Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Bad Business (Spenser) has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: While this book has been loved by someone else, they left it in great condition. Hurry and buy it before someone else does and take advantage of our FREE Super Saver Shipping!!!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Bad Business (Spenser) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews
Book 31 of 41 in the Spenser Series

See all 31 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$7.99
$2.99 $0.01

In the Barren Ground
Rookie cop Tana Larsson must track a killer—but can she survive the wild and frozen dark? Learn More
$7.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Bad Business (Spenser)
  • +
  • Back Story (Spenser)
  • +
  • Cold Service (Spenser)
Total price: $25.27
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Spenser (Book 31)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425199576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425199572
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAME on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Robert Parker has a certain love for ironic plots. Bad Business, with its cluster of detectives following various spouses to determine who is cheating whom, is full of irony and misdirection. Spenser is hired by the wife of one executive to follow her husbands who seems to have hired another detective to... Well, you get the idea - open marriages gone psychotic.

Or so it would seem. But when murder begins to become a part of the shenanigans Spenser realizes that something more important is at stake in a story that picks up on the Enron scandals and then stands loyalty and faithfulness on its head. Kinergy has its own variations on corporate corruption, and layered on top of this is a talk show host who wants to maximize bed sharing.

Of course, Susan Silverman, Pearl the Wonder Dog II, and Hawk put in regular appearances so that us Spenser junkies will get our filp of flip and sarcastic dialog. After all, it is Parker's wizardry with dialog that keeps us coming back. Even if the story is a bit frail, the players make up for it time and again.

Spenser is the last true knight of Boston. He still compulsively comes to the rescue and can't stand to see a woman cry. The times change in these novels, but the main characters remain stable and attractive as if they lived in a time line all there own. And frankly, I can never resist them.

My one complaint with any Spenser novel is that it is too short. Parker's writing ability draws the reader through the book at lightning speed, and it's all too easy to finish them in one or two sittings. On the other hand, they never cloy, and are often just the right length to refresh one after reading too many serious stories.
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
When an author is as prolific as Robert B. Parker, some books are going to be better than others. Bad Business, the 31st book in his Spenser series, is better than many of his later efforts.

Marlene Rowley hires Spenser to tail her husband, who she suspects of having an affair. Husband, Trent, is a big executive at an energy company called Kinergy (think Enron). It quickly becomes apparent that Spenser isn't the only PI following people around, and when Trent ends up murdered (in his Kinergy office no less), Marlene then engages Spenser to find the killer. Marlene is totally obnoxious and self-centered, and is not an easy person to work for. Spenser encountered lots of twists and turns, and not only is there the business angle, but there are also sex seminars, wife-swapping, an escort service, missing PI's, another murder and a host of other possible motives.

But what makes Parker so much fun to read is his witty, snappy, first-rate dialogue. Spenser interviewing possible suspects is a hoot. The conversation between Spenser and Hawk is even better. So even though this book could have been a bit longer, it was definitely worth reading. Too bad they stopped filming the Spenser television series, as Bad Business would have made one dandy episode.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always look forward to the latest Spenser novel coming out in paperback. "Bad Business" does not disappoint. The bad guys are bad, some of the good guys used to be bad, and we continue to see the same smart-ass one liners that Spenser and Hawk come up with. I'm always in a better mood when I read a Spenser novel; the fast pacing and wisecracking just keep me going. The friend who turned me on to this series has the same trait. He named one of his sons Spenser, he likes the series so much. I read this one over a period of 4 days. It paints a smarmy image of corporate politics points to an "Enron"-like company as the source of a group of high management people who are involved in a sex swap group activity as a way to "free" themselves. I think this part of the plot was contrived, but I still enjoyed the fast pace and Spenser and CO. dealing with it. This one goes on the bookshelf on the opposite of The Godwulf Manuscript, and 20 something more Spenser paper backs occupy the space between. If you like Spenser novels, you'll enjoy this one.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is hard to conceive of a bad Parker novel. By now his skills are so honed, his characters so familiar, his dialogue so effortless, his sense of place so assured and his plots so polished that he is the safest buy in crime fiction.
This is good, average Parker, with very deft depiction of the accounting scams motivating the crime. As others have noted, the Enron parallels are explicit, there is too much Susan and too little action. Still, we buy the books and enjoy them.
We all continue to wonder, however, what Parker could do if he really put his mind to it, sent Susan and Pearl, incommunicado, to the farthest reaches of the globe, and focused on Hawk and Vinnie in a good old fashioned bloodfest. That might be his gift to his faithful readers for enduring the kissy face, dainty eating, cutesy-poo talk and dog slobber all these years.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
If you are new to Spenser, start with an earlier book, such as "Looking for Rachel Wallace," or what I consider his very best, "Paper Doll." You could also start at the beginning and work your way through all 31, and have a very nice time. But by no means should you begin your Spenser adventure with this book.
The plot is energetic but quite confusing - an Enron-like company pulling fiscal scams, all mixed up with some headache-inspiring spouse-swapping frenzy, huh? - but the real disappointment is, there is no one to care about here. Parker delivers his usual wit and wisdom, and that is what his fans love - the crisp dialogue, the social commentary, the gleeful puncturing of society's various bubbles. It helps to have visits from nearly every character we love (Hawk, Vinnie, Rita, and Susan who sort of grows on you) but this book lacks a crucial something that his earlier works had in abundance: sympathetic people, whether clients or others, whom you could cheer for, and bad people whom you could truly hate. I found myself having difficulty telling one supporting character from another, and by the end - when the only really bad dude is reduced to hissing like a lizard when he's caught - I didn't care how it ended, as long as it ended soon. It was kind of embarrasing, hiss hiss.
Spenser is always, always worth a read, even in a confusing mess like this. But for most people, it's probably a good idea to just take this one out of the library. I've already given my copy away, leaving me one book short of a complete set. I just don't care.
Many books ago, in "Walking Shadow," (which, in my opinion, was the first book where Parker's cracks began to show) Hawk had a wonderful line that went something like, "This is the silliest thing you ever got me involved in.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Bad Business (Spenser)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Bad Business (Spenser)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?