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Crimson Joy Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2 1989


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (April 2 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440203430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440203438
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Sheridan Street in Jamaica Plain goes uphill from Center Street for about two hundred yards, crests, and heads down toward Chestnut Avenue. Read the first page
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This time the reader was grabbed by the neck and held for a while as CRIMSON JOY opened onto an in progress investigation of a fresh murder scene of the Red Rose killer's "signature." From there the plot ran relentlessly into the seamless consequences and serious carnivals of media, political, and social "consciousness" pushes polluting professional pursuits of a serial killer. Parker had precisely pegged the gestalt of this "scene" and its take-off sidelines, with this # 15 in the Spenser series featuring the king pin of Boston homicide detectives, Lieutenant Quirk. Serving as his posse were Sergeant Belson, Spenser, Susan, and Hawk.

Presented on page 67 of the current mass market paperback, was one of the most cleanly accurate dialogues I've read of the position and essential attitude of a professional police person in charge of such a situation. Quirk, the good-guy cop (those types do exist), was confronted by representatives of the worst examples of human self-enhancement posed as social consciousness, from a shark-frenzied media, higher-echelon police presence, racial political-punk, religious frock, and feminist frizz ("The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly," exist in each of those Rings).

And the mad-cap chase was on.

Realistically, though, with Parker unable to present it any other way, this type of investigation gets nowhere fast, through grueling, non-stop, prime effort of dedicated noses sniffing dirt, and grinding stones.

(I worked for a couple months in 1985 in Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington, with a couple private detectives trying to pick up the Green River Killer's trail. I'm still not sure what trail we were following, but it didn't give a successful conclusion at that time, fast, slow, or otherwise.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There's more than one interesting twist in this installment of the Spenser series, evidence that Parker's working hard to stay out of a rut.
First, this is a bit more serious than usual in that the unknown killer is a psychopathic serial killer. Our hero isn't quite up to his usual quota of wisecracks.
Secondly, some of the narrative is from the killer's viewpoint, a first for a Spenser novel.
Thirdly, there is a hint at the Harry Bosch type conflict between solving a case and playing police politics & protecting the police image. (This was written 4 years before the first of the Connolly series)
And fourth, there's a real testing of Spenser's relationship with Susan as there's a serious conflict between his need to protect her and her need for autonomy & adherence to her profession's practice of condifentiality between doctor & patient.
The reader might have a bit of trouble suspending disbelief over the points of Spenser's openly working with the Boston police and of the extreme coincidental factor, but it is an entertaining read up to the average Spenser.
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By A Customer on Sept. 10 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My husband and I are big fans of the Spenser series. He has read all of them; I have not, but I'm working on that. My husband wasn't all that crazy about this book and the following three (Playmates, Stardust, Pastime). I can't get into Playmates because I'm not a basketball fan (AT ALL), but I found Crimson Joy to be pretty good. I like psychological thriller type stuff. This may not be the most thrilling psychological mystery one could read, but I liked it a lot for what I think it is intended to be. The only reason I bring up the other three books is because if you read Crimson Joy and you like it, you might be more likely to enjoy the next three. I haven't gotten there yet, but I intend to read all of them (if I can get through that dang basketball!). I won't go into the plot, you can get that from other reviews and the synopsis. I do recommend the book, though, and that's what counts here.
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By David J. Lodge on Sept. 9 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read all of the Spenser novels, and I believe this is one of the very best. It delves into previously unseen areas of Spenser's relationship with Susan, especially when their professions come into conflict. When Susan becomes a potential victim of a vicious serial killer and may have knowledge, through her practice as a psychologist, that could help catch him, Spenser runs up against the doctor-patient confidentiality that helps define her as a therapist. He must quell his normal bull in a china shop urges and work around her rather than irreparably damaging their relationship and her opinion of herself.
Crimson Joy is less physical than other novels in the series, with a heavier emphasis on the psychological aspects of the case. It also adds a rather effective new twist: some of the chapters are told from the killer's point of view, rather than Spenser's. All in all, it's an excellent read, and a very well put together story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a typical Spenser for Hire book, for better or for worse. You know the routine by now: capable of a read in a single sitting; the witty repartee; the sassy and cocksure internal narrative by Spenser; the sparring with Hawk to mask the mutual feelings of respect; the surprisingly clever descriptions of characters; the Boston settings depicted with pride. Parker is to be commended on his choice of words, because although his stories are so brief, they say a lot and don't waste much time. In fact, I describe the Spenser stories as compact more than short. They are powerful in that Parker never lets you forget he is a wordsmith, and capable of great bursts of creativity and humor.
Crimson Joy is not as action packed as other Spenser books, and is more cerebral. Susan plays more of a role in this one, too, and thus it has a lot of psychological overtones. This makes the book interesting from a clinical sense, but some readers might miss the fighting and machismo. This book is kind of sexy, too, in terms of its exploration of Spenser and Susan's relationship, though it never stoops to being crude or raunchy. [I keep forgetting these are just racy enough to prevent their becoming family books, since I find myself wanting to recommend them to folks of all ages.]
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