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Taming a Sea-Horse Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1987

Book 13 of 42 in the Spenser Series

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Taming a Sea-Horse + Pale Kings and Princes (Spenser, No 14) + A Catskill Eagle (Spenser, Book 12)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (May 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440188415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440188414
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The TV series Spenser: For Hire is adding to the fame of Parker's Boston private eye, star of 12 book thrillers. The witty, tough, idealistic Spenser recounts his latest exploits in this 13th tale, starting when he meets April Kyle again. The young prostitute settled in a safe New York City bordello at the end of the novel Ceremony, April leaves to hook for Rambeaux. She refuses to believe the man who "loves her" is a pimp supported by sad girls Spenser finds walking the streets. One of these victims and Rambeaux himself are murdered. At the same time, April vanishes, involving the detective in a search that takes him to Maine (where the dead girl was first sold), to St. Thomas and finally to a playboy-type mansion in Boston. Spenser's lover Susan and their intrepid friend Hawke team up against a virtual army of hitmen ordered to protect the profits from prostitution, among other lucrative operations run by mobsters through hirelings fronting for them in legal enterprises. The suspense never slackens in the swift, eventful novel until its surprisingly touching close. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

5 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Writes a very enjoyable book; you just keep turning the pages!
Gwendolyn B. Williams
Love the series and Spenser, Hawk, and Susan are a great team This story bring back in, April Kyle, prostituting in NYC.
James L. Woolridge
At the end of each of his books you feel like you personally know the characters that reoccur better than you did before.
Marlene Balistreri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Taming a Sea-Horse" finds Spenser returning to simpler pursuits after the imitation James Bond heights of our hero's previous story, "A Catskill Eagle." Susan Silverman is back in Spenser's life with minimal mention of the hell she put him through in the last couple of books when she was off in California. But they are very happy together, although they now find very little time to do any real cooking. The problem this time around is an old one revisited: April Kyle, the teenage prostitute Spenser saved in "Ceremony" has left the call girl service of Patricia Utley and has started turning tricks for Robert Rambeaux, the man she supposedly loves. Spenser does a little investigating but before he gets too deep into the matter April disappears, Rambeaux is beaten up by somebody other than Spenser, and one of the hookers our hero intereviewed is murdered. Once again, there is much more to the case than meets the eye.
This is an intimate Spenser novel, which was certainly a wise move on Robert B. Parker's part after the epic scale of its predecessor. At the end of "Ceremony," Spencer and Susan were planning on taking April to meet Mrs. Utley because they could not come up with a better solution and we could only guess at what would become of the young girl. Now the gap of the last four years has been filed in and our hero has another chance to help the young girl, whom I suspect might be on her way to being the surrogate daughter in Spenser's growing symbolic family unit. While "Taming a Sea-Horse" might seem to cover some of the ground Robert B. Parker has covered before, there is always some sort of twist, and it is not understatement to say that this time around the story ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda G. Shelnutt VINE VOICE on February 13, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm ashamed to admit this about my reading weakness. I did overcome it, given full use of the gift of Parker's skill as an author. The confession:

The first few paragraphs of TAMING A SEA-HORSE worked more as the wrong end of a magnet than a draw into the story. My immediate, automatic response was I didn't want to immerse my emotions again into the heartbreaking, depressing world of Patricia Utley and April Kyle.

And then the save:

Reading into the story a couple pages, I was hooked into Spenser's world and cares. I wanted to know why April had gone to the different call agency, and how Spenser might convince her to return to Utley's more realistic, kinder "retirement program." And, the conversation with Utley was engrossing, about the various angles of Call Girls' dreams, the sour and the creme.

I was also caught by Spenser's description of compulsions and controls (successes and failures) of his rampant appetites, in this case for martinis over lunch, through lunch, concluding with a healthy cherry cheesecake wallow.

Of course Spenser's first conversation with April over a noon lunch, which was breakfast for her, was full of reader bait, as was his first exchange with April's high-brow musician pimp. With Spenser's satiric takes on the seedy sides of NYC ambiance swirled into the mix, I willingly gave up any resistance to sinking into the unique plot mix in book # 13 in the series. Given the sensitive ending (and the increasingly engrossing ride to it, youthful shrugs included) I'm really glad that resistance would have been futile here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this story, Spenser is once again on a noble mission and people are killed, but unlike other Spenser stories, the plot didn't grab me. Furthermore, the dialog lacked the wittiness found in the other Spenser stories. He was much more subdued, almost fatalistic. Even the scenes with Hawk lacked the dynamic and witty dialog that makes their relationship so unique.

April Kyle, the teenage prostitute Spenser saved in "Ceremony", has left the high-class brothel run by Patricia Utley and is now on the street for a man named Robert, who is a student at Juilliard. Spenser easily tracks her down and she tells him that her and Robert are in love and she is hooking in order to put him through school. Spenser investigates and learns that Robert is in love with many different girls and is in fact the pimp for a collection of hookers. Spenser spends some professional (his) time with Ginger Bucky, another girl in Robert's stable. He finally breaks into her hardened heart to learn that her father repeatedly raped her before he sold her to a brothel.

When April disappears and Ginger is murdered, Spenser investigates the seedy world of prostitution, where girls are sold and there are various levels of the trade. Along the way, Spenser makes a trip to Lindell, Maine to have a chat with Ginger's father and to prove to him that he is not the toughest man in Lindell. Other people are killed as Spenser follows the trail of Ginger in the hope that it will lead him to April. Eventually it does, as Spenser makes a deal with the head of a major prostitution ring to get her back.

Throughout the story, Spenser has his ego reinforced by Susan Silverman, as he questions what he is doing and his attempts to right some of the wrongs of the world.
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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.

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