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Valediction [Paperback]

4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
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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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars My Rev. of "Valediction" Aug. 2 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. I find his rapid advance of plot and character development interesting and it holds my attention well. I did find the progress of Spenser and Susan's relationship out of character and rather disturbing to the point of confusion. Susan especially was not worthy of respect and is losing a certain likeable quality she had originally. Hawk was just a fool in this book - not like him.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This might not be much of a review since the only word which has come to mind since I've finished the read is, "WOW."

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.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Spenser is without a doubt as tough as they come. However, he also can be as sappy as they come, with emotional vulnerabilities that can get him killed. The book opens with Spenser and Susan Silverman attending commencement at Harvard, where she is awarded a Ph. D in clinical psychology. Shortly after this event, Susan informs him that she is moving to Los Angeles in an attempt to be alone for awhile. Spenser is devastated, and Paul Giacomin moves in with him in an attempt to help him through the crisis. Hawk and Spenser's other friends do what they can, but he has lost much of his will to live.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Ol' Parker Aug. 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
He rarely disappoints, and he rarely surprises. Parker is as dependable as they come, and so it is with Valediction. The premise in this one is that Susan is taking a break from Spenser, so Spenser is a tad more daredevillish -- but still, it's Spenser through and through. Patented wisecracks, cute self-deprecations, verbal jabs with Hawk, the formula that keeps going and going and going. Our favorite Boston private eye tackles cults in this novel, but don't expect anything deep or grandiose -- just expect to be thoroughly entertained.
If you're new to Spenser, you'll find this a great read. If you're an old pro, you won't be disappointed. And if you hate Spenser, well, why the heck are you reading it?
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best Spensers, with an s March 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 really sure he wants to live anymore, he gets sloppy at his job. His dreams when he is under the knife are very powerful. There are many great Spenser novels in his thirty-year history but in terms of character development he changes more through Valediction and A Catskill Eagle than he does in the other 28 books combined. This book also has the best action/survival scene in the whole series when an attempt is made by five men on Spenser's life, his actions are CHARACTER-DEFINING in a way a million words of dialogue can't convey.
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