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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Walking Shadow (Spenser) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
Book 21 of 41 in the Spenser Series

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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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser (Book 21)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425147746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425147740
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When Spenser and the ever-delightful Susan Silverman attend the local presentation of an esoteric play in the small coastal town of Port City, the last thing they expect to witness is a murder. But murder it is and to stretch the shock factor even further, the said murder happens on stage in front of a full house. Robert B Parker was always a cool hand at coming up with original plots and suspense-building events and this book is no exception. The local constabulary, for once, welcomes Spenser's unofficial assistance, as neither party has any idea who the killer is. Nor do they know why. A seemingly forgotten complaint of stalking of the local drama society's chief bureaucrat, which opened the tale, has seemingly fizzled down to a state of near irrelevance but with the world class writing skills of Mr Parker on show, the reader would be a fool to make that assumption.

WALKING SHADOW is classic Spenser. Indeed, the tale reads like a world class thriller until it settles down and finds its groove as an example of the classic genre-defining murder mystery series created by Mr Parker back in the 1970's.

The baddies start to appear as you approach the century page mark of the book and they really are outstanding and easy to dislike. Characterisation in the series is always a strong point, and 25 books in, if you aren't emotionally attached to the good guys by now, you never will be. Even reading of the innocent joy and happiness displayed by Pearl the Wonder Dog around Susan is enough to generate moisture around your eyes.

Yet another highly entertaining and essential purchase from Robert B Parker.
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