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When "Thin Air" begins with the italicized description of a woman bound in the back of a van, abducted by someone who knows her and is videotaping everything, it is reminiscent of Robert B. Parker's "Crimson Joy," the first Spenser novel to get away from the first person narrative style of the series. When Detective Frank Belson shows up and tells our hero that his wife is gone, we know the identity of the woman in the van. As far as her husband is concerned, Lisa St. Claire has disappeared into "Thin Air" (Parker has been much more mundane with his titles in his recent efforts and it has been years since he started off with any grandiose literary quotations). Each Spenser novel is unique in its own way and for this one the main trick is that we know what has happened to the damsel in distress and we get to watch as our hero gets closer and closer. Belson does not know anything about his wife before the fateful night they met, and, of course, Spenser uncovers a whole lot of information. But what looks like the old story of the beautiful young wife who leaves her older husband is shattered when Belson is ambushed and almost killed.
Whereas the previous Spenser novel dealt with Chinatown, "Thin Air" focuses on the Hispanic elements in the greater Boston area, which forces Spenser to use the assistance of Chollo, the enforcer for the L.A. mobster we met in "Stardust" (Hawk is in Burma--the mind boggles). But while most of the usual supporting cast is not around for this one, Spenser certainly meets a couple of interesting women in the course of his investigation (although I find it strange that Quirk is not a lot more involved in this one). Once again Spenser tries to put all the pieces together and then find a way of making everybody happy, but as usual, things never do work out perfectly. While certainly an atypical Spenser novel, "Thin Air" probably grades out as an average effort for Parker
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on 5 May 2015
A good story in the series straightforward plot Spenser has to rescue kidnapped beautiful wife with a bad past. Spoiled by italic inserts describing victim's thoughts while Spenser does his stuff. The story would be better without them.
Spenser fans should buy this book but if you are not familiar with the saga don't start with this one.
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on 2 February 2014
the Spencer series has it all - strong funny never looses PI with even stronger enigmatic side kick and kooky girlfriend - other players run to form - unusual and entertaining! very easy but enjoyable reads
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on 23 April 2014
When the wife of a popular Boston cop disappears, nobody knows if she left town from choice. No note has been found, and the situation has left said cop in the quintessential quarry as he has no idea why she left, what he did wrong, or if she even intends to come back. The more time passes, the more suspicious the case gets and sooner rather than later, our man Spenser will join the hunt. With or without the husband's permission.

After the heady heights, excitement and the defeat of the evil of terrorism in THE JUDAS GOAT, THIN AIR appears like a refreshing change for the reader as the story revolves around, and stays in, good old Boston, USA. ThIs is a classic, serious detective story which focuses on the disappearance and presumed discovery of the said missing woman. No room for the standard character-based witticisms but certainly plenty of educational (for the reader as well as Spenser) and romantic interplay between Spense, Suze, and Pearl the Wonder Dog.

This is a seriously good detective story with touches of inter-cultural racism and violence with p,entry of bigotry and racism built in. Only time will tell if the good guys come out on top but with Spenser involved, the reader knows they are onto a good thing. More great stuff from the legend of the pen.

BFN, Greggorio!
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on 24 February 2003
I wouldn't recommend this as a first Spenser book. In fact I'd suggest going to "The Godwulf Manuscript" at the very beginning of the series.
Be that as it may, it is a rewarding read for those familiar with the characters. Especially rewarding is the re-introduction of Cholla who we met briefly in "Stardust".
Parker varies his narrative style this time out. The perspective switches back and forth between the victim Lisa, who's police detective Belson's young wife, and Spenser, so we can see when Spenser gets on the wrong track and when he gets back on the right one.
This isn't quite the best Parker, but it's good and worth your while if you're a Spenser fan.
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on 23 November 2013
Somewhat convenient choice of personnel but a rattling good story and lots of good POV from the victim too. I would like Amazon,on to pay a fair rate of UK tax.
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on 8 December 2014
Would buy another,book by this,author any time.
Not,sure,which one though.
Hope this review encourages other people to read Spenser books.
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on 10 February 2014
I just love the dialogue between Spencer and Susan,not to mention the fun plots.I always enjoy a Robert Parker book.
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on 29 September 2015
The plot was a bit too easy to spot. The use of her story interspersed seemed like a repeat and a filler.
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on 22 January 2016
Excellent. If you like Ed Mcbain you'll like Parker.
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