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A cheating husband and a wayward wife provide Spenser with an unconventional and dangerous surveillance job. When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband, Trent, is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: Not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of A cheating husband and a wayward wife provide Spenser with an unconventional and dangerous surveillance job. When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband, Trent, is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: Not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and corporate corruption. It seems the folks in the Cowley's circle have become enamored of radio talk-show host Darrin O'Mara, whose views on Courtly Love are clouding some already fuzzy minds with the notion of cross-connubial relationships. O'Mara's brand of sex therapy is unconventional at best, unlawful-and deadly-at worst. Then a murder at Kinergy, where Trent Cowley is CFO, sends Spenser in yet another direction. Apparently, the unfettered pursuit of profit has a price. With razor-sharp characterizations and finely honed prose, this is Parker writing at the height of his powers.


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A cheating husband and a wayward wife provide Spenser with an unconventional and dangerous surveillance job. When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband, Trent, is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: Not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of A cheating husband and a wayward wife provide Spenser with an unconventional and dangerous surveillance job. When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband, Trent, is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: Not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and corporate corruption. It seems the folks in the Cowley's circle have become enamored of radio talk-show host Darrin O'Mara, whose views on Courtly Love are clouding some already fuzzy minds with the notion of cross-connubial relationships. O'Mara's brand of sex therapy is unconventional at best, unlawful-and deadly-at worst. Then a murder at Kinergy, where Trent Cowley is CFO, sends Spenser in yet another direction. Apparently, the unfettered pursuit of profit has a price. With razor-sharp characterizations and finely honed prose, this is Parker writing at the height of his powers.

30 review for Bad Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    I knew that Robert B. Parker was phoning it in on a lot of these later Spenser books, but this one may be among the weakest and laziest of the bunch. Spenser gets hired by Marlene Rowley to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her. After he follows Trent to a hotel liaison with another woman, Spenser finds another detective trailing the lady Trent hooked up with. Things get weirder when that PI tells Spenser that hes seen a third detective watching Marlene. As usual in this series, someone I knew that Robert B. Parker was phoning it in on a lot of these later Spenser books, but this one may be among the weakest and laziest of the bunch. Spenser gets hired by Marlene Rowley to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her. After he follows Trent to a hotel liaison with another woman, Spenser finds another detective trailing the lady Trent hooked up with. Things get weirder when that PI tells Spenser that he’s seen a third detective watching Marlene. As usual in this series, someone winds up getting murdered, and Spenser thinks the key is to figure out who hired the other detectives. He discovers several connections to a radio talk show host who advocates open marriages. However, RBP apparently thought that it was too much effort keeping track of all that so he shifted the focus to Trent’s company which is an energy broker. And this was written about the time Enron was folding. Take a guess as to where the story is headed... Seriously, it seems like RBP started out with some ideas about multiple detectives trailing different people and tying it in with a wonky radio show host. There was some potential there, but then he just dumps the other detective characters about halfway through and comes up with some convoluted reasons for the talk show guy to have a connection to the energy company to go with a ripped from the headlines style plot. It almost made me wonder if he didn’t have half the book written when Enron imploded, and he just decided to use a current story rather than continue with whatever he had been originally thinking. Plus, this one is just dull. There’s no action to speak of at all. Neither Spenser nor Hawk so much as punch a thug in the mouth. Almost every scene and bit of dialogue seems to have been something that RBP had written at least once before. And the Susan annoyance factor is extremely high. It feels like RBP was even bored writing it. Next up: Hawk gets shot to pieces and Spenser helps him get revenge in Cold Service. I have the oddest sense of déjà vu for some reason….

