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33 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser falls . . .and gets up!
This is one of my favorite Spenser tales. And we love him because . . . . I guess it's kind of that John Wayne feeling, you like to have a big guy around who can always be relied upon to take care of business. Here, he almost fails, and that's the magnetism of Small Vices.
Spenser is hired by the now successful, leggy Rita Fiore. There is the usual overt flirting...
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by Larry Scantlebury

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3.0 out of 5 stars In My Own Opinions
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It kept my attention all the way to the end. Even though the beginning of the story started out slow, events began to develop to get me hooked into the plot. The way the gray man, who was hired to kill off the detective, kept popping out of no where, kept me on my toes. I never knew if he was going to get the detective or not. When the...
Published on May 24 2000


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5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser falls . . .and gets up!, Aug. 7 2003
By 
Larry Scantlebury (Ypsilanti, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
This is one of my favorite Spenser tales. And we love him because . . . . I guess it's kind of that John Wayne feeling, you like to have a big guy around who can always be relied upon to take care of business. Here, he almost fails, and that's the magnetism of Small Vices.
Spenser is hired by the now successful, leggy Rita Fiore. There is the usual overt flirting ". . . too bad you didn't . . ." and "Boy, if you only had . . ." and "you had your chance . . " that we've come to chuckle at and with the honorable sleuth.
Here he's asked to track down 'the real murderer' which will free a man wrongfully doing life in the hard place.
It's hard to pity the imprisoned man Spenser is asked to free. It seems most feel he doesn't really deserve to be freed . . . even the loyal friend Hawk feels that Alves belongs in jail, "either for this crime or one he got away with."
But Spenser, who again tells someone his first name but not us, gets too close and takes three slugs to the shoulder, leg and chest.
It takes Susan, Hawk, Quirk, Belson, Lee Farrel and Vinnie nearly a year to rehab Spenser, who loses 40 pounds in the process, has a hard time making his limbs do what he wants them to, and basically can't walk. But they do and honor and heroism prevail, villains are suitably thrashed, and Susan and Spenser hook up. Again. And again.
There's a lot of vulnerability in Spenser this time. Like Joe Pike in The Last Detective, his body has betrayed him and he is lost. Sadness, even tears. The pages describing Spenser trying to get up the hill in Santa Barbara after again learning how to walk again are riveting. Good stuff.
If I had a disappointment, it was Spenser's laissez faire attitude towards Hawk who took a year off to mentor/train/help him. But maybe that's part of the mystique, he knew how he felt and so did Hawk.
Great stuff. Rachel Wallace is still #1 for me but Small Vices is a close second.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEST IN YEARS, Sept. 22 2002
By 
Daniel Byrd "danbyrd30" (Austin, Tx) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read every Parker novel, most multiable times. This is the most powerful of all the Spenser novels. Less funny, more serious without giving in to being dark.
Everyone is here, Spenser, Susan, Hawk, Pearl.But someting feels, larger in this one. Most Spenser novels feel like a TV program. This installment feels more like a movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SUSPENSEFUL AND HILARIOUS, Sept. 20 2001
By 
Laurent Boulanger (Craigieburn, VICTORIA Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
´¿Small Vices´¿ is the second Parker I´¿ve read, and it does not disappoint (the first being ´¿Playmates´¿). I just wish I had discovered Parker a long time ago. Parker writes a tight prose reminiscent of Sue Grafton, but in the male voice. The main character, Spenser, is charming, tough and a little deviant. He is a PI who is not scared to use his fists when he has to and his brain when it becomes more appropriate.
In ´¿Small Vices´¿, Spenser has to uncover the truth about Alves, a young colored man who has been accused and sentenced for the rape and murder of a white coed, Melissa Henderson. What follows is a tale of treachery, deceit, lies, police corruption, contract killing and violence. When Spenser is shot trying to uncover the truth, he hangs on to his life by a thread.
