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Stardust (A Spenser Mystery) (The Spenser Series Book 17) Kindle Edition
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This is a bit more of a mystery than others in the series in that you don't discover the murderer's identity until the end, and this is good in adding a bit more suspense than usual.
Spenser's hired to protect a very obnoxius TV star, who's addicted to drugs, alcoholic, arrogant...listed alphabetically, I'd be naming several other character defects before we get to nympho, and that's just past the middle of the alphabet!!! On top of all this, she might be making up all these threats she's supposedly receiving. However, when her double is murdered, Spenser has to take the task of protecting her more seriously. He has a hang-up about protecting women since an unpleasant happening earlier in the series.
I had a suspicion around half way through as to who the murderer was...I won't tell you whether I was right or wrong. However, I believe the suspicion was deliberately & subtly planted by Parker, and if so, I admire him for the way he did it. Like I say, I'll let you find out whether this was deliberate foreshadowing for dramatic effect, or a red herring to distract you.
I do recommend this highly, but if you're not already a Spenser fan, read several earlier books including "The Savage Place" first in order to better appreciate this.
STARDUST is unique for several reasons. Hawk and Susan both feature prominently, and yet in some respects, especially for Hawk, his role in the story is relatively minor. And Susan was there, right from the opening scene, as the story starts out on a TV Show Set that Lily features in, and Susan is one of the technical directors for the company producing the show. So we don’t get to experience Spenser telling his lover the facts of the case, as she already knows them. And of course, this means we don't get to listen to her interpretation of said facts, or her interpretation of Spenser’s interpretation of said facts. But you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Old regulars and friends (and those not) of Spenser who work for the Boston Police Department show up, too, but only when the need arises (I am being subtle, here folks!). The standard interaction comes to the fore amongst the whole gang, and as the world knows by now, it all works on so many levels.
There is a death, and bound to be more, before the baddies are caught. And plenty of fights, and bravado, and humour, and hints of sex between our two star crossed lovers. Sound familiar to anyone? You betcha! And that is why I love STARDUST. It starts off nice and easy, a quiet, slow stroll in the (metaphorical) park, and turns into a mad chase for the killers later on.
Four stars for the quality of the story telling, the controlled pace and the excellent characterisation. And a bonus star for the originality of the plot.
And for the nice new kindle cover.
It is a very trying case for Spenser has to put up with Jill's erratic behavior, for some time there is no evidence that it is not Jill herself trying to gain even more sympathy and attention. There are times when Spenser is tempted to simply give up the job. However, when her stunt double is gunned down, he knows that the threat is real and he pursues it hard in the usual Spenser style.
This is also the book that introduces the characters of del Rio and Chollo, the successful Hispanic mobster and his ace gunman. They appear in later Spenser adventures. The ending is a solid closure as Spenser once again demonstrates that he is a thug with a heart, taking it upon himself to make Jill right again, at least to the extent that he can.
Parker is a master at spending the majority of the pages setting the stage for the revelatory scene(s) along with future books and he demonstrates that skill once again. Even the worst Spenser novels are well worth reading and this one is several levels above that.
A nice twist at the end as I have come to expect from Robert B Parker.
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