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Walking Shadow (Spenser) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser (Book 21)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425147746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425147740
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In fine form here, Parker's sardonic Boston PI Spenser, last seen in Paper Dolls , encounters danger, venality and plenty of comic material in this brisk tale spanning the worlds of experimental theater and illegal immigration. While he'd rather be at work renovating the old farmhouse that he and his lover, psychiatrist Susan, have bought in nearby Concord, Spenser agrees to find out who is following the Artistic Director of the Port City Theater Company, on whose board of directors Susan sits. The detective is utterly bored by a performance of the latest production in Port City, "a town 50% Portuguese and 50% Chinese"--until one of the actors is fatally shot from the audience. The shooter gets away, leaving Spenser with murder to probe as well. After talking to one of the board members, Spenser is warned out of Port City by the woman's husband, an important member of a Boston tong. The threat prompts a call to his old pals Hawk and Vinnie, who, he notes, blend in to the theatrical scene "like two coyotes at a poultry festival." As Spenser discovers that the influx of Chinese illegals into the area is being overlooked by the Port City Chief of Police, an actress in the company reports that she too is being followed. Another murder and a kidnapping occur before the mysteries are resolved and Spenser can get back to his sledgehammer. Although the detective lags in reaching a conclusion readers may have sussed out earlier, the expected pleasures of an adroit Spenser adventure are here in full supply. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Spenser and Hawk, Parker's (Perchance To Dream, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/94) inimitably tough team of private investigators, are at it again. This time, Spenser is embroiled in a search for a mysterious stalker who is following the Port City Theater Company's director. When an actor is murdered on stage, Spenser leaps into action by following any and all leads. Deductive reasoning and lots of knocking on doors lead our hero to startling conclusions. Daniel Parker, Robert Parker's son, tries his hand at performing this audiobook. Unfortunately, Daniel lacks experience, and his reading is below par. None-theless, the program's technical aspects and abridgment are both excellent. The typical Spenserian dialog of short quips and sentence fragments will delight the fan and annoy the novice. Recommended for large collections or wherever the author circulates well.
Miriam Kahn, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Popular Discussion Topics

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  • "Writing" 12
  • "Action" 4
  • "Emotional" 4
  • "Suspense" 3
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Susan's on the board of the Port City Theater Company, and asks Spenser to help one of it's employees with a stalking problem. Spenser does, but finds no stalker. Then, during a show, one of the actors is shot. While questioning people, Spenser talks to a board member, which upsets her husband, who controls the Chinese gang in the area. So Spenser has no clues and the Chinese "Death Dragons" after him.
To complicate matters (if you believe they aren't already), another woman claims to be stalked, and then is kidnapped. The local police chief is no help, as he's in the "employ" of the Chinese.
Things wrap up in the end, but not after some unexpected plot twists and character development that is really stellar. Usually Spenser is just about fantastic writing and environments. This time Parker also put some solid work into developing the characters you meet, and the cultures involved.
On the downside, I think Parker was on an "annoying women" kick. This woman was TRULY annoying, although to make up for her, the Chinese translator they use is smart, resourceful, and brave.
Port City is very well described - you get a very good sense both of how it feels to wander its streets, and also of its history and people.
An interesting sideline, which provides nice counterpoint to the story, has the pair working on a house in Concord - pruning and ripping out the innards. In addition to Susan and Hawk, Spenser calls on the help of Vinnie - a mob friend (ex-main-man of Joe Broz) with amazingly fast gun draw. He has Farrel, the gay police officer help him out, too.
All in all, one of the greats in the Spenser lineup.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Skinner on October 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Port City must be the most dreary place on planet Earth. I've never been there, but I feel like I have. Spenser somehow escaped pneumonia in this twisted thriller, not too mention being the #1 target of the Chinese mafia. This unusual story starts with a Greek theater director, who thinks he's being stalked. Then it takes off with murder, illegal immigration, and some whacky women. Spenser needs more help than Hawk can give him, so he finds a thug named Vinnie and a Chinese grad student to help him navigate through the streets of Port City in this curious adventure. The book reads well, and the plot twists keep you entertained. Robert Parker knows how to write a book that reads fast.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Connelly on October 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Walking Shadow starts with considerable promise. It has all the elements -- engaging characters, an interesting locale, a novel crime, and Parker's usual wonderful dialog.
However, like the play which opens the work, Walking Shadow drags on. All the main characters seem to become bored with the case. How can the reader avoid following their example? It's a bad sign when I was relieved to finally reach the end, an end which was achieved without much of a climax.
Overall, it isn't a bad work, and is certainly recommended for fans of the Spenser series. But I certainly wouldn't rank it among Parker's best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on May 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Susan was on the board of the Port City Theater Company. Spenser was investigating. The artistic director, Demetrius Christopholous, was being followed. Susan and Spenser attended a performance. An actor was shot.

I guess from the photo on the back of the dust jacket, Spenser is the author's alter ego. Spenser spares few words in the telling of his stories. Both Spenser and his side-kick, Hawk, speak in clipped tones. Clearly the demotic style is effective. The reader doesn't feel smothered, manipulated.

Spenser tells the board the shooting is unusual, taking place in a crowded theater. The victim, Craig Sampson, had studied acting in New York and he had been fun. Port City, the site of a fish processing plant, has a bigger Chinatown than Boston. Spenser is threatened by the Chinese boss. Susan finds a translator for him at Harvard in the Asian Studies department. They go around to question some of the Chinese residents of Port City. When Spenser is confronted with five youths from the gang, Death Dragons, Hawk and another Spenser associate intervene. The police discover one of the boys is carrying an Uzi.

Some research discloses that the victim had served in the armed forces in Taiwan. Spenser is warned off the investigation by the Chief of Police. He learns that Rikki Wu, the boss's wife, probably brought the victim to the attention of the head of the theater group. Spenser visits a relative of the translator and learns of the smuggling of illegal aliens in Port City. When Mr. Wu is found dead, beaten, the ties between the Chief of Police and the tong unravel. Another woman, a surprising character under the circumstances, provides the glue.

This is a very strong entry in the Spenser series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "truthandjustice" on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Whenever I read a Spenser/Hawk book I am picturing Robert Urich, who was unbeatable as that character in the t.v.'s series of Spenser. I miss him, but on to the story. Spenser is asked by Susan, his girl, to help find out who is stalking the director of the Port City Theater's Company, of which Susan is a trustee. He finds no stalker, but while watching the play, one of the cast is shot right in front of the audience and killed. Another woman claims that she is being stalked and yet they find no one stalking her and then he receives a tape of her tied to a chair and being held hostage. There is the Chinese mafia connection, as a large portion of Port City is Chinese and another of the trustees is Chinese with connections to them. Spenser is threatened by the boss and told not to come back or he will be killed and so enters Hawk and Vinnie for back up protection. The educational part is learning a little about the illegal immigration trafficking of the Chinese people. My favorite characters, as always, were Spenser and Hawk. I don't want to tell you too much more except that I did enjoy the book.
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