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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He did it again!
Reading Robert B Parker is for me like eating potato chips or cotton candy. Insubstantial for the most part but I cannot stop. Once again, the silver-tongued Spenser dazzles his way through most of Massachusetts, unwinding a ball of twine which has Susans ex-husband in the middle. Susan, who has always seemed slightly above the rest of mortal women, actually shows some...
Published on 15 July 1998

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it's hard not to love Spenser
but I agree with everyone else... Please get rid of Susan's angst! It seemed to stymie, rather than clarify, Parker's plot in this one. And the way the plot has been strung together... I think he's produced better in earlier novels, hasn't he?
Still, we're so fond of Spenser (and not the Ulrich TV version, either! i listen to the Burt Reynolds audio books) that we...
Published on 9 Aug 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He did it again!, 15 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
Reading Robert B Parker is for me like eating potato chips or cotton candy. Insubstantial for the most part but I cannot stop. Once again, the silver-tongued Spenser dazzles his way through most of Massachusetts, unwinding a ball of twine which has Susans ex-husband in the middle. Susan, who has always seemed slightly above the rest of mortal women, actually shows some flakiness here. But she still doesnt eat or drink. I am looking forward to a novel which has Susan ingesting more than a teaspoon of anything. This one is a great (but way too quick) read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it's hard not to love Spenser, 9 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
but I agree with everyone else... Please get rid of Susan's angst! It seemed to stymie, rather than clarify, Parker's plot in this one. And the way the plot has been strung together... I think he's produced better in earlier novels, hasn't he?
Still, we're so fond of Spenser (and not the Ulrich TV version, either! i listen to the Burt Reynolds audio books) that we can excuse a lot, including lame dialogue and weak plotting. Sigh... such beautiful memories of earlier excursions, but I'm sure Spenser will rise again to fight the evils of the world and eat plenty of good oysters and merlot.And it's okay if Susan's there, too. I admire his devotion, but she might eventually annoy me if I ever read all 25 Spenser novels.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Another loaf of bread soaked with tasteless water, 20 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
It seems to me that Parker has lost the ways and means of continuing this series. Boring scenario, plotless plot, trying to be wisecracking but not funny at all dialogue with lot of short and single words such as "Umm," he said; "Yep," I said; "Maybe," I said; "Sure," he said; and lots of repeating of the upper line, such as "Even if we don't," ...I said, "Even if." It also seems to me that Parker is an loyal oyster lover since he made Spenser and Hawk eat lot of oysters in this novel(shall we call it a short story, since the plotting and the wordings of it are both short and non-exist?) Some one may still fail to pull himself out of the extremely pretentious short style of dialogue created by Parker, but in reality, this kind of short dialogue might mean termination of any kind of relationships in marriage and friendship, since the two persons involved in speaking could not find anything meaningful to say but only short and pretentious and repeative words. By using a charity gone sour and Susan's ex hubby in this poor and tasteless novel only implied that Parker has lost interest in trying to make the Spenser series more interesting or transcend himself in writing a new one better than the formers but just want to cash in by his fame. There were so many moment that Parker showed the readers that he himself could not find where to go with this book: Page 156, Chapter 27, I was sitting in my office...trying to find a pattern in the matter of...(writing this story?) Making Brad Sterling disappear at 2/3 of this book and then let him appear in the end for a quickie round-up; making Gavion cry in Page 248 and simply said, "I...loved...her." to save a lot of more complicated explanation which also made this encounter a most ridiculous fact: until Page 247, when Gavin asked Spenser, "So what went wrong?" "I don't know," I said. "Maybe...." It only means that until then, Parker still don't know how to final! ize this bored-to-death hollow story and "Yes, that bothers me too," I said to myself while holding this heavy hardcover like Spenser told Gavin in Page 247. Also, by using heavy, thick paper and loose lines printing to balloon this (should-be-120~150paged) book upto a total 288 pages thick book, wasting a lot of trees, is also a shameless trick by the publisher who just want to heighten the selling price not by quality but quantity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay. They can't all be knockouts., 10 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
Sometimes I wonder if those of us who read series (especially long-standing series like Spenser) have unrealistically high expectations for each new book. I think the truth of the matter is that some books will be great and some will be just okay, and maybe a few will genuinely suck (though not too many, we hope). After all, who has a great year every year? Some are good, some better than others. That's just real life. And Parker's series seems to do a good job of replicating this aspect in Spenser's life. Some years have huge crises and brushes with death; others not much happens.

This volume is one of the mid-level ones. It's okay, not bad, not great either. One aspect I think rather unrealistic is the idea that Spenser and Susan have been together for twenty years and have never talked about her past. In most dating relationships, this comes up in the first month. In some ways, perhaps this is Parker overcompensating for unduly neglecting this aspect of Susan's character in the past. He probably felt like he had to get it in sometime, and though it would have been more appropriate some ten or fifteen books ago, it's probably good that he got it in now.

