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Hush Money [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 14 2002 Spenser (Book 26)
Spenser has his hands full when he takes on two cases at once. In the first, a high-minded university might be hiding a killer within a swamp of political correctness. And in the other, Spenser comes to the aid of a stalking victim, only to find himself the unwilling object of the woman's dangerous affection.

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From Amazon

Sometimes a detective's life is all work for no pay. As a favor to his buddy Hawk, Spenser agrees to investigate a man unjustly denied tenure. Then Spenser's girlfriend, Susan, asks Spenser to help stop a stalker. Plenty of work, sure, but all done pro bono. "Two cases at a time. I thought about having 'Master Sleuth' added to my business cards." As the cases unfold, Spenser (and Hawk) charm and batter their way past policemen, stockbrokers, hit men, white supremacists, an unstable woman, and a stuffy tenure committee. Author Robert B. Parker tells a good story, but his real strength is in his dialog--the rhythm of which Burt Reynolds captures perfectly. A fantastic reader, Reynolds uses a wide range of voices and accents to bring Parker's characters to life. (Running time: 3 hours, 2 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite his quarter century on Boston's mean streets (he debuted in The Godwulf Manuscript in 1974), Parker's retrograde yet hip PI Spenser can still punch, sleuth and wisecrack with the best of them. This time out, Spenser looks into the case of Robinson Nevins, a conservative African-American professor denied tenure, perhaps for his alleged affair with a male student, Prentice Lamont, who has committed suicide. Spenser's hard-eyed stroll through the cloistered world of academia brings him into contact with Amir Abdullah, a black professor who is theatrically militant about African-American issues despite a long list of sexual conquests that includes the leader of a white supremacist organization. Sexual conquest is also on the mind of K.C. Roth, a pretty woman beset by insecurity and prey to a stalker. When Spenser and his sidekick, Hawk, persuade her sinister admirer to desist, K.C.'s fragile emotions lead her to fall hard for Spenser, and the stalked becomes the stalker. Naturally, Spenser's longtime lover, Susan, is less than amused. Readers who find the Spenser chronicles cute or contrived probably won't change their minds with this entry. Beyond dispute, however, is Parker's reliably gossamer narrative touch and, in this particular instance, his skilled brewing of suspense within the academic setting. Fans will also enjoy unexpected revelations about Hawk's background, Spenser's serving of justice with a vengeance and, as usual, prose that's as clean as a sea breeze.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Outside my window a mixture of rain and snow was settling into slush on Berkeley Street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good issues, not quite hit upon squarely though Feb. 26 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For much of the series, the characters in Spenser books with the notable exception of Rachel Wallace are heterosexual. Of late, though, Parker has introduced detective Farrell, a gay, and in this installment, he examines attitudes toward the gay life style. One problem, though, and this is talked out in the book, is the fact that the majority of people Spenser meets are shady in one way or another, be they of a different ethnic background, or sexual preferance, or whatever.
We do learn of an incident in Hawk's background along with a little more information as we meet his mentor and the mentor's son.
Spenser actually is working two cases here, both pro bono, one for Hawk and the other for Susan. There's irony here. In a previous book, Spenser tried to help her ex-husband, and now for one of her friends. Both times, Susan finds herself betrayed by those she thought she knew.
By the way, I notice more and more criticism lately of Susan Silverman's presence in the books. But she is an essential character. Spenser has a code of ethics and there are times that he feels he has to violate that code in order to do the right thing. This causes enough turmoil that, let's face it, the guy needs a shrink, but is very unlikely to seek one out. His falling in love with one neatly solves the problem. Hence, Susan.
So the story has some failings, but basically should give you four or five enjoyable hours while you read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Parker has grown into a major writer June 25 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert Parker has grown into a major writer. He began as a modern-day writer of hard-boiled detective novels -- one of the many heirs to the tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Boston as the locale, Hawk as the sidekick, Susan as the confidante and lover -- these recur in title after title. But Parker has, on the whole, not succumbed to repetition: his characters have difficulties, grow, interact. Still, no one would claim that his grip on character is that of Chandler nor his insight into psychology is that of Ross MacDonald. Nor are his plots as intricate as many mysteries, but then hard-boiled detectives always -- Spenser is no exception -- subscribe to the dictum (Saul Bellow's line in another context, in HENDERSON THE RAIN KING) that "truth comes in blows."
But HUSH MONEY reinforces what has been a growing realization on the part of Parker's readers: that he has become a master of repartee, or dialogue that is direct, crisp, witty. The joy of a Parker novel has become, in the past eight or nine years, the joy of encountering language that zips and crackles, as crisp and astringent as biting into a stick of cold celery. He is not unlike -- and this will be a strange comparison -- a Jane Austen for our age: his characters speak the lines we ourselves would like to speak, if only we were quick-minded enough and had a deep fund of cool and humor. We can be happy encountering great dialogue, and today only Elmore Leonard writes dialogue that is as much fun as Parker's.
