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Walking Shadow [Mass Market Paperback]

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

Jan. 11 2002 Spenser (Book 21)
In a shabby waterfront town, an actor is shot dead onstage. Granted, the script left much to be desired. But there's more behind the scenes than an overzealous critic--and Spenser and Hawk are combing Port City's underworld to find it...

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In fine form here, Parker's sardonic Boston PI Spenser, last seen in Paper Dolls , encounters danger, venality and plenty of comic material in this brisk tale spanning the worlds of experimental theater and illegal immigration. While he'd rather be at work renovating the old farmhouse that he and his lover, psychiatrist Susan, have bought in nearby Concord, Spenser agrees to find out who is following the Artistic Director of the Port City Theater Company, on whose board of directors Susan sits. The detective is utterly bored by a performance of the latest production in Port City, "a town 50% Portuguese and 50% Chinese"--until one of the actors is fatally shot from the audience. The shooter gets away, leaving Spenser with murder to probe as well. After talking to one of the board members, Spenser is warned out of Port City by the woman's husband, an important member of a Boston tong. The threat prompts a call to his old pals Hawk and Vinnie, who, he notes, blend in to the theatrical scene "like two coyotes at a poultry festival." As Spenser discovers that the influx of Chinese illegals into the area is being overlooked by the Port City Chief of Police, an actress in the company reports that she too is being followed. Another murder and a kidnapping occur before the mysteries are resolved and Spenser can get back to his sledgehammer. Although the detective lags in reaching a conclusion readers may have sussed out earlier, the expected pleasures of an adroit Spenser adventure are here in full supply. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Spenser and Hawk, Parker's (Perchance To Dream, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/94) inimitably tough team of private investigators, are at it again. This time, Spenser is embroiled in a search for a mysterious stalker who is following the Port City Theater Company's director. When an actor is murdered on stage, Spenser leaps into action by following any and all leads. Deductive reasoning and lots of knocking on doors lead our hero to startling conclusions. Daniel Parker, Robert Parker's son, tries his hand at performing this audiobook. Unfortunately, Daniel lacks experience, and his reading is below par. None-theless, the program's technical aspects and abridgment are both excellent. The typical Spenserian dialog of short quips and sentence fragments will delight the fan and annoy the novice. Recommended for large collections or wherever the author circulates well.
Miriam Kahn, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The last time I'd worked in Port City had been in 1989 when an important software tycoon had hired me to retrieve his wife, who had run off with a fisherman named Costa. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If You Don't Love Spenser, Don't Read This Book Dec 20 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
....Because you'll never forgive him. Only a die-hard Spenser fan could keep reading after the first couple of chapters. To quote Hawk, "This is the silliest thing you ever got me involved in." (Whoops, I just blew the best moment in the book. Sorry.) The villains are one-dimensional to the point of being ridiculous. The clues are tasteless and dumb. Susan is at her most annoying - what DOES he see in her, except to love her for love's own sake, which is, quite frankly, getting tiresome. Makes me wonder what Parker's marriage is like. On the up-side, Hawk is even more refreshing than usual when he shows up to blow some humor into this stale story. But worst of all, Spenser is - horrors - just plain stupid in this one. Parker has avoided that in all the other books; even though you might not like the conclusion, at least you can't see it coming before savvy Spenser does. But this one? Good grief. It's vital to the plot that Spenser doesn't get it, but that's the only justification, and it's a terrible mistake for a great writer like Parker to make. Check it out at the library if you must; it's a quick read like all Parker books so it won't waste much of your time. But don't spend money on this one.
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By Charles Ashbacher TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this episode, Spenser attends a play at the Port City Theater Company, where Susan is a member of the board. The director believes that he is being followed, so Susan asks Spenser to look into it. Circumstances change rather quickly when the lead actor is killed in the middle of a dramatic scene. He was shot through the heart from an assailant who was in the theatre, so it is clear that the job was professional.