Parker has said that he doesn't have a favorite Spenser book; he feels like all of them are just episodes in an ongoing series and they sort of blur together. And maybe in this way, Spenser really reflects life. So if this book wasn't a dazzler, that's okay. That's just life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is Susan an only child or the youngest of three?, 30 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
I love all of Parker's Spenser novels. However, lately he seems to forget the background he's given some of them. Susan is a good case in point. Many books ago(maybe A Catskill Eagle?) Susan tells Spenser she is the youngest of three. Now, amazingly, she was an only child. Which is it? Seems Parker is not interested enough in this character to be consistent. And enough of her whining already. She has become a stereotype. Hawk/Spenser dialogue is the best part of the novels. Not enough of that here. Still, looking forward to the next installment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser is a character who has aged as gracefully., 28 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
There are certain things that I look forward to each spring, and one of them is the next installment with Spenser. In Sudden Mischief, Parker has again woven a remarkable vision of an aging gumshoe. I am delighted with the fact that Spenser's vignettes are taken in real time. We visit with these characters a year after the events of Small Vices, which took place a year after the happenings of Chance, etc. Where I some chafe at the lack of action and shoot-em-up diversion with each successive book, I have enjoyed following a maturing hero and heroine who continue to learn about themselves and what it means to be in a committed relationship, given the parameters of their respective careers, pasts, families (or lack thereof) and friends. Parker is a proven master at creating dialogue that virtually sizzles and crackles on the page, and that alone is reason enough to devour each new installment. Whether it's lunch with the ever-yummy Rita Fiore, donuts with Hawk or a chance encounter with a blue-blooded attorney-turned-law-school professor, Spenser is a wizard at the snappy comeback and witty aside. I particularly admire Parker's confidence in allowing his character to be strong enough to not step in the middle of a fracas in order to accomplish even more in the process. Once again, as I came to the final page, I was saddened that there would be no more Spenser for another year. The anticipation already is beginning to build.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Spenser Fans, 28 Aug 1999
By A Customer
If you are a Spenser fan you'll like this book which builds out more of Susan's background than ever before - and it's a interesting background. The plot is not bad, but not great and the character of Susan's husband is a bit cheesy. However the dialouge is classic Parker and that's always top notch. I enjoyed the book but having read many a Spenser novel and having read Hush Money before hand I can definitely say there are better Spenser books to read first. Hush Money is excellent, and so is Walking Shadow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the recent average, 21 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
I'm not as pessimistic as "judge" above. Yes, Parker slipped badly in the early 90s - I was particularly annoyed by several short books with very wide margins. But this and the last entry ("Small Vices") were much improved. In both these books Spenser and Susan deal with substantive issues in their relationship: whether or not to adopt a child in the first, and Susan's silence about her past and her loyalty and committment to men not worthy of her in this one (Spenser, of course, both does and does not fit that category.) Where Parker is lacking is precisely those places that Judge identifies - Spenser's wonderful relationships with the supporting cast, and the excellent characterizations found there. I read these books as much for Hawk and Belson and Quirk, and the more of them the merrier. At least Rachel Wallace makes a cameo here. Another significant shortcoming is the waste of a truly worthy white-collar foe for Spenser, a visciously corrupt Brahmin lawyer/judge who meekly shows up at the end and writes a check.... Boo! You'd be hard pressed to beat the climaxes of both this book and Small Vices, though. I found them gripping and beliveable, and Spenser's restraint both times it quite impressive. Get it from the library, or wait for the paperback, however - I haven't bought Parker in hardcover since "A Catskill Eagle."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book bring out more of Susan's character, 20 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I liked this book a lot; putting me in the minority, apparently. It's interesting to see Susan as a more fallible person, less of a goody two shoes. The relationship between Spencer and Susan is interesting, deep and not your conventional boy-girl scene. Even though they are deeply in love, they don't have the traditional happy ending. Very much more realistic, actually, for many of us.
One thing I do agree on is that there should be more of Hawk. What a great character!
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Sudden Mischief" Is A Terrific Diversion With Old Friends, 24 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sudden Mischief (Hardcover)
Ok, there isn't as much action in "Sudden Mischief" as there is in some of the other Spenser novels. No matter. It has always been my contention that Robert B. Parker writes love stories that are disguised within the mystery genre. Think about it. What has always been paramount in his novels has been the relationships, especially those of Spenser to Hawk and Susan. And when the cases are most compelling, it means Spenser has taken a personal interest in his client: Paul Giacomin, say, or Rachel Wallace. In "Sudden Mischief," Spenser's client is Susan, as she asks him to help our her troubled ex-husband. There's no getting away from the fact that this is Susan at her neurotic best, but it also is Spenser at his compassionate best. The story also gives new colors (no pun intended) to his friendship with Hawk, and at the very least continues to paint Boston and environs in delightful new shades. If you can get through the early chapters without getting hunry for fried oysters, you're a better person than I. "Sudden Mischief" may not be a major work in the series, like "Early Autumn" or "Mortal Stakes." But it is a terrific diversion with characters who have become old friends, and who but a curmudgeon could complain about that?
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Sudden Mischief (A Spenser Novel)
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