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Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.
Last year Parker published three strong novels including the excellent Spenser mystery Potshot. So he's entitled to a miss and a pass and gets one with this forgettable Spenser entry. Attorney Rita Fiore, who's worked with the Boston PI before, hires Spenser to find out if her new client, Mary Smith, whom Spenser's cop pal Quirk describes as "dumber than my dick," indeed shot to death her husband, banker and Mayflower descendant Nathan Smith, as the evidence indicates. Spenser's search for the truth takes him into one of the most confusing (for the PI and the reader) cases of his long career; unusual for Parker, pages are needed at book's end to explain who did what and why. Sidekick Hawk pitches in to protect Spenser, and gunsel Vinnie Morris lends a hand, too, as several folks Spenser talks to wind up dead, and as the PI is trailed, then attacked, by thugs headquartered at a crooked land development company with ties to the dead man's bank. Susan, Spenser's beloved, offers some advice as well, but the ritual appearances by Spenser's crew, human and animal (Pearl the Wonder Dog, ancient and slow, waddles in here and there), while earning a nod of gratitude from series fans, do little to advance or deepen the proceedings. The novel stirs to life only fitfully, most notably in the confrontational exchanges between a female lawyer implicated in the crimes and her powerful attorney father; here, Parker taps into truth about familial loyalties. The writing is as clean as fresh ice, and from the opening sentence (" `I think she's probably guilty,' Rita Fiore said to me"), it's clear that readers are in the hands of a vet who knows what he's doing; but what Parker is doing here is, alas, not very interesting. (Mar. 18) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Parker has his hands full defending a brassy young blonde with a shady past who really does seem to have shot her 51-year-old hubby in the head. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Delicious fun...Spenser is back in his element--out-punching and out-quipping adversaries in Beantown. An entertaining supporting cast puts this one on the top shelf...one of the author's wittier outings. Bottom line: A merry Widow."--People "Priceless moments."--The New York Times Book Review "Top-notch stuff."--The Seattle Times "Parker's energies remain as formidable as his hero's."--Boston Globe "Prime Spenser...an enjoyable ride."--The Times Union (Albany, NY.) "Widow's Walk ranks among the best in the Spenser series--just enough of the hard-boiled stuff, a touch of good-natured cynicism, some mature reflection on the nature of life and a well-knotted whodunit. It's a great way to spend the weekend...For those who have yet to have the pleasure of our hero's company, it's a stellar introduction."--Calgary Herald "It's the dialogue that marks Parker as the undisputed master of the hard-boiled universe."--Ottawa Citizen "The writing is as clean as fresh ice, and from the opening sentence, it's clear that readers are in the hands of a vet who knows what he's doing."--Publishers Weekly "ANY book by Robert B. Parker is a treat but there is something extra-special when he gives us a new detective story starring the inimitable Spenser. [Widow's Walk is] classic Parker, with that beautifully pared-down style that wastes no words but still conjures up richly detailed characters and a vibrant sense of place...funny...touching... compassionate." --Sunday Mercury "Spencer is back, as quick with a quip and as free with his fists as ever...So enjoy."--The San Diego Union Tribune "One of the great series in the history of the American detective story."--The New York Times "A cat's cradle of conspiracies...fun to read as ever."--Los Angeles Times