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.
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
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)
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.
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.