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Spenser #31 finds the veteran Boston PI tackling corporate crime in a routine yet absorbing outing. As usual, Spenser enters the case at an angle, this time because he's hired by one Marlene Rowley to prove that her husband Trent, CFO of energy firm Kinergy, is cheating on her. Before long the PI learns that marital cheating is all the rage among Kinergy's players, with the hanky-panky orchestrated by radio personality Darrin O'Mara, who runs popular sex seminars on the side. Maybe all that cheating explains why Spenser keeps running into other PIs hired by Kinergy folk, but it doesn't point to why Trent is found shot dead at Kinergy headquarters. Spenser links Kinergy's slick founder/CEO to the sex ring and blackmails him to gain access to Kinergy's records, unveiling a pattern of accounting deceptions that reveal a company about to go under. There's less violence than usual in this Spenser novel but more detecting, which may explain why there's little of the PI's tough sidekick Hawk but much of his psychologist girlfriend Susan, which may not please the many Spenser fans who grew tired years ago of the love banter between the soul mates. The novel ends with suspects crowded into a room to be questioned by Spenser, a classic yet tired climax that is emblematic of the tale: Parker is treading water here, albeit with some flair and a good deal of humor. One suspects that his heart belongs not to this story but to his other book due out this year, in May, the highly anticipated Jackie Robinson novel Double Play.
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Parker, declared a Grand Master in 2002 by the Mystery Writers of America, delivers another combination of wry satire and sly action in his thirty-first mystery starring Spenser, the Boston private eye. This time he employs to devastating effect one of his signature devices--an observation on how someone dresses or walks into a room, or a few lines of dialogue between the victim and his hero--to fillet the greed and arrogance of corporate types. At novel's outset, Parker indulges in Keystone Kops comedy played out by private eyes. A distraught wife hires him to tail her husband. Surveillance turns complex and comic when Spenser finds that the husband is having his wife watched; an outside party is having both husband and wife watched; and Spenser himself is being tailed. Spenser is soon being watched by the Boston PD, since he is sitting in the lobby when the husband he's following is shot to death in his office. The action takes a more serious turn here, as Spenser is hired by the energy-selling corporation's CEO to investigate the murder. Of course, Spenser uncovers big-time corruption. Longtime love and psychologist Susan Silverman figures in as a commentator on the action. Spenser sidekick Hawk seems more like a vestigial remnant from other books than a realistic character here. Spenser swaggers a bit too much, and the dialogue can get one-two punch formulaic, but even so, Parker still runs at the front of the private-eye pack. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I really do not want to spoil this for anyone, but I can say the plot lead to places I did not expect. Since I have been a Robert B. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Margaret Studer
I have read them all and this is one of his best. The story line is good with his Enron style company and lots of twists and turns. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Rearden Steel
This is one of Parkers better stories. It has more characters and is more of a whodunit. I like all of the Spenser books but some are better than others.Published 3 months ago by Kathleen J Rowland
Author Robert B. Parker (1932-2010; RBP) and his readers surely have grown older since Spenser's first appearance in print in the 1970s. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
The Robert Parker, Spenser books are very entertaining, easy reads.Published 3 months ago by chrissie mckelvey
Love the way Spenser is so sensitive but fair and tough all at the same time! I have most of the books in this series and none have really failed to entertain! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gail A. Clardy