Valediction Paperback – 1985
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There were at least three kinds of cops in Harvard Yard: a scattering of Cambridge cops, gray-haired mostly, with faces out of County Mayo; portly old men in brown uniforms and no sidearms who guarded the gates; and squadrons of Harvard University police who wore tailored blue uniforms and expensive black gun belts, and looked like graduates of the Los Angeles Police Academy. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
More than most offerings in this series so far, # 11 VALEDICTION concluded a catharsis which had been building through previous plots. The theme set by the title and dedication in THE WIDENING GYRE, # 10, continued to gyrate here, accumulating insight about the center holding (at the cliff-edge of a workable level of obsession), weathering The Storm, using as Super Glue a commitment to Capital "L" LOVE.
Even so, I believe that a reader could open this offering in the series as a first taste of Spenser and easily slip into the plot (more like willingly fall down a well) and enjoy it. I'm thankful, though, that I received the addictive effect of having carefully read the previous 10 books in order, prior to approaching VALEDICTION.
The solitary, diary-narrative-style set in GYRE continued in VALEDICTION, yet with a gradual erosion of the set-apart, lonely P. I. Emotions ran (and rutted mesmerizing-ly) so deeply that, especially in retrospect, I felt more like I had lived within this book instead of reading its words. I fell so far into the story that I'm not able to immediately recall details of the action, though (they were abundant?) there was plenty (of delicious detail(s?) and apothecary action).
I was particularly intrigued by purposely-parallel-situations exposing various levels-of-obsessions. Parker used Spenser's male client as a juxtaposition of nearly identical feelings of loss endured in a contrasted way to Spenser's handling of Susan's journey taking her further and further away. The precise way in which Susan initiated her abandonment of Spenser was quietly shocking, to the reader as well as to Spenser.Read more ›
He is asked to investigate the disappearance of a woman, which leads him to an unusual religious cult. Nothing is as it seems and Spenser makes mistakes that nearly get him killed. This book describes him as a powerful, ruthless and yet very vulnerable person. Parker takes the vulnerability to the edge of believability, but wisely pulls back from that point. Despite his anguish and lack of interest in living, Spenser is still a formidable fighting machine, wisecracking with friends and foes alike.
Spenser beds a woman who works near him, and afterward he sleeps for the first time since Susan left. However, that relationship ends when Spenser kills four of the five killers sent to eliminate him. Unlike Susan, this woman cannot accept the fact that Spenser is forced to kill people in his line of work.
This is a Spenser book that many will dislike and others will consider their favorite. The romantic vulnerability of Spenser has always been there, but in this book it is greatly expanded. If you like romance, then you will enjoy it. However, if your tastes are more for the action, then this may be one of your least favorite novels in the series.
One of the best things that can be said about Valediction is that it sets up the events in one of the best Spenser novels to date, A Catskill Eagle. That alone is enough to make it worth reading. Itï¿½s also a little heaver on The Continuing Saga of Spenser and Susan than many Spenser novels; judge as you will and buy accordingly. Somewhere beneath all that, thereï¿½s a mystery waiting to happen. In this case, Spenser is hired by one of his foster childï¿½s dance instructors to find said instructorï¿½s girlfriend, whom he believes has been kidnapped by a sect of religious extremists. The story sounds wonky from the beginning, but what seems a little off at first ends up being stranger than anyone involved ever imagined.
The cast list reads rather like a Spenserï¿½s Greatest Hits novel. Almost everyone in here has popped up before in a Spenser novel, from kids to hoods. The framework of the characters is already set up, and the plot pretty much writes itself. Itï¿½s empty calories, the kind of stuff youï¿½d never catch the main character eating. However, this book is less about the mystery therein than it is about Spenser himself and how his changing relationship with Susan affects his own outlook on life. It sets the book apart somewhat, and that, combined with the events in the next book it sets up, makes this one a worthwhile addition to the canon. ***
Right out of the box, you know this is going to be a nerve-wracking story. In the opening scene, Spenser has just come from Susan's Ph.D. grad ceremony when she drops the atomic bomb that she is moving to San Francisco for a new job. This sets the stage for Spenser's moods throughout this book.
Spenser's friend, Paul, asks him to look into a wherein Paul's boss, Tommy Banks, believes that his girlfriend has been kidnapped and brainwashed by a religous cult. While we learn that Banks may not be the most honest citizen, it really doesn't matter. For if you are in Spenser's way in this novel, you are in grave danger.
On a lighter note, Spenser meets, goes out and seduces the woman he has flirted with across the street via flirtatious smiles from their respective office windows. This relationship takes on a more serious tone but, can it last? Will Susan return to Spenser?
Parker takes you down a variety of paths in this one. Different for Parker but a good read.
Most recent customer reviews
I have been a Robert B. Parker fan for years. I purchased this book to fill in a hole in my collection of his work. Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2012 by DDC
He rarely disappoints, and he rarely surprises. Parker is as dependable as they come, and so it is with Valediction. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2003 by vanishingpoint
This book leads into my favorite spenser, A Catskill Eagle, but is excellent all alone. This time we see Spenser after Susan has left him and he's tortured by her absence, not... Read morePublished on March 2 2003 by John M Barra
As soon as I read the stanza from John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" telling us how "lover's love cannot admit absence, beaus it doth remove those... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2001 by Lawrance Bernabo
This is the book in which Susan Silverman ~ that's Dr. Silverman to you and me ~ leaves Spenser for the West Coast, freedom, and the attempt to be someone apart from Spenser. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2000 by Elsie Wilson
This is another Spenser and Hawk story set in Boston with much of it concentrated in the Back Bay section. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2000 by Peter Kenney