  2. 4 out of 5

    William

    Terrific. One of his very best in every way. Most reviewers don't think highly of this book, but I strongly disagree... I think it's brilliant, almost a caricature of Detective Noir, with a set of femme-fatales, a mind-bogglingly confusing plot, an array of situations and characters from both Jungle Capitalism and Bedroom Farce genres. The book starts with a seemingly dull task for Spenser, and bit-by-bit Parker escalates it into a "true hairball", then almost farce. The humour builds slowly, Terrific. One of his very best in every way. Most reviewers don't think highly of this book, but I strongly disagree... I think it's brilliant, almost a caricature of Detective Noir, with a set of femme-fatales, a mind-bogglingly confusing plot, an array of situations and characters from both Jungle Capitalism and Bedroom Farce genres. The book starts with a seemingly dull task for Spenser, and bit-by-bit Parker escalates it into a "true hairball", then almost farce. The humour builds slowly, until in the last half of the book there are dialogue or situations which rip repeated giggles and often guffaws from the discerning reader on every other page. “Here they are,” Freckles said. “State cops.” The car door opened and Healy got out. I said, “Evening, Captain.” He looked at me for a moment. “Oh shit,” he said. “Oh shit?” “Yeah. You’re in this.” “So?” “So that means it’ll be a fucking mess.” This book is very, very literate, with references to many classic and modern authors and their works. Don't be shy, when you see an obscure reference or phrase, look it up! It's truly worth the effort! Of particular note is the climax wherein Spenser teases the villains into more and more heated revelations, "bringing the discussions to a slow and vindictive boil" to the reader's delight. “What we have here,” I said, “is a roomful of culprits, with varying levels of culpritude.” My favourite, chapter 47, involves the shameful discovery of videotapes and a range of sex toys, "ick!" which had me laughing out loud. A hidden gem of a book, an excursion into literate humour by Parker, a gentle caricature of his amazing detective oeuvre. This is Spenser brought to a new level of fun, almost burlesque. Totally delightful. (The word "maroon" appears 4 times in this novel) Notes - 90.0% ".... "The Kinergy board of directors, as far as I can see, would have approved compulsory pederasty if urged by Trent and Bernie.” 70.0% ... hilarious chapter with videotapes and sex toys ... ick 50.0% ... Me too .... "I was making my own version of moussaka, with zucchini and onions and peppers and no eggplant. I hate eggplant." 41.0% ... it occurs to me that one of the central elements of Parker's worship of Joan is BADINAGE.... It's a wonderful dance for them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    This 31st entry in the Spenser series takes its inspiration from a notorious American scandal, the collapse of the Enron energy corporation in 2001. Parker doesnt wade too deep into the economic weedsjust a brief introduction to sketchy accounting practices to keep the reader up to speedand adds a large dose of corporate wife-swapping just to keep things interesting. Spenser, hired by Marlene Cowley who is convinced her husband is cheating on her, begins to follow Trent Cowley, and discovers Mrs. This 31st entry in the Spenser series takes its inspiration from a notorious American scandal, the collapse of the Enron energy corporation in 2001. Parker doesn’t wade too deep into the economic weeds—just a brief introduction to sketchy accounting practices to keep the reader up to speed—and adds a large dose of corporate wife-swapping just to keep things interesting. Spenser, hired by Marlene Cowley who is convinced her husband is cheating on her, begins to follow Trent Cowley, and discovers Mrs. Cowley is right: Trent is cheating on her with a woman from Kinergy, the large successful energy company Trent works for. But Spenser discovers something else: that woman is being shadowed by another private detective, and the woman’s husband (who also works for Kinergy) has a private eye tailing him too. Soon he finds himself deep in corporate scandal, so deep he has to hire an accountant to help him figure things out. Some of the usual things Spenser readers expect are here: Susan, Pearl II the Wonder Dog, Healy, Belson, Quirk, Hawk, and Vinnie. Two of the novels characters are particularly interesting: 1) the glad-handing CEO whose speech is crammed with banal genialities, and 2) the radio talk show host who gives romantic advice inspired by the principles of the medieval courtly love tradition. All in all, this is pretty good for a later Spenser. I even liked the parts where he explained the shady accounting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    Parker was always so sparing with words. He learned to say a lot with very little. That was his main thing, as far as I'm concerned. His characters are well established and their words are almost predicable, but comforting and always up to mark. The timeline of the Spenser novels no longer exists. Logically Spenser should be a very old man with no business in fistfights and gunfights. The sense of danger that surrounded Hawk, Vinnie and Quirk is also no longer there. They have become quite tamed Parker was always so sparing with words. He learned to say a lot with very little. That was his main thing, as far as I'm concerned. His characters are well established and their words are almost predicable, but comforting and always up to mark. The timeline of the Spenser novels no longer exists. Logically Spenser should be a very old man with no business in fistfights and gunfights. The sense of danger that surrounded Hawk, Vinnie and Quirk is also no longer there. They have become quite tamed in “old” age, and have lost their double-sided take on life, that was so refreshing in the beginning. Nevertheless, I still see these late novels as refined and comforting examples of character-driven mystery fiction. Moreover the humour throughout the book is a blast… Sometimes I was laughing out loud…I always come back for more, when I’ve read too many books not worth a damn thing! Parker is almost always a safe haven…

