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Crimson Joy [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 2 1989 Spenser
They call him the "Red Rose Killer" because he leaves one on the body of each woman he kills. But then the madman's eyes turn to Susan Silverman, and Spenser is on the case. For when Susan's life is in danger, Spenser becomes a hard-fisted, unstoppable locomotive--determined to bring the criminal to justice no matter what the odds!((Dell--Fiction)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The hero of Parker's bestsellers and a popular TV series, Boston private eye Spenser tells his 15th story, this time about events that affect him personally as well as his psychologist lover Susan Silverman and their buddy, Hawk. A husband murders his wife imitating the "Red Rose Killer," a serial murderer who has been leaving a rose on the corpses of his victims, middle-aged black women. When the spouse admits his guilt, government higher-ups assure feminist and ethnic pressure groups that the elusive maniac has been caught: case closed. But Spenser's friends in homicide, angered by the cover-up, enlist him and Hawk in an unofficial investigation that seems to implicate some of Susan's patients. Resenting the intrusion on her professional territory, Susan nevertheless cooperates. Spenser and Hawk, as guards, are therefore present during the psychologist's session with the dreaded but pitiable killer and the ensuing tense, final scene. Parker's biting wit, onomatopoetic dialogue and convincing characters are again notable attractions. So are details on the ambience of Boston and environs, except for one slip surprising in so accurate an author: discussions of the possibility of electrocution in Massachusetts, where there is no capital punishment. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Tightly constructed prose and well-paced action characterize this exciting entry in the famous Spenser series. Psychotherapist Susan Silverman appropriates a more central role when a serial murderer turns out to be one of her clients. Working with two out-of-favor policemen to trap the suspect, Spenser and Hawk protect the independent Susan while she confronts the killer. Parker skillfully weaves Susan's objective theorizing, Spenser's mot juste narrative, and the killer's subjective emotions into fascinating psychological interplay. Smoother, better focused, and less cryptic than last year's Pale Kings and Princes . REK
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Red and Green Do Not Always Mean Christmas. April 27 2007
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A surprise or two for Spenser fans Jan. 6 2003
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Crimson Joy Sept. 10 2002
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best 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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3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Spenser fare, for Better or for Worse Aug. 30 2001
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch!
What a relief! After reading A Catskill Eagle I started to worry that Parker was losing me with his "Spencer as Rambo" style. Read more
Published on June 13 2001 by John D. Costanzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser is back bigtime and after the "Red Rose Killer"
After the epic conclusion of "A Catskill Eagle," Robert B. Parker's next couple of Spenser novels seemed rather pale in comparison. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2001 by Lawrance M. Bernabo
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story
This is a departure for Parker, as some of the story is told from the point of view of the villain. It's a very suspenseful read, and I liked how how strong Susan was; you may... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Parker at his best
I have been reading Spenser since I was a teenager and this is one of the best I have read.
The case in the story, a serail killer who leaves a red rose at the scene of the... Read more
Published on June 2 2000 by Jeanna180
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked on Spenser
I'll start with a confession: I've never read Robert B. Parker before. And I didn't know anything about Spenser before I met him in Crimson Joy. Read more
Published on April 6 1998 by Abigail Weed Howard (aabigail@aol.com)
4.0 out of 5 stars From the dark side of Boston to the dark side of the soul
In Crimson Joy, the indomitable Spenser turns his focused, deadly attention to tracking down a psychopathic killer who leaves a red rose on each of his female victims. Read more
Published on March 26 1998
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