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Crimson Joy Hardcover – June 1, 1988

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (June 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385296517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385296519
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The hero of Parker's bestsellers and a popular TV series, Boston private eye Spenser tells his 15th story, this time about events that affect him personally as well as his psychologist lover Susan Silverman and their buddy, Hawk. A husband murders his wife imitating the "Red Rose Killer," a serial murderer who has been leaving a rose on the corpses of his victims, middle-aged black women. When the spouse admits his guilt, government higher-ups assure feminist and ethnic pressure groups that the elusive maniac has been caught: case closed. But Spenser's friends in homicide, angered by the cover-up, enlist him and Hawk in an unofficial investigation that seems to implicate some of Susan's patients. Resenting the intrusion on her professional territory, Susan nevertheless cooperates. Spenser and Hawk, as guards, are therefore present during the psychologist's session with the dreaded but pitiable killer and the ensuing tense, final scene. Parker's biting wit, onomatopoetic dialogue and convincing characters are again notable attractions. So are details on the ambience of Boston and environs, except for one slip surprising in so accurate an author: discussions of the possibility of electrocution in Massachusetts, where there is no capital punishment. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Tightly constructed prose and well-paced action characterize this exciting entry in the famous Spenser series. Psychotherapist Susan Silverman appropriates a more central role when a serial murderer turns out to be one of her clients. Working with two out-of-favor policemen to trap the suspect, Spenser and Hawk protect the independent Susan while she confronts the killer. Parker skillfully weaves Susan's objective theorizing, Spenser's mot juste narrative, and the killer's subjective emotions into fascinating psychological interplay. Smoother, better focused, and less cryptic than last year's Pale Kings and Princes . REK
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Customer Reviews

Crimson Joy is the 15th in the series.
alice singleton
Every time I read his books I can see Robert Urich and Avery Brooks doing the things Spenser and Hawk do.
Harold Bourquin
One thing about Parker: he certainly tries to avoid ending a Spenser story the same way twice.
Lawrance M. Bernabo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Weed Howard ( on April 6, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll start with a confession: I've never read Robert B. Parker before. And I didn't know anything about Spenser before I met him in Crimson Joy. I don't know - I thought maybe Sam Spade; dark, rainy nights, bare light bulbs in a dingy office.
Boy, was I wrong.
In this book, Spenser and friends are up against the Red Rose killer. The bad guy is quite obviously a psychological case, so Spenser's psychologist girlfriend gets to be a partner in crime as well as in bed, with delightful humor and good will. They're both such really great people, it's fun to be around them.
Spenser is in great physical shape; he's brave and witty; he's a gourmet cook. He's never ruffled. Faced with a slime talk show host or a five-thug citizen pressure group, his wit, strength, and courage save the day.
Okay, it might all be too good to be true, but this is a story. It's comfortable, funny, fast-paced, breezy and uncomplicated. The plot is clever enough to interest, even if the outcome is surly a foregone conclusion.
In Spenser's words, "To be who I was and do what I did had to assume I'd win." That's how I felt from the start and I was glad he was who he was and did what he did and I loved every minute of it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeanna180 on June 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been reading Spenser since I was a teenager and this is one of the best I have read.
The case in the story, a serail killer who leaves a red rose at the scene of the crime, is a heart wrenching one. As the case developes the novel gets more intense and more belivable.
Then when the reader thinks the case is resolved Parker throws one last heart wrenching detail at his readers. This is parker at the top of his craft. A must read for any Spenser fan.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John D. Costanzo on June 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a relief! After reading A Catskill Eagle I started to worry that Parker was losing me with his "Spencer as Rambo" style. But Crimson Joy gets back to what made Parker a superb mystery novelist: Spencer solving a mystery and tracking down the criminal. There is a lot of police involvement in this one as Spencer agrees to help out our favorite detective, Martin Quirk. Hawk helps out, which is always a plus, and there is the added suspense of Susan being put in the path of danger as she becomes involved in her role as psychotherapist.
A Crimson Joy is a top notch Spenser novel and I highly recommend it for all fans of the crime novel. I can't wait to read the next in the Spenser saga!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By buddyhead on August 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a typical Spenser for Hire book, for better or for worse. You know the routine by now: capable of a read in a single sitting; the witty repartee; the sassy and cocksure internal narrative by Spenser; the sparring with Hawk to mask the mutual feelings of respect; the surprisingly clever descriptions of characters; the Boston settings depicted with pride. Parker is to be commended on his choice of words, because although his stories are so brief, they say a lot and don't waste much time. In fact, I describe the Spenser stories as compact more than short. They are powerful in that Parker never lets you forget he is a wordsmith, and capable of great bursts of creativity and humor.
Crimson Joy is not as action packed as other Spenser books, and is more cerebral. Susan plays more of a role in this one, too, and thus it has a lot of psychological overtones. This makes the book interesting from a clinical sense, but some readers might miss the fighting and machismo. This book is kind of sexy, too, in terms of its exploration of Spenser and Susan's relationship, though it never stoops to being crude or raunchy. [I keep forgetting these are just racy enough to prevent their becoming family books, since I find myself wanting to recommend them to folks of all ages.]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Crimson Joy, the indomitable Spenser turns his focused, deadly attention to tracking down a psychopathic killer who leaves a red rose on each of his female victims. Spenser is joined by Hawk, his soul-brother. In fact, the strong bond between Hawk and Spenser, explored in the humourous and touching dialog between the two is a nice bonus (in this as in other Spenser stories).
When the killer turns his attentions to Susan, the love of Spenser's life, the case becomes dramatically personal for Spenser and for Hawk, too, who, in his quiet, intense way is as devoted to Susan as to Spenser.
The narrative is fast-paced and the dialog tight and compelling. But don't think that the author lacks a romantic soul - for every so often comes a descriptive line of real poetry, as in"...the slim gold of nature's first green beginning to edge out on some of the shrubs."
Likewise, Spenser himself is no one-dimensional problem-solving tough guy. He is an intelligent, cultured man with a strong sense of morality. He knows he is in fact his brother's keeper. (And his woman's protector.) He demonstrates genuine human sensitivity - "The thing about monsters is, you want to kill them until you meet them, and when you meet them they don't seem monstrous, and killing them begins to seem unkind."
The end of the story provides an interesting twist which leaves the reader knowing more about the killer and his motivations than the characters in the book every learn.
Each one of the Spenser stories adds to the accumulated lore about Spenser, Susan and Hawk. You won't want to miss this one.
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