rare plants for Medicen Den.
    Res 12:Forest.
    Res 13:River.
    Res 14:Meadow.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Bios are at 'shadow clan' only res...

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  • Posted June 5, 2012

    Spenser Rocks

    I can never get enough Spenser

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2011

    This is a very good read. Spenser, Hawk and Vinnie together?!!

    Once again, Spenser must dispense justice the only way he knows; morally. Good reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2002

    A quick and easy read

    Although I read this book through, and it did not take me long, I was a bit disappointed, so much was promised as one crime lead to another. Stalking, murder and people smuggling being the three main ones. The solving of the crimes which took up to the last chapter seemed obvious, I think the clues were too generous. We know who the villains are early in the book and Walker does not surprise us at the end. Well perhaps just a little.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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