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    "'My name is Spenser,' I said. 'To see Randy Frampton.' 'Concerning?' she said. 'I'm trying to establish if that's his first name or a descriptive adjective.'" The wise cracking private eye from Boston returns to tail a hubby who may be straying, and his wife wants the proof if he is. Spenser dives into the bloodthirsty world of high finance, and this bunch is every bit as deceptive and ruthless as his street thugs. Good story and action.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jerry B

    As readers of the authors complete Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series, we now polish off just our third Spenser, of an astonishing set of 41, counting (currently) two additional novels written for Parkers estate by Ace Atkins. We of course note the many similarities between the three series, with likable protagonists who are smart, resourceful, and witty, with fun sidekicks like Hawk and Spike, and even star dogs like Pearl and Rosie. Two of the three are seeing shrinks for relationship As readers of the author’s complete Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series, we now polish off just our third Spenser, of an astonishing set of 41, counting (currently) two additional novels written for Parker’s estate by Ace Atkins. We of course note the many similarities between the three series, with likable protagonists who are smart, resourceful, and witty, with fun sidekicks like Hawk and Spike, and even “star” dogs like Pearl and Rosie. Two of the three are seeing shrinks for relationship issues, while Spenser himself is monogamously (despite a sharp eye for the ladies!) dating a psychologist, so we get a fair dose of “therapist” coaching in almost every tale. And they all have cops buddies, especially the “Statie” Healy. We liked “Business” quite well, even though at times the plot advanced slowly due to a lack of clues or new developments. Spenser is hired to track an apparently cheating CFO husband, only to discover that so is the wife being followed, and so is another top exec associate of the CFO – and then the CFO turns up murdered. It takes our hero quite a while to discover a wife swapping and “free love” situation going on, abetted by a sleazy “love consultant” radio host. Moreover, something is amiss at the executives’ high-flying Enron-type energy firm that seems to be at the root of much of the intrigue. In the end, all becomes clear as Spenser and Hawk host sort of a Nero Wolfe gathering to pit villain vs. villain and eventually explain all. We thought this Spenser was definitely fun enough to salt the remaining 38 (!) into our reading schedule!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    In Parker's 31st Spenser book he covers sex, greed, wife-swapping, a sex guru, hidden debt and killings. That is a lot of stuff in one book. Spenser is hired by a wife to follow her husband around who works at Kinergy to find out if he is cheating on her, and if so, with who. While doing so he runs into another detective who was hired by the husband of the lady who the first husband is cheating on. Then he finds out his client is being followed by another detective to find out if she is cheating In Parker's 31st Spenser book he covers sex, greed, wife-swapping, a sex guru, hidden debt and killings. That is a lot of stuff in one book. Spenser is hired by a wife to follow her husband around who works at Kinergy to find out if he is cheating on her, and if so, with who. While doing so he runs into another detective who was hired by the husband of the lady who the first husband is cheating on. Then he finds out his client is being followed by another detective to find out if she is cheating on the husband. Lots of cheating going on. Then the husband gets killed. Everyone involved is somehow connected to Kinergy. Lots of sexual adventures are going on there and it all seems to be being promoted by the top dogs at the place. Plus the company appears to be doing great financially but Spenser suspects that the company is not doing as good as it appears. Kinergy sounds like a great place for a holiday party. The holiday bonus might not be what you would traditionally think they would be. Employees also appear to be doing more under the mistletoe then kissing. The employee benefit package sounds arousing. Some twists and turns which I always enjoy. Good Hawk and Spenser banter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Clark

    One Spenser story every now and then is good for the soul.