Port City is a city whose better days have passed. It now has a large population of Asiatic descent and is dirty and riddled with crime. Spenser recruits Hawk, his regular companion, and Hawk, realizing the length of the odds against them, recruits former enemy Vinnie Morris, who joins the team to make a very formidable trio. They need all of their talents, as they are up against the major Asian crime gang of the region. Throw in a crazy woman who tries to bed Spenser while manipulating everyone else in the story, a crooked cop, and the story goes in many different directions. You are given hints as to the direction of the result, but nothing definite.
Spenser and Hawk are at their wisecracking best, with Vinnie and Susan excellent foils for them to play off of. The story moves along quickly, with plenty of action and suspense until the final resolution. I enjoyed it very much, reading it when I should have been working on other things.
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4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining and educational Dec 2 2003
Whenever I read a Spenser/Hawk book I am picturing Robert Urich, who was unbeatable as that character in the t.v.'s series of Spenser. I miss him, but on to the story. Spenser is asked by Susan, his girl, to help find out who is stalking the director of the Port City Theater's Company, of which Susan is a trustee. He finds no stalker, but while watching the play, one of the cast is shot right in front of the audience and killed. Another woman claims that she is being stalked and yet they find no one stalking her and then he receives a tape of her tied to a chair and being held hostage. There is the Chinese mafia connection, as a large portion of Port City is Chinese and another of the trustees is Chinese with connections to them. Spenser is threatened by the boss and told not to come back or he will be killed and so enters Hawk and Vinnie for back up protection. The educational part is learning a little about the illegal immigration trafficking of the Chinese people. My favorite characters, as always, were Spenser and Hawk. I don't want to tell you too much more except that I did enjoy the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One we reread often! Oct. 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Susan's on the board of the Port City Theater Company, and asks Spenser to help one of it's employees with a stalking problem. Spenser does, but finds no stalker. Then, during a show, one of the actors is shot. While questioning people, Spenser talks to a board member, which upsets her husband, who controls the Chinese gang in the area. So Spenser has no clues and the Chinese "Death Dragons" after him.
To complicate matters (if you believe they aren't already), another woman claims to be stalked, and then is kidnapped. The local police chief is no help, as he's in the "employ" of the Chinese.
Things wrap up in the end, but not after some unexpected plot twists and character development that is really stellar. Usually Spenser is just about fantastic writing and environments. This time Parker also put some solid work into developing the characters you meet, and the cultures involved.
On the downside, I think Parker was on an "annoying women" kick. This woman was TRULY annoying, although to make up for her, the Chinese translator they use is smart, resourceful, and brave.
Port City is very well described - you get a very good sense both of how it feels to wander its streets, and also of its history and people.
An interesting sideline, which provides nice counterpoint to the story, has the pair working on a house in Concord - pruning and ripping out the innards. In addition to Susan and Hawk, Spenser calls on the help of Vinnie - a mob friend (ex-main-man of Joe Broz) with amazingly fast gun draw. He has Farrel, the gay police officer help him out, too.
All in all, one of the greats in the Spenser lineup.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing novel
I've read other books in the Spenser series and they were way more action oriented. The plot is too predictable with the same girlfriend, and the same cutsie dog. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Anastasia Amor
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, terrible reader
I concur with the comments of the previous reviewers about the quality of the audiobook presentation by Daniel Parker. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser cleans up Port City
Port City must be the most dreary place on planet Earth. I've never been there, but I feel like I have. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2001 by Paul Skinner
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great setting, so-so characters
Let me state it clearly upfront -- I love Spenser. I also hold Hawk in high esteem. And Pearl never fails to charm me. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars a long walk
Walking Shadow starts with considerable promise. It has all the elements -- engaging characters, an interesting locale, a novel crime, and Parker's usual wonderful dialog. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2000 by Daniel J. Connelly
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read...however, predictable
I had this one figured out half way through. Pearl was cute :-
Published on Oct. 20 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't go wrong
Spenser is the greatest literary character in modern fiction. Robert B. Parker's brilliant dialogue and intriguing characters never disapoint. Read more
Published on July 24 1998 by jjudge78@aol.com
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