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Chance (Spenser Book 23) by [Parker, Robert B.]
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Chance (Spenser Book 23) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Organized crime in Parker's fictional Boston has provided protein-rich fodder for most of the Spenser novels (recently, Thin Air and Walking Shadow). Parker sticks to the tried and true here, as his burly and literate PI untangles the knotted power schemes of the four putative heirs-and a brash newcomer-to old Joe Broz's domain. A second-echelon hoodlum, Julius Ventura, hires Spenser and his partner/sidekick Hawk to find his daughter's missing husband, a middle-management criminal named Anthony Meeker, who, it turns out, had money-handling responsibilities. Speedily determining that Meeker liked to gamble, Spenser and his lover, psychiatrist Susan Silverman, and Hawk depart for Las Vegas. They find their quarry, discover the complicating identity of his female companion and are joined by assorted other players, including one of Ventura's nastier fellow crimesters and Meeker's wife. A murder follows, sending Spenser back to Boston to determine who has betrayed whom and to try to smooth the way out for one of the women involved in the mess. This is vintage Parker, replete with the expected black/white repartee between Spenser and Hawk and the archly crude dialogue he carries on with Susan. ("Had I been a lascivious Irish shrink, would you have loved me anyway?" she asks. Spenser replies affirmatively and adds, "But I think you've just coined a tripartite oxymoron.") Despite a mid-course swerve in the plot, the action rings true, especially the machinations among the crime bosses, as Spenser proves himself once more a modern-day knight in shining armor. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Julius Ventura is a big-time Boston thug. He doesn't want to hire Spenser, but he does because his daughter is crying, and what dad--even a thug--can say no to a crying daughter? Shirley is crying because her husband, Anthony Meeker, has disappeared, and she wants him back. Anthony did some work for his father-in-law, and Spenser suspects there was a cash shortfall about the time Anthony disappeared. Soon Spenser discovers that Anthony was skimming from Julius and had an unwelcome partner, namely Marty Anaheim, a leg breaker in another branch of the organization. And just to add some spice to the mix, Anaheim's wife, Bibi, ran off with Meeker. Spenser and erstwhile pal Hawk move to and fro between Boston and Las Vegas, where they find Henry and Bibi, decide to help the pair escape the murderous Anaheim, and then get stopped cold by the murder of Shirley, Meeker's estranged wife. Toss in a power struggle among Boston's criminal elite, and you've got the most densely plotted Spenser novel in years. The unexpectedly complex machinations of the case complement the always stellar dialogue, the palpable sense of potential violence, and the bantering relationship between Spenser and longtime lover Susan Silverman. The Spenser series has had its ups and downs over more than 20 years, but this twenty-fifth entry finds the quick-witted sleuth and company to be in remarkably good health. Wonderfully entertaining reading. Wes Lukowsky

Product Details

  • File Size: 740 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 1997
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005F4CCMK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,496 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Usually I read Spenser for the great writing style and Boston area environment. This book has in addition great descriptions of Vegas, that City of Sin, and some behind the scenes gangster family situations. It's all handled quite well, and the characters truly get you involved in the action.
It's not just a lost-girl-Spenser-finds-girl situation. There are a lot of plot twists, a lot of tracking and figuring out who double-crossed who, and why, and what he should do. Spenser figures out pretty quickly the basics of what's going on. However, it takes him longer to figure out the morally correct thing to do about it, and it's this side of the story which is so fascinating.
It's also a great reunion book for people who have followed the story along. There are your criminal favorites, plus Chollo, Fast Eddie Lee, Gino, Vinnie, Tony, etc. Definitely, if you haven't read the previous books, go through them to truly enjoy this one.
The story is very well written, with fun descriptions of Vegas and the whole twisted inter-relationships. Spenser's more thoughtful, willing to listen, thinking about how he does things. Maturity and age? Who knows. Susan is very tolerable, becoming more of a "Jewish American Princess". Strangely, the past two stories had doorknob troubles never heard of before.
There are a number of small touches that make the story shine. Bob the Waiter was great, from Bahston. My favorite moment is when Spenser's thinking about the Russians (also moving in to the mob scene) and answers the phone with "Da?" :)
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Format: Paperback
Robert B. Parker is an excellent author -- he could pull three stars out of a description of Spenser getting audited on his income taxes. Maybe four.
But of his recent work, Chance is a bit of a disappointment. Mystery? There isn't really a mystery here the reader can solve. Character? The new characters are all rather shallow, structureless, and uncompelling. This may be a statement about the type of people attracted to Vegas, a city which plays a promonent role in the story, yet no insight is gained into the shallowness, no real new perspective is offered. Suspense? There really isn't much. Drama? No, not much of that either.
Really there isn't much here, globally. Locally, it's better. The interactions between Spenser and the others is, as usual, a joy to read. And Spenser's verbal quips, cultural references, and interesting insights are worth the read. But the book needs a bit more. And Parker's shown before that he can provide it.
Note : This review is based on the book as a part of the Spenser series. The Spenser books are best read in chronological sequence. As a standalone book, this is probably only two stars.
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Format: Paperback
In Chance, you will meet the least trustworthy group of double-dealers you can ever imagine. They won't tell Spenser what's really going on, and switch allegiances at the drop of a hat. Just when you think you know what will happen next, the plot switches off into an unexpected direction.
Anthony Meeker, the biggest rat of them all, will keep you fascinated by raising the age-old question of what some women see in the men they marry.
Compared to most Spenser stories, this one has twice the plot. It's also filled with the usual entertaining by-play among Spenser, Hawk and Susan.
If you're like me, you won't be able to put this entertaining story down after starting it.
Take a Chance! You'll find it irresistible!
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Format: Paperback
As "Chance" begins our hero is "in the bucks," which means that when mobster Julius Ventura shows up to hire Spenser to find his missing son-in-law, our hero has nothing better to do. Of course Ventura and his daughter Shirley are not telling the entire truth about Anthony Meeker. Then things get interesting. Marty Anaheim, the right-hand man of Gino Fish, Ventura's main opponent, has Spenser tailed. Vinnie Morris is working with Fish, who has no idea what Marty is up to. But when it turns out that Phony Tony's big dream is to break the bank at Las Vegas, our hero heads off with Susan Silverman and Hawk. This novel has volcanoes erupting outside of hotel windows, and Susan wearing boots. Ultimately, "Chances" is one of the most convoluted cases Spenser has ever worked, which is what is to be expected when you have mobsters in love and a power struggle in Beantown. Consequently, there are cameo appearances by several notable supporting characters from recent novels. Anyhow, every revelation regarding Meeker and his tangled web only complicates matters further and, of course the point comes in the case where Spenser's interests diverge from that of the man who hires him, and for most of the novel Spenser and Hawk are trying to figure out what is going on, what they want to do about it, and, most importantly, who they are doing it for. All of these issues will be resolved, but pretty much at the last minutes. "Chance" has all of the essential elements of a Spenser mystery and is an enjoyable read, an above-average novel in the series. Oh, and by the way--despite the nice image of the wounded dice, the game of choice in this novel is blackjack, although watching Susan play is quite painful.
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