  9. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    BAD BUSINESS (Private investigator) G+ Robert B. Parker 31st Spenser G.P. Putnams Sons, 2004 Hardcover Spenser is hired by Marlene Crowley to find out whether her husband, an executive with Kinergy, is cheating on her. But when he finds Marlene is being watched by a fellow PI hired by her husband, and the woman with whom Marlenes husband is having an affair, is being watched by a third investigator, Spenser decides to find out what is really going on. What Marlenes husband is murdered, then the BAD BUSINESS (Private investigator) – G+ Robert B. Parker – 31st Spenser G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004 – Hardcover Spenser is hired by Marlene Crowley to find out whether her husband, an executive with Kinergy, is cheating on her. But when he finds Marlene is being watched by a fellow PI hired by her husband, and the woman with whom Marlene’s husband is having an affair, is being watched by a third investigator, Spenser decides to find out what is really going on. What Marlene’s husband is murdered, then the head of security for Kinergy, it’s clearly more than a case of wife swapping. *** This was an interesting Spenser as there was must less violence and much more investigation. All the gang is there, but in more realistic roles, although the descriptions of watching Susan eat drives me crazy. The strength is definitely the pacing, characters and excellent dialogue. You are always assured of a few, highly-enjoyable hours with one of Parker’s books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Walsh