Parker has done another magnificent job at blending humor, suspense and believable settings. We are taken from Boston to New York, and even on a trip to Santa Barbara in Southern California. The sub-plot with Spenser´¿s wife Susan and dog Pearl blends in nicely with the suspense and does not slow down the pace of the story. If you´¿ve never read a Parker, you can´¿t go wrong with this one. But then I´¿ve got another sixteen of his to read, so I´¿ll let you know as I proceed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Original, March 6 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
This is one of Parker's best. The mystery is new and fresh - Spenser is hired by a law firm to learn the truth about an old murder. The enigmatic Gray Man is powerful and very creepy; it's about time Spenser met an enemy worthy of him. Susan almost redeems herself for all the stupid things she's done in the past, and Hawk is as much fun as ever. After some pretty weak novels, like 'Thin Air' and 'Walking Shadow,' and the abominable 'Hugger Mugger,' not to mention the Jesse Stone/Sunny Randall mess, this one proves that Parker hasn't lost it. Thank heaven.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Original, March 6 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
This is one of Parker's best. The mystery is new and fresh - Spenser is hired by a law firm to learn the truth about an old murder. The enigmatic Gray Man is powerful and very creepy; it's about time Spenser met an enemy worthy of him. Susan almost redeems herself for all the stupid things she's done in the past, and Hawk is as much fun as ever. After some pretty weak novels, like 'Thin Air' and 'Walking Shadow,' and the abominable 'Hugger Mugger,' this one proves that Parker hasn't lost it. Thank heaven.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Parker on top form, Dec 15 2000
By 
Daniel J. Connelly "djconnel" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
Throughout the Spenser series, Robert B. Parker has consistently shown himself to be an excellent writer. Often, however, the quality of the story isn't up to the same standards. In Small Vices, however, it is.
This is, I dare say, the best Spenser novel to date. Chance, Parker's previous contribution to the series, was a disappointment. But like a weak jab setting up the knockout uppercut, Small Vices is top-notch. There's mystery here, highly compelling characters (including perhaps the most interesting Spenser adversary to date), social commentary, excellent dialogue, several strong social themes, and, most of all, page-turning suspense. And, unlike most suspense works, the finish wasn't a disappointment.
Parker's work is best read as part of the series. However, this still rates four stars as a stand-alone work. You lose out on a lot of the history behind some of the characters, but it's still basically whole.
Maybe Parker, like Spenser, finally got off the decaf. If so, I hope he stays off. Sometimes, a small vice can be a good thing.
Dan
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Parker's Best!, Aug. 3 2000
By 
F. Caruso (Bayonne, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
Parker once again shines on this Spenser gem. Parker breaks his own formula when our hero is gunned down and must fight the biggest fight of his life. Spenser battles racial profiling, paralysis, and the Gray man in this excellent addition to the Spenser series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Parker Piques, July 27 2000
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
After more than 20 crime novels, Robert Parker can still pique my interest. And twenty of almost anything usually equates to a snore. Not so here.
In "Small Vices", we revisit one of the best known ensembles of the genre; sexy invincible Spenser, seductively naive Susan, and without a doubt, the intimidating irrepressible Hawk. We also meet "The Gray Man", who wishes to put Spenser into an earlier grave than anyone, including the self-effacing Spenser, desires.
Add a friend asking for Spensers help in his framing of a murder of a young female college student, the search of suspects through Boston to the elite Manhattan crowd, and voila, another gritty up front Parker crime action in full motion.
The dialouge snaps, the plot crackles, and the .22 pops.
Thank you for your interest & comments--CDS
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3.0 out of 5 stars In My Own Opinions, May 24 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Small Vices (Mass Market Paperback)
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It kept my attention all the way to the end. Even though the beginning of the story started out slow, events began to develop to get me hooked into the plot. The way the gray man, who was hired to kill off the detective, kept popping out of no where, kept me on my toes. I never knew if he was going to get the detective or not. When the main event finally unfolded, it was interesting to see how the author made things develop to keep things going. The book, SMALL VICES, was well written and easy to follow. I would recommend it to others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser Rides Again!, May 3 2000
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Small Vices (Hardcover)
The Spenser novels are really about Don Quixote, dressed up as a modern detective. Spenser is better at what he does than Don Quixote was, but has the same appeal.
Fortunately for Spenser fans, the other characters are drawn as finely and uniquely, and bring much appeal to any story. It's like visiting your somewhat funny, dysfunctional family for a reunion.
I appreciate it when Robert Parker breaks up the stories with new plot complications. Spenser's injury makes this book all the more rewarding by providing new perspectives on one of fiction's most appealing detectives.
If you are a Spenser fan, don't miss it.
If yo are not yet a Spenser fan, this is a worthy book to start with.
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Small Vices
Small Vices by Robert B. Parker (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 11 2002)
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