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From Publishers Weekly
Parker ( Playmates ) adds another winner to his tried-and-true series with this electrifying story told in the familiar low-voltage style of Spenser, Boston private eye. Spenser's love, psychologist Susan, acting as consultant to a TV film crew shooting locally, persuades Spenser and his loyal sidekick Hawk to guard the show's star, Jill Joyce. Although Joyce's behavior off-camera epitomizes depravity, Susan and Spenser recognize the fear behind the woman's mask. The detective investigates the threatening phone calls and letters that precede the murder of Joyce's stand-in, a tragic mistake that pushes him to the limit in his search for the killer. Success comes as the final revelation in a drama crammed with the unexpected. A nice surprise is the role played by three mongrels Spenser rescues from a pound. The dignified, impeccably mannered dogs upstage the entire cast of characters in a performance that reveals genuine star quality. Doubleday Book Club selection; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It is a very trying case for Spenser has to put up with Jill’s erratic behavior, for some time there is no evidence that it is not Jill herself trying to gain even more sympathy and attention. There are times when Spenser is tempted to simply give up the job. However, when her stunt double is gunned down, he knows that the threat is real and he pursues it hard in the usual Spenser style.
This is also the book that introduces the characters of del Rio and Chollo, the successful Hispanic mobster and his ace gunman. They appear in later Spenser adventures. The ending is a solid closure as Spenser once again demonstrates that he is a thug with a heart, taking it upon himself to make Jill right again, at least to the extent that he can.
Parker is a master at spending the majority of the pages setting the stage for the revelatory scene(s) along with future books and he demonstrates that skill once again. Even the worst Spenser novels are well worth reading and this one is several levels above that.
I became more intrigued and, following Spenser on an errand into the countryside, found myself transported to sceneries reminding me of Raymond Chandler. The further the story went, the more I was caught not by the somewhat stereotype plot but by the vivid language. My reading hours had been much more pleasant than expected.
Of course, I became intrigued aid looked up the author. He had died only in 2010, had been very popular and – surprise! – had not only written a sequel to Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep (which I shall try to find) but also published a novel together with that great master. On my shelf, Robert B. Parker will now find a place not far from Chandler, Dashiel Hammet and Josephine Tey.
Again, a Spenser novel kept my focus away from the snow-packed, icy curves of a Rocky Mountain corridor over the Continental Divide on Colorado State highway 50, edging the high, steep cliffs over Monarch Pass. If any feat would recommend the ability of a novel to hold a reader captive, that should.
The fascination in this # 17 in the series seemed to pivot around a flickering disgust Vs appeal of the Star of the plot, Jill Joyce, as those dark/bright flashes played through Jill's evolving relationships with Spenser, Susan, and residual characters, who mostly viewed "Jillie" as a "high-octane pain in the ..." (quoting one the book's descriptive terms of her). Parker worked an amazing double-sided realism into the plot, contrasting Jill's spoiled, impatient, sour personality; to her youthful vulnerabilities, her having not one true friend, and her carrying the weight of the job title's specific and actual demands. With drunk, druggie, an nympho added to the liabilities in this Star's aura, the scales slipped south, and provided Spenser with a challenge he couldn't refuse. I may have left out a couple descriptive terms of the down side of Jill Joyce's personality, but guessing what they might be would be a snap.
STARDUST is a classic character study, and an excellent example of fine writing, especially given Parker's vivid, delightfully sardonic descriptions of various settings, descriptions based on weather conditions and wealth divergence, contrasting Boston and surrounding areas with the San Diego and LA extended environments.Read more ›
But when Spenser's on the job it's professionalism all the way which makes for a very fiery employer / employee relationship. It also makes for some most amusing situations and gives ample opportunity for Spenser to display his flair for detective work. The relationship between Spenser and Susan is comfortable, as ever, and between Spenser and Hawk as solid as a rock.
The sanctuary of a Spenser book is always a welcome haven for weary readers with the pace of the book high and the pages turning quickly. Light entertainment at it's best; if you're after mystery with a liberal dash of humour then you're in for a real treat here.
Most recent customer reviews
Parker has written another good book. Spencer is hired to baby sit a TV star. He is to protect her and also find out who is trying to kill her. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2001 by Mac Blair