    Parker is an addiction. I only add his books to my Goodreads list so I can keep track of which ones I have actually read, and I don't purchase/reserve a duplicate! We all need authors like Robert Parker -- with fun characters, snappy dialog, short chapters, and interesting cases -- in order to mix them in with headier reading. Kinda like comfort food for the mind, rather than spending too many hours in front of the television.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    Parker just keeps turning them out. This is the thirty-first installment of the Spenser series which continues to engage its loyal readers. This time it appears Spenser is about to take on one of those routine requests which helps fund his business when he is approached by a woman who wants him to follow her husband. Marlene Rowley is furious at her husband Trent who she believes is cheating on her. He is the CFO of Kinergy, a successful energy broker and a well known profit making machine. She Parker just keeps turning them out. This is the thirty-first installment of the Spenser series which continues to engage its loyal readers. This time it appears Spenser is about to take on one of those routine requests which helps fund his business when he is approached by a woman who wants him to follow her husband. Marlene Rowley is furious at her husband Trent who she believes is cheating on her. He is the CFO of Kinergy, a successful energy broker and a well known profit making machine. She makes it very clear exactly what she wants, pictures of him with his pants down, graphic evidence she can present in court to embarrass him. She is wealthy, ready to pay whatever his price and demands quick results. Spenser has no difficulty catching Trent Rowley in a compromising situation but when he discovers other private detectives following top Kinergy spouses, including Trent Rowley who has hired someone to follow his wife Marlene, he becomes curious. As a matter of professional courtesy, the private investigators acknowledge what each is doing and pool their information. What emerges is what looks like a complex arrangement of wife swapping. Is this a game of who catches who first, files for divorce and gets most of the assets? What is going on?? Spenser has completed his assignment. He was hired to do one thing and he has done it. He can tell Marlene he has the goods on her husband, can collect his fee and move on, but readers know that is not his nature. When he picks something up he can’t understand, he won’t put it down until he does. He is a hound for the truth. Then things change when a dead body is discovered. Trent Rowley was shot in his office, an event that brings in Captain Healey and the state boys for a murder investigation. Marlene, knowing the spouse is always a suspect, extends her contract with Spenser and asks him to clear her name. Spenser agrees and as he turns his attention to his new mission, two other events occur. The other private investigators disappear and the body of another Kinergy employee has turns up. Spenser tries to understand the interesting arrangement of top executives at Kinergy, meeting CEO Bob Cooper, largely an absentee landlord whose real goal is a seat in the senate and later the presidency and COO Barry Eisner and his wife Ellen. There are three others closely associated with this group: the Director of Security Steve Gavin who appears to have his hands on everything that goes on at Kinergy, popular radio talk show host and hanger on Darrin O’Mara, a sleazy guy with questionable beliefs and an unconventional interpretation of courtly love and the VP for Development Adele McCallister, a woman who wants everything the men want and then wants to rub it in their noses when she gets it. As dead bodies appear Spenser becomes immersed in a volatile mix of predatory sex and financial wizardry with a serial killer stirring the pot. Most of the characters in this outing are simply sketched and don’t elicit our interest or sympathy except for Marlene Rowley, a wealthy angry woman who only talks about herself and how beautiful and incredibly smart she is. Her tirade about the number of company dinners she ran for her husband, the hours she spent making chit chat with his friends, the days she spent at the spa to look good, all paint a picture of a woman scorned, abandoned for a younger more beautiful replacement. She believes her husband is a jerk, someone who would be running a hardware store if it weren’t for the effort she made to get him to the top and keep him there. What makes this character memorable is how it shows Spenser’s ability to slowly but effectively deflate her giant ego as he gathers information about the job she has offered him, which he makes clear he may or may not accept. This is a different Spenser novel with much less violence and weighted more heavily on the investigative side. Parker has done a fine job of explaining some of the deceptive accounting that can lead an unsuspecting company down the garden path. Mort Siegal who touts himself as “the best accountant in the world”, helps Spenser and readers understand those complex financial machinations, aptly demonstrating Parker’s ability to reduce the complex into something simple that everyone can understand. Spenser, true to his nature, ends up in his usual place, with lots of information but unable to understand what it all means and what is really going on. Parker includes all the usual elements on these pages, Spenser’s witty dialogue, words of dedication to the love of his life Susan Silverman, Pearl the Wonder Dog and even Hawk who appears with his latest paramour Cecile, the thoracic surgeon who both lend a helping hand. I must say I am becoming someone annoyed at the number of times we must endure a description of Susan eating, but it is all part of the package. Readers endure that to get the trademark humor, excellent dialogue and the strong pacing that make a Spenser novel enjoyable. It all ends in a scene reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel, with everyone sitting in a crowded room questioned by Spenser as he exposes the culprit. Although this is not one of my favorites in the series, once again Parker has given readers a few pleasant hours with a comfortable and entertaining read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I very seldom, well never, read a book more than once. Robert Parker with his Spencer series is an exception to my rule.....Spencer a Boston P.I. takes on a simple divorce case which turns into a case of depravity and corporate corruption. I will miss Robert Parker with his never aging Spencer and his beautiful Susan along with Hawk and always a dog named Pearl....

  13. 5 out of 5

    Scott A. Miller

    Just average. But with Spenser, Hawk and the rest of Parkers characters, average is still pretty good. Just average. But with Spenser, Hawk and the rest of Parker’s characters, average is still pretty good.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I thought I had read all of Parker's novels, and with his passing, had lost interest. His family or estate seems to have sought out several authors to continue writing novels based on Parker's characters, but having read a couple of them, they are but a shadow of the man's own writing, IMHO. While visiting my daughter and new grandchild, I was browsing the used book section at a local thrift shop when I ran across Bad Business, and to my surprise, it was a Parker original that I had not read. I thought I had read all of Parker's novels, and with his passing, had lost interest. His family or estate seems to have sought out several authors to continue writing novels based on Parker's characters, but having read a couple of them, they are but a shadow of the man's own writing, IMHO. While visiting my daughter and new grandchild, I was browsing the used book section at a local thrift shop when I ran across Bad Business, and to my surprise, it was a Parker original that I had not read. So, I picked it up for only $.20 and read it on the beach at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It wasn't among his best, but it was pretty good, and far better than the imitators. Full of neurotic and annoying clients, and loyal and manly hoodlums helping out their friend, the intrepid and literary detective, Spenser. Not to mention an Enron look-alike company, complete with criminally stupid C-level executives, insipidly amoral spouses, and venal "life consultants," all stirred together in a soupçon of greed and financial manipulation. Not remotely like the business people, consultants, and institutions with which I work regularly, but it would certainly appeal to the causal reader in search of a mystery about the scum of the business world.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol Mcdonald

