Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.
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. (May)
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
Praise for Walking Shadow
"Will captivate both longtime and soon-to-be devoted Spenser lovers."--Kirkus Reviews "The opening premise is particularly delicious...neat jolts of action, crisp, witty dialogue, the signature understated, deadpan zingers that Spenser and Hawk toss off so effortlessly and a lean, mean narrative that rockets the book along. If you're already a Spenser fan, you'll like this one. If you've never read Robert B. Parker, welcome aboard. After Walking Shadow, you'll have a lot of books to catch up on."--The New York Times "Brisk...the expected pleasures of an adroit Spenser adventure are here in full supply."--Publishers Weekly "Entertaining, as always."--Boston Globe "A really good story."--Chicago Tribune "A deft storyteller, a master of pace, with a plot that pulls us along like taillights vanishing down a dark highway...The wisecracking, deadpan dialogue is as snappy as ever...sheer escapist entertainment."--Philadelphia Inquirer