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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hawk Takes The Lead, 26 Mar 2003
By 
Peter Kenney (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Valediction (Spenser) (Mass Market Paperback)
VALEDICTION is another Spenser and Hawk story set in Boston with much of it concentrated in the Back Bay section. It was written during a period when Spenser was heavily involved with Susan Silverman and, in this book, distracted by her absence. Spenser seems to stagger through the story while Hawk is always there to save him. Hawk is mentally and physically one step ahead of Spenser on this case. Judged as a whole, I found this to be one of Parker's best novels.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser out on his own in a Bostonian High Noon, 3 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Valediction (Spenser) (Mass Market Paperback)
A crisp and elegant episode in the Spenser series with the wise weight-heaving gumshoe up against private despair, a crooked construction company, and a suspicious religious sect led by a Stewart Granger clone. Action highlight is a tense showdown on rain-lashed industrial wasteland between Spensr, low on bullets and in spirits, and five heavily armed thugs out for his blood. His longstanding lady-love meanwhile is elsewhere, dallying with another man, and occasionally phoning our hero up to salt his psychlogical wounds with some of her typical psychiatric simpering. Spenser wants her back, readers just want to see the back of her, but the awful self-questioning Susan is the only weak link in this fine thriller series, coasting along on careful wit and coolly-depicted violence. "Valediction" even throws in a little plot tweak towards the end, not so common in Parker, and a nice surprise.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Susan Leaves Spenser..., 18 July 2004
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Valediction (Spenser) (Mass Market Paperback)
As soon as I read the stanza from John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" telling us how "lover's love cannot admit absence, beaus it doth remove those things which elemented it," I knew our hero was in trouble. "Valediction," the eleventh of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, begins with a primal shocker as Susan Silverman receives her doctorate from Harvard and then announces she has taken a job in California, she will call but not give him her address, and walks out of our hero's life. As you can imagine, the impact on Spenser is profound, and while Paul Giacomin and Hawk are there for support, there is apparently little they can do. How profound an impact? Well, throughout the book Spenser drinks Irish whiskey instead of beer and the only thing I remember him making in the kitchen is a salad. Paul is there for dialectical engagements, but Spenser just sinks deeper into the abyss. But you know that a case is going to present itself which will seek to snap him out of it and that this case will provide a not too subtle counterpoint to Susan's abandonment.
Not surprisingly the case comes from Paul. His dance instructor claims that his girlfriend was kidnapped by the "Bullies," a fanatic religious sect. Spenser does not care about Tommy Banks or Sherry Spellman (that will come later), but he takes the case for Paul's sake. Even though he is barely going through the motions he will find out where Sherry is staying and will take more than a passing interest in the rather odd practices of the Reorganized Church of the Redemption. The problem is that our hero is nowhere near being at the top of his game and for once he is more than a step behind for most of the game with very costly results. Meanwhile things continue to go from bad to worse with Susan, and when Spenser connects with Linda, the woman he has been waving at across the street from his office window for several months, he is pretty much going through the motions there as well. Still, Spenser going through the motions is still above average, whether we are talking detective skills or affairs of the heart.
In retrospect we can see the groundwork laid for this cataclysmic split in the previous novels, but the foreshadowing was subtle enough that Susan's sudden actions sure come as a shock. But the hallmarks of this series, in addition to Spenser's caustic wit and pugilistic skills, have always been our hero's introspective and progressive character set against plots that over something different each time around, which does necessitate to my mind reading the books in order. "Valediction" is far and away the most painful Spenser novel and it certainly speaks to the very real possibility that worst things can happen down the road if that was not already clear to us. What this really underscores is that Parker is successfully fighting against the forces that compel many writers to repeat their best work, mainly because there is a history to this character and his relationships with the people in his life without slipping into the demeaning level of being a soap opera. That does not mean that Spenser is played on the operatic level, but it is certainly pointed in the right direction
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5.0 out of 5 stars Soft boiled, 19 July 2014
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It is years since I read Spenser so I've started re-reading them in order on Kindle. This is far and away the best in the series so far. Susan has left Spenser for a job and a new man in San Francisco and he's feeling the pain, so to distract him Paul suggests he helps his employer find his missing girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a cult. The parallels between the two men's reactions is interesting and reveals more about Spenser's character. I also like the emotional support he gets from his friends and acquaintances as it seems so out of place in their macho world. Hawk has a more prominent role in this book as Spenser's support - both mentally and physically - and it is good to see their "bromance" develop. I found this a very powerful book emotionally but as always it is leavened by wit and humour making it an round great read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking good read, 6 Mar 2014
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This book hold your attention from start to finish, I have enjoyed reading this author and will certainly read more of his books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars soppy hero, 28 Jan 2014
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Spenser is a big softy. His self deprecating charm makes him almost believable and secondary characters are rich and enjoyable to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars spenser, 11 Nov 2013
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always enjoy Spenser books have read nearly all of them and am now re-reading them wish there were some more
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5.0 out of 5 stars never wanted to finish this book, 9 Oct 2013
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Ardent fan of Robert B Parker and have been for sometime. I am now working my way through his books but in some way don't want to read the last one as sadly this prolific author passed away. Great loss in the literary world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valediction, 19 Aug 2013
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One of the oldies from Robert B. Parker. It is more intense than later ones and is what built up the Spenser personality for the public.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A different Spenser, 14 Dec 2012
By 
Mark West (Kettering, Northants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Valediction (Spenser) (Mass Market Paperback)
As the book opens, Susan graduates from Harvard and leaves immediately for San Francisco. Bereft, Spenser helps the dance teacher of Paul Giacomin, whose girlfriend has been abducted by the Reorganised Church Of The Redemption, overseen by Reverend Winston Bullard. Once he starts digging though, Spenser discovers all is not as it seems, either in the Church (or its links to the drugs trade) or his life. This presents a different Spenser from the one the reader expects (and a long way removed from the tougher character who appeared in "The Godwulf Manuscript") - he mopes after Susan, frustrated at a situation he can't control but willing to let her shape his outcome, he's depressed and almost suicidal at times and he's drinking heavily. What it means for the reader, however, is that the roll call of supporting characters is varied and has plenty to do - from Hawk and Paul, to Quirk and Belsen - making for a much richer story. Spenser also gets to not only finally talk to the `brunette art director across the street' (Linda Thomas, who's had cameo roles in the last few books) but he dates her too, to the extent that they fall in love. She gets a raw deal out of it though because as soon as Susan snaps her fingers, Spenser goes running. Filled with some great set pieces - the best of which has Spenser taking on hired goons in some wasteland off the freeway - and a surprise shooting, this is a cracking story, told with pace and wit that works well. My one drawback is that this appears to mark the onset of the white space issue - there are 48 chapters spread over 203 pages, leaving a lot of pages at least half empty - which is what pushed me away from the series in the first place. All that aside, this is well worth a read and highly recommended.
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Valediction (Spenser)
Valediction (Spenser) by Robert B. Parker (Mass Market Paperback - 31 Dec 1989)
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