    Spenser finds the veteran Boston PI tackling corporate crime in a routine yet absorbing outing. As usual, Spenser enters the case at an angle, this time because he's hired by one Marlene Rowley to prove that her husband Trent, CFO of energy firm Kinergy, is cheating on her. Before long the PI learns that marital cheating is all the rage among Kinergy's players, with the hanky-panky orchestrated by radio personality Darrin O'Mara, who runs popular sex seminars on the side. Maybe all that cheating Spenser finds the veteran Boston PI tackling corporate crime in a routine yet absorbing outing. As usual, Spenser enters the case at an angle, this time because he's hired by one Marlene Rowley to prove that her husband Trent, CFO of energy firm Kinergy, is cheating on her. Before long the PI learns that marital cheating is all the rage among Kinergy's players, with the hanky-panky orchestrated by radio personality Darrin O'Mara, who runs popular sex seminars on the side. Maybe all that cheating explains why Spenser keeps running into other PIs hired by Kinergy folk, but it doesn't point to why Trent is found shot dead at Kinergy headquarters. Spenser links Kinergy's slick founder/CEO to the sex ring and blackmails him to gain access to Kinergy's records, unveiling a pattern of accounting deceptions that reveal a company about to go under. There's less violence than usual in this Spenser novel but more detecting, which may explain why there's little of the PI's tough sidekick Hawk but much of his psychologist girlfriend Susan.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Marvello

    The story in this book was reasonably interesting, but it didn't carry the sense of drama that Parker puts into some of his Spenser stories. Although I do like the wry confidence of the main character, the lack of variation in the conversations he has with other characters starts to feel trite after a while. Particularly his conversations with Susan. Their bantering dialog is amusing here and there, but who really talks that way ALL the time? After a while, you almost find yourself rolling your The story in this book was reasonably interesting, but it didn't carry the sense of drama that Parker puts into some of his Spenser stories. Although I do like the wry confidence of the main character, the lack of variation in the conversations he has with other characters starts to feel trite after a while. Particularly his conversations with Susan. Their bantering dialog is amusing here and there, but who really talks that way ALL the time? After a while, you almost find yourself rolling your eyes. I'll keep reading Spenser books because I always find something worthwhile in them. But I do hope Spenser becomes a more complicated individual in future novels.

  17. 4 out of 5

    George

    #31 in the wise cracking Boston private detective Spenser mystery series. What starts off a simple hire by a wife to discover and "get the goods" on what she suspects is her cheating husband quickly turns into something much more complicated. It involves murder, possible corporate fraud and even a dose of a self actualization. A case of interesting characters surrounding the mystery as well as the members of Spenser's "team." Snappy dialogue and humor overlay a well crafted mystery that reads #31 in the wise cracking Boston private detective Spenser mystery series. What starts off a simple hire by a wife to discover and "get the goods" on what she suspects is her cheating husband quickly turns into something much more complicated. It involves murder, possible corporate fraud and even a dose of a self actualization. A case of interesting characters surrounding the mystery as well as the members of Spenser's "team." Snappy dialogue and humor overlay a well crafted mystery that reads very quickly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    The first half of the book was definitely weak. Spenser was basically a bully intimidating everyone he came across by his size. And Susan seemed to be particularly grating. And then at the mid-point, Hawk and Vinnie and a smart-ass CPA showed up and the whole writing style changed. It was almost as if he wrote the first half, put it away for a year, and then started working on it again. For Spenser fans only.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holli

    An okay read, but more than a little frustrating as it seemed to be Spenser going around talking to everyone rather than what I've come to expect from the books. Kind of dull this time around. And I've really gotten seriously tired of the descriptions of how Susan eats and drinks. It's irritating. All right, she eats teeny tiny bites and barely sips anything. Hardly enough to keep a mouse alive. We get it. Enough already!

