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The Boxer and the Spy Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9–11—Parker makes his second foray into YA literature with this tale of a 15-year-old aspiring boxer trying to solve the murder of one of his classmates, deemed a suicide by the authorities. As in his adult "Spenser" books, the question is not so much who committed the crime as how the protagonist will catch him (it is apparent pretty early on who the bad guys are). Terry Novak battles a group of powerful, evil individuals with only his wits, toughness, and a few loyal friends to help him. He has a personal code that requires him to avenge wrongdoing against innocents and will use violence only when forced to. In many ways it is Terry himself rather than the solving of the crime that is the main focus of the novel: haltingly, and often inarticulately, he begins to explore what it means to live honorably, with moral purpose. In this he is aided by George, the wise, elderly black man who is teaching him to fight, and by Abby, the sassy beauty whom Terry hopes to make his girlfriend. As in any Parker novel, the dialogue is delightful. Character is revealed in a word, a phrase, or sometimes even a gesture. (Has any writer ever conveyed more meaning through a shrug?) While some may object that the fight scenes are a little too graphic or the resolution a little too neat, few could question either the quality of the writing or the book's undeniable appeal to teen readers.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
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’s second foray into the YA mystery field (after Edenville Owls, 2007), finds 15-year-old Terry Novak learning the ropes of boxing from a wizened ex-fighter, who is classic Parker—gruff but keenly understanding. At the same time, Terry’s best friend, Abby, is dizzyingly becoming something closer to a girlfriend, though neither really know what to make of the evolving relationship. When a quiet, nerdy kid is found dead of an apparent suicide, murkily involving steroids, the duo make it their business to figure out what really happened. Although Parker leans on the boxing-as-life metaphor pretty heavily, it works; and witnessing a tough-but-sensitive guy on the make figure out when to play nice and when to get mean is classic coming-of-age stuff. What drives the story home, however, is how well Parker is able to demonstrate adolescent uncertainty about the world and then capture those moments when uncertainty shifts seamlessly into confidence. Add Parker’s deft touch with dialogue and quick action scenes, and you’ve got a lean, welterweight contender of a mystery. Grades 8-11. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739373021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739373026
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When the body of Jason Green is found, his classmates, teachers and administrators at Cabot, north of Boston, accept the cops' official findings that he killed himself because he was juiced with "roids". Only student athlete Terry Novak disagrees with the prevalent suicide theory; he knows that Jason may have been a lover, but was not a jock so would not have done steroids to become a landscape designer as the teen planned to be. Terry wonders if his classmate he was murdered.

Terry half persuades his best friend Abby to help him investigate the death. However, he makes little progress until his trainer retired professional boxer George encourages him to hold his head up, jab away, and not quit. Heeding that advice, Terry keeps digging not aware the danger he brings to himself and Abby by someone who wants the ruling to remain suicide.

Obviously targeting the teen crowd, Robert B. Parker provides an engaging high school mystery starring a young sleuth trying to uncover the truth about the recent death of a classmate. With a strong support cast from George to cigarette smoking Beverly, Suzi and Tank to Mr. Principal and more, the story line is fast-paced from the first jab to the last as Terry and Abby follow clues that lead them to danger.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written by the author of the world famous Spenser and Jesse Stone mysteries (among others) Robert B. Parker. This is his second book targeted for the youth market, but I'll be the first to say adults will truly enjoy it also. The reader is first introduced to a shy, young, sad boy by the name of Jason Green. His Father had died and his Mother has buried what's left of her life in a bottle. He didn't like sports so a lot of kids in school thought he was a "sissy". What he did enjoy was old movies and drawing. Each night at dinner his Mother would get drunk and then Jason would have the rest of his night down to a science. He'd go out for a walk down to the beach to a secluded spot to be by himself to think about things, and by the time he got home his Mother would be passed out drunk, and Jason would just go to bed like nothing happened. Then one fateful night while Jason was in his special spot he overheard a man and woman talking about some illegal endeavors, but they couldn't see him. The man and woman were afraid of being seen together so the woman left first. Then the man saw Jason and said: "You heard everything." Jason said: "I didn't hear anything."

The tide later brought in Jason's dead body. The rumor around school was that he had used steroids and committed suicide. The cast of characters that are introduced on both sides of the law form the backbone of the story involving the unrelenting quest to clear Jason's name and uncover the criminal element in William Dawes Regional High School. The main protagonist is fifteen-year-old Terry Novack who is working extremely hard learning how to box from George, a black fifty-five-year-old former boxer who works at the local gym.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Boxer and the Spy is Robert B. Parker's second foray into young adult literature. Fans of Parker's Spenser novels will no doubt recognize the character development and plot as a young, 15 year old boy and his smarter than a whip girlfriend set out to find out what happened to a young boy found washed up on the beach dead. Word has it that the young, nerdy boy, Jason Green, committed suicide, possibly as a result of steroids. Our young boxer, Terry Novak, isn't buying it and wants to find out what happened to this boy, even though he knows he'll have to go up against adults to do it. His special friend, Abby, jumps in to help him out as they unravel a plot that poor Jason just accidently stumbled across which led to his murder.

This novel was quite entertaining and enjoyable. It was interesting to see Parker take a 15 year old character and start to build him into the same kind of self-contained man that we see in Spenser. Terry is also somewhat of a loner, with a dead father and always drunk mother, but he raises above this disadvantage. He has found a father figure in a retired boxer, George, who is teaching Terry to box and how to be a man. This relationship is really more interesting than the plot itself, and in some ways more believable.

Overall, I'd have to give this effort a definite thumbs up. I could hardly put it down once I started it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert B. Parker's sophomore effort into YA fiction delivers more action and better pacing than his first. THE BOXER AND THE SPY is also set in today's world rather than the 1940s as EDENVILLE OWLS was. As an older reader who's been reading Parker's books since the 1970s, the earlier time period was no problem for me, but I wondered how many actual YA readers really understood everything that was going on after World War II.

As in his first novel, Parker develops a mystery for his young protagonist, Terry Novak, that spills out of the adult world. Parker spends a lot of time getting the young heroes acquainted with the adult world, though I believe that today's kids are a lot more acclimated to that world than Parker's characters. Still, Terry Novak is a kid I would have loved to know back when I was a freshman in high school, and I bet there are prospective readers out there who would feel the same way. He's got honor, vision, and a sense of himself that are characteristic of Parker's heroes and heroines.

The mystery wraps around the death of Jason Green. Terry knew Jason as a friend, and the relationship takes on special meaning when Parker reveals the tie that bound them. While everyone else seems content to believe Jason committed suicide, Terry just doesn't buy it. He (the boxer) enlists the aid of his best gal pal, Abby (the spy), and they set about trying to figure out what really happened.

The relationship between Terry and Abby takes on as much weight as the mystery. This isn't surprising to those of use that know Parker the way we do, but I believe the actual YA crowd might like the interaction between the two, though a few of them might wonder about how naïve the two are.
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