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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2004
The latest Spenser is more of the same, except that the older he gets then the more comfortable he gets, and correspondingly less dangerous and less exciting. Even Hawk, and this is heresy I know, even Hawk comes over as ever-so-slightly loveable, friendly and tolerant.
The plot is ok, if a bit intricate, and at times it's difficult to remember exactly who all the characters are. Having worked out who they all are, it becomes increasingly difficult to care a great deal.
Having said this, we're still talking "Spenser", and it's still Robert B Parker. So the result is still far superior to most of the competition. Spenser fans like me will read and enjoy. New readers would be better advised to start with the earlier stories.
Finally, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this, I get the feeling that we're not far away from the time when Spenser and Jesse Stone (of the "other" Parker series) get to meet in print. They are referred to by mutual acquaintances more and more in their books.
Now, that will be one to savour.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2004
This book is not one of the author's best, but if you like Spenser novels, give it a go. I think the problem I had with it was that I found it difficult to care about any of the people who Spenser was trying to help. However, the interaction between Susan and Spenser was as good as ever and I liked Hawk's role in things. I gave this book 4 stars but I don't regret buying this book in hardback rather than waiting for the paperback which I think says a lot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Once again, Robert B. Parker has come up trumps with this story.
I haveread every Parker novel and I must say that this one is not one of hisbest. The plot is too complicated and, at times one does wonder about thevarious characters involved in the plot. Who is sleeping with whom andwhich one of the less likeable people in the story is the killer begin tomatter less and less as the story progresses.
Parker, however is a master of characterisation and dialogue. The maincharacters in each of the Spenser series surface again like old friends. Inever tire of Hawk, Susan, Quirk and Belson but most of all Spenser is atower of manly strength. When all others would have given up and gone homeSpenser is still there putting the World to rights. The dialogue in thisstory crackles, the wit and speed of it is dazzling and I found myselfchuckling just as I have over the last ten years or so reading the Spensernovels.
I can forgive Mr. Parker the imperfections in the storybecause, if it came down to a simple choice of reading matter I wouldchoose his books any day of the week. In fact I beat my own record andfinished this latest story in 48 otherwise busy hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Robert Parker's remarkable characters, stunning dialogue and his quixotic focus on seeking the impossible dream are present in all of the Spenser books. In recent years, the plots have been getting thinner and thinner, however . . . and even the repartee seems mostly for show rather than to build naturally on a great story. But in Bad Business, the original Parker genius reappears for a time. As in the best of the early books in the series, Bad Business has a fascinating and often surprising plot involving the twin sins of adultery and greed.
The opening of the book has some of the best plot development I have ever read, filled with clever misdirection that plays on our assumptions from having read too many boiler-plate mystery novels.
In fact, if the book had concluded after 125 pages, I would have described this as one of the very best Spenser novels.
Unfortunately, the book bogs down in solving the mystery. Although the slow pace was probably intended to maintain an intriguing suspense, the pace just seems to drag instead to an inevitable conclusion. I think the mistake was to base part of the plot a little too closely to a recent corporate collapse. That connection telegraphed part of the ending too soon.
I won't attempt to describe the situation of the book, for I will risk spoiling the book for you. Instead, let me advise you to read carefully and keep an open mind as you do.
As I finished this book, I realized that part of the appeal of popular novels is that they take us places where we would never go on our own. When done well, they pique and satisfy our curiosity in harmless ways. I look forward to taking future such excursions with Mr. Parker and Spenser in the future.
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on 9 April 2015
The Spenser novels of Robert Parker are characterized by witty, sarcastic dialog between the characters. Even when the plot line is weak, the way they speak to each other always delivers a high level of entertainment. In this story, Marlene Crowley hires Spenser to follow her husband to determine if he is cheating on her. His name is Trent Crowley and he is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Kinergy, one of the most dynamic companies around. It is an energy trading company and rose from very small beginnings to an apparent powerhouse. Robert Cooper, the CEO of Kinergy and an expert glad-hander, has designs on a run for the U. S. Senate, so he wants to keep his image as clean as possible.
When Trent Crowley is murdered on the Kinergy premises, things change. Furthermore, Spenser finds a veritable daisy chain of wife swapping and private detectives following husbands and wives. As usual, Spenser makes enemies, one of which is Gavin, the chief of security at Kinergy. When Gavin is killed, there seems to be no reason for the murders. However, Spenser eventually determines the identity of the murderers, amid the additional discovery that Kinergy is a house of cards. The higher executives have been gradually selling off their stock in anticipation that it will quickly become nearly worthless. The ending is not a great dramatic one, as there is no shootout, just Spenser punching a man.
This story is taken directly from the events surrounding the collapse of Enron, with the exception of the internal mate-swapping and the murders, you could replace Kinergy with Enron and most of the story would be factual. I don't consider it one of Parker's best Spenser novels, but once again the quality of the dialog makes it very entertaining. Hawk and Vinnie Morris appear, but are not heavily involved, which is a disappointment. In my opinion, the conversations between Spenser and Hawk are the best dialog in the Spenser series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 September 2005
As effortlessly witty and beguiling as we've come to expect from Parker's Spenser novels. All this plus a cleverly wrought mystery, but really it's all about the character interplay and witty bon mots. Parker just oozes class, and displays the kind of skill his many imitators can only dream about.
Not to be missed.
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on 25 December 2012
This was my first Spenser novel and it was excellent. The dialogue is crisp, the characters laconic, and there is no wasted motion. Spenser is an interesting character, defying current stereotype detectives who seem to be predominantly angst-ridden. Spenser is a full-on hero with no bad traits and top level skills. Big, tough, wise, sensitive, literary, intelligent, you name it and our boy's got it. Robert Parker makes no apology for his hero. He also avoids the preoccupation of other detective writers who insist on maximum gore and the inevitable diabolically clever serial killer. The Spenser stories are a bit gentler and more realistic (except that Spenser seems to be able to shoot people fairly frequently without the cops being too bothered about it). These are very enjoyable reads and highly recommended.
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on 18 August 2014
A very good thriller in the Spencer and Hawk series with an unusual plot and not too much of the Hawk, Spencer, Susan jargon dialogs so the conclusion is really interesting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Robert Parker's remarkable characters, stunning dialogue and his quixotic focus on seeking the impossible dream are present in all of the Spenser books. In recent years, the plots have been getting thinner and thinner, however . . . and even the repartee seems mostly for show rather than to build naturally on a great story. But in Bad Business, the original Parker genius reappears for a time. As in the best of the early books in the series, Bad Business has a fascinating and often surprising plot involving the twin sins of adultery and greed.
The opening of the book has some of the best plot development I have ever read, filled with clever misdirection that plays on our assumptions from having read too many boiler-plate mystery novels.
In fact, if the book had concluded after 125 pages, I would have described this as one of the very best Spenser novels.
Unfortunately, the book bogs down in solving the mystery. Although the slow pace was probably intended to maintain an intriguing suspense, the pace just seems to drag instead to an inevitable conclusion. I think the mistake was to base part of the plot a little too closely to a recent corporate collapse. That connection telegraphed part of the ending too soon.
I won't attempt to describe the situation of the book, for I will risk spoiling the book for you. Instead, let me advise you to read carefully and keep an open mind as you do.
As I finished this book, I realized that part of the appeal of popular novels is that they take us places where we would never go on our own. When done well, they pique and satisfy our curiosity in harmless ways. I look forward to taking future such excursions with Mr. Parker and Spenser in the future.
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on 29 July 2013
Have been a fan of Robert B Parker and the Spenser novels for many years, am glad they are now on kindle. Well worth the read.
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