  20. 5 out of 5

    M.L. Bushman

    I love Robert Parker's Spencer. And he's at his wisecracking best in this book. The one liners are of such a caliber as to make me wish I'd wrote them. I laughed out loud several times, something I rarely do when reading even humorous material.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dru

    Love Spenser books. Lots of humor amidst the mystery. But he always gets it solved. His interaction with people is hilarious. Loved the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Wilson

    NUMBER 31 weeee Isn't it awful when you have executives in a company that just never have enough money. Buying things "they" can't even afford, to impress people they don't even like !!!! Yes, that is what a lot of people do! I have problems sometimes with "wanting" a new car, but then cure myself by getting in Kelly's and pretending. Page 29 . . . PEARL THE WONDER DOG II (only indication Pearl died, poor fur baby) CHAPTER 63 --- THE best chapter in the book. It was so much fun reading this NUMBER 31 weeee Isn't it awful when you have executives in a company that just never have enough money. Buying things "they" can't even afford, to impress people they don't even like !!!! Yes, that is what a lot of people do! I have problems sometimes with "wanting" a new car, but then cure myself by getting in Kelly's and pretending. Page 29 . . . PEARL THE WONDER DOG II (only indication Pearl died, poor fur baby) CHAPTER 63 --- THE best chapter in the book. It was so much fun reading this chapter because, you know, Spenser gets so much SATISFACTION, so does HAWK weeeeee CHAPTER 64 --- you will just smile during this chapter . . .

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Maller

    Rereading a Spencer novel from a while ago helped clear my head after reading about contemporary politics in Fear.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    For Spenser, a rare Agatha Christie denouement. A fine read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Enjoyable airplane book. Spenser fixes Enron!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I enjoyed this a fair amount more than I liked the other Spenser mystery that I read ("Widow's Walk"). The two yarns were fairly similar, but I liked the writing and the style of this one more. This was snappier, and there was more of the cool, low-key Parker wit in evidence here. For some reason, Mantegna's reading is better too (it was audiobook). Like the other title, this one concerns a corrupt business and the efforts of a few superficially respectable people to cover up their dirty I enjoyed this a fair amount more than I liked the other Spenser mystery that I read ("Widow's Walk"). The two yarns were fairly similar, but I liked the writing and the style of this one more. This was snappier, and there was more of the cool, low-key Parker wit in evidence here. For some reason, Mantegna's reading is better too (it was audiobook). Like the other title, this one concerns a corrupt business and the efforts of a few superficially respectable people to cover up their dirty dealings, both financial and sexual. This one also had a classic early clue/detail which one forgets as one reads, but provides the key as to who the real culprit is. Spenser is brought into a very odd situation just as it is beginning to unravel and/or collapse. He has been hired by a woman to follow her husband, whom she suspects of cheating. Spenser initially does not want the job, but gives in and becomes embroiled in the growing mess. It turns out that someone else has also hired private eyes to follow the other people involved in the suspected trysting, and then the guy that Spenser has been following ends up suddenly shot to death in his office. Not long after, the head of security for his energy company (Kynergy, apparently patterned on Enron) is also mysteriously, and apparently expertly, murdered. With help from his team of supporters (girlfriend/psychologist Susan Silverman, tough and drily witty Black dude Hawk, and equally tough Vinnie), Spenser begins an investigation. This time he is working along the same lines as the cops and does not run into problems with them. An interesting wild card in this situation is the presence of a man named Darren O'Mara, who runs supposedly romantic Victorian love seminars that are in fact a cover for some free-lovin' and wife swapping. Parker clearly does not concur with this liberal view of romance. There is a fair amount of sexual game-playing going on, along with the murders and the financial double-dealing. All in all, this was an enjoyable and convincing mystery that, like a lot of books in this genre, turns out to be supportive of middle class values by displaying the myriad ways in which they can be violated (cheating, stealing, free love, murder, homosexuality, to name a few).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    This is a typical Spenser book... ..which I happen to like. I think I've read them all and usually I am pleased. Bad Business was a keeper. Oh, to be sure, there's the required comments about Spenser and Susan's relationship and why they don't want to get married. There's the required comments about Spenser and Hawk's relationship and how they'd die for each other, etc. There's the required comments about Spenser's checkered career in law enforcement. It's a formula to be sure, but I like the This is a typical Spenser book... ..which I happen to like. I think I've read them all and usually I am pleased. Bad Business was a keeper. Oh, to be sure, there's the required comments about Spenser and Susan's relationship and why they don't want to get married. There's the required comments about Spenser and Hawk's relationship and how they'd die for each other, etc. There's the required comments about Spenser's checkered career in law enforcement. It's a formula to be sure, but I like the formula. Spenser's comments and observations are pure gold and the case was interesting because it (sort of) explains what happened to Enron. I guess I'm over the fact that Spenser never ages (Parker must have been hearing comments because he includes a NY Times review that excuses this fact inside the dust cover at the beginning of the synopsis) - it doesn't bother me with James Bond, why should it bother me with Spenser? Read all of my reviews of Robert B. Parker's Spenser books at: http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/searc...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim Healy