So like his other recent work, this novel is a joy to read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Heat Sept. 16 2001
Format:Hardcover
A bit far out but if you need to waste time this is a winner.
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Hush Money" begins with Hawk brining Spenser a client; Robinson Nevins, the son of Hawk's boyhood mentor, has been denied tenure at the University because of rumors that he was the lover of Prentice Lamont, a student and gay activist who committed suicide. Of course, as we have long come to expect with Robert B. Parker's novels in this series, no one will talk to our hero who eventually finds out the case is more and more complicated. There is also a secondary case involving a "friend" of Susan's, K. C. Roth, the victim of a stalker who finds our hero the proverbial white knight come to rescue her from any and all evils. This case gives Spenser something to do while the main case moves slowly along. The resolution of the main plot line is perhaps the most over the top resolution since the James Bondian climax of "A Catskill Eagle." I have spent the winter reading all of the Spenser novels in order and this has to be the most convoluted and complex case in the bunch and one of the few times Parker has really stretched credulity with me. Perhaps because I am defrocked college professor I have enjoyed Spenser's encounters over the years with various professors and administrators in their academic bastions (after all, this is where we started in "The Godwulf Manuscript"), but I have also appreciated the fact that such characters are drawn by Parker in lighter and darker shades of gray. "Hush Money" provides his best encounters which such intellectual denizens.
"Hush Money" is a slightly better than average Spenser story. The high points of this novel are when Hawk finally reveals some details about his life before meeting Spenser and when Susan decks someone (she also warns them they will "be sleeping with the fishes").
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Twos Dec 30 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hush Money is notable in a number of ways, and the number for which it is most notable is two.
Most obviously, this may well be the first book in which Parker describes Spenser on two cases simultaneously. This has the advantage of keeping the action fresh; unlike the pig on the cover, the plot never gets stuck in the mud. It's a nice feature.
But the other two which comes to mind is the number of books Parker has been writing each year. I feel this results in a lack of polish in his late work. His work would be improved by more focus on each book -- one per year is enough for most authors of quality work, and I think Parker should take that as a model.
Hush Money is a decent read. Again, Spenser resists intimidation by the heavies. Again, Spenser resists temptation from a highly attractive woman. Again, Spenser and Hawk flex their muscle. Again, Spenser confronts controversial social issues. The usual.
But the usual isn't bad. Parker's writing, his description and dialogue, are always enjoyable even if the stories aren't as fresh as they once were. If you're new to Parker, I recommend going back to the early works and starting the series in sequence. If you get this far, you're obviously a fan, have a lot invested in the characters, and you'll like Hush Money. But if you're a general fan of detective fiction, you might be disappointed by jumping right to his late work. It's more about character, more about social issues, and less about detection, mystery, or suspense.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Detective Fun.
Hush Money was my first Parker read. It won't be my last. His name has been familiar for years, but until recently his books hadn't floated atop my reading pile. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2000 by Christopher B. Jonnes
3.0 out of 5 stars I have liked Spenser, but this was definitely disappointing
I've read a lot of the Spenser books, and I've always enjoyed them, but this latest effort was below par. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2000 by Dr. Christopher Coleman
4.0 out of 5 stars Plot? Who needs a plot?
A Spenser novel. Not much else to say. Parker can, as far as i'm concerned, write about Spenser for as long as he writes. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2000 by Elsie Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spenser touch with some flaws
Spenser hits his 25th anniversary with this one! Hawk gets him a case looking into a tenure denial, while Susan wants him to help with a stalking. As usual, nothing is simple. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2000 by Lisa Shea
4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser Still Smug; Hawk Still Hawk; Susan Still a Pain
It's obvious that Robert B. Parker still enjoys idolizing himself as private-eye Spenser. The books are still witty, the characters still engaging and, since the flabby... Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2000 by Patrick Burnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer reading.
I feel obliged to give Parker a 5 on this book because I enjoyed it so much. While it may not be the greatest mystery, I thought it was one of his best. Read more
Published on July 31 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars Nope
In this one, Spenser undergoes a thorough study of his homoerotic relationship with Hawk, while girlfriend Susan tries to resolve her electra complex. Read more
Published on July 27 2000 by Wilson Sargeson
2.0 out of 5 stars A big disappointment
I'll be brief. Why waste the time? Of all of the Spencer novels that I have read, and I have read many, this was the least appealing. Read more
Published on June 26 2000 by L. D Sears
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