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Bad Business (Spenser) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005
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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.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.
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.
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.
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
.By this point in the series Parker seemed to be cannibalizing his own past writing- repeating the same scenes ans situations in book after book- filling them with the same syrupy... Read morePublished 4 months ago by thirdtwin