    This entry in the Spenser series is a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading it a lot. Part of the fun is that many of our old friends are here. Hawk, of course, is a given as is Susan. We also see Healy, Quirk, and Belsen during the course of the story. Vinnie Morris is here, working as a bodyguard. Rita Fiore also appears and advises. She even helps to wrap up the story. And of course, Pearl the Wonder Dog version 2.0 is here, too. Notably missing (to me), is Henry Cimoli; no trips to the Harbor Health This entry in the Spenser series is a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading it a lot. Part of the fun is that many of our old friends are here. Hawk, of course, is a given as is Susan. We also see Healy, Quirk, and Belsen during the course of the story. Vinnie Morris is here, working as a bodyguard. Rita Fiore also appears and advises. She even helps to wrap up the story. And of course, Pearl the Wonder Dog version 2.0 is here, too. Notably missing (to me), is Henry Cimoli; no trips to the Harbor Health Club in this book. Most of the fun here, though, is the result of the story. This is a single plot line tale about the shenanigans around an energy trading company. Think Enron. There are enough aspects of what's going on to keep us interested and guessing up to the end. As always, your mileage may vary, but I liked this one a lot.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rosebud

    This was an ok book and a quick read in the Spenser series. I hope to finish the entire series, but may stop with the ones actually written before Robert Parker died. This wasn't one of my favorites, and I wish he would expand on the relationships between the continuing characters rather than using the same talking points on each character. I have to admit I'm getting a little tired of Hawk pretending to be dumb black man and Spenser's obsession inside his about Susan's appearance. I'd like it This was an ok book and a quick read in the Spenser series. I hope to finish the entire series, but may stop with the ones actually written before Robert Parker died. This wasn't one of my favorites, and I wish he would expand on the relationships between the continuing characters rather than using the same talking points on each character. I have to admit I'm getting a little tired of Hawk pretending to be dumb black man and Spenser's obsession inside his about Susan's appearance. I'd like it better if the characters expanded beyond these stereotypes--maybe they are not as relevant as they were during the 70s when he Parker started writing the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    You know what to expect with a "Spencer" novel, and you get it: fast pace, relationships built on wise cracks, familiar characters. This one starts well with Spencer investigating an adulterous husband and finding himself surrounded by other detectives tailing other participants of the "triangle." It goes into rote mode after that, however. With the exception of the Spencer-Susan dialogues, which I've always found embarrassing and silly, I enjoy the rest of it: super tough Hawk, Spencer's You know what to expect with a "Spencer" novel, and you get it: fast pace, relationships built on wise cracks, familiar characters. This one starts well with Spencer investigating an adulterous husband and finding himself surrounded by other detectives tailing other participants of the "triangle." It goes into rote mode after that, however. With the exception of the Spencer-Susan dialogues, which I've always found embarrassing and silly, I enjoy the rest of it: super tough Hawk, Spencer's asides, the dumb henchmen, etc. Nothing special here, but when you're stuck in an airport with lots of time and little energy, Spencer's your man.

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