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32 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars love all spencer-parker stories
wonderful, and entertaining. couldn't put the book down.
can't wait for the next book
Published on June 17 2004 by D. Heater

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Back in the groove
This Parker/Spenser stays on the same solid, predictable, but entertaining track as BACK STORY. Spenser is his familiar, wonderful old self -- doing all the right things for his own reasons, living up to his personal code of ethics, and appalled when the world doesn't do the same. The plot is more "Law and Order/ripped from today's headlines" than many of...
Published on June 7 2004


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1.0 out of 5 stars Parker's writing in his sleep!, July 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
I didn't think it was possible for Parker to give us even MORE of the incredibly irritating Susan Silverman, but when you team that up with very little Hawk and even more banal "banter" between Susan and Spenser, this book is a loser. Give it up Mr. Parker...you've lost it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars love all spencer-parker stories, June 17 2004
By 
D. Heater (branchville, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
wonderful, and entertaining. couldn't put the book down.
can't wait for the next book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Mantegna makes this CD shine, June 16 2004
By 
Monica Gaudio (Oakland, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Business (Audio CD)
I loved this book, almost entirely due to Joe Mantegna's reading and characterization. Parker does a good job of telling us yet another Spenser story -- most of us don't read Spenser novels for the plot but for just how Parker write Spenser -- funny, sarcastic, wonderful. Mantegna does a fabulous job of bringing all of these characters to life. Go listen to it. It's wonderful.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Back in the groove, June 7 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
This Parker/Spenser stays on the same solid, predictable, but entertaining track as BACK STORY. Spenser is his familiar, wonderful old self -- doing all the right things for his own reasons, living up to his personal code of ethics, and appalled when the world doesn't do the same. The plot is more "Law and Order/ripped from today's headlines" than many of Parker's other efforts, but it doesn't suffer from it and doesn't seem like exploitation. Susan appears in the story for no particular reason, but at least she doesn't annoy me so much my teeth hurt this time. It's not thought provoking Spenser, like MORTAL STAKES or RACHEL WALLACE, but it's solid, welcome time spent with old friends.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Getting Old, June 1 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
Parker has been doing these characters so long that he's begun giving them all the same pat lines. I hate doing a negative, but they're getting boring. How many times do we have to see the line "We'd be fools not to." Not only Spenser, but Susan, Hawk, the cops, Jesse Stone and at least two characters in the Sunny Randall series. This particular book...and I have copies of virtually all the others.. is wooden and uncreative. I guess the style became so successful that it seems smart to just continue. However, I got no sense of creativity or caring in this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Spenser Meets Enron, May 24 2004
By 
hoosac (Morris Plains, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
Well, not really. It's called Kinergy in the book, but it's a firm that deals in buying and selling energy, and the executives have been playing fast and loose with the accounts.
Spenser gets involved when the wife of one of the execs asks him to gather evidence that her husband has been playing around with another woman. Spenser follows the husband and finds that this is indeed true; the plot thickens when he discovers another PI has been shadowing the husband's paramour. It seems he's been asked to check up on the woman's activities by >her< husband. Before we're done, yet a third PI will turn up, trailing another female member of this menage-a-many.
It develops that the executives' wives are in the thrall of a TV personality who has convinced them that swapping of mates is the best way to keep their marriages vital and alive. Things get a little messy when the husband that Spenser was hired to follow is shot dead in his office.
There's much more -- a chief of security who's a former CIA agent, a serial killer who keeps a scrapbook of his victims, a second death that's made to look like a suicide, a female executive who fears for her life, as well as a tutorial by Spenser's CPA pal on the intricacies of keeping a company's stock price soaring despite the fact that there's no money coming in.
It all hangs together. In fact, in terms of plot, it's very well constructed . . . but it's not good Spenser. The usual cast of characters is on hand, including Quirk, Hawk, Vinnie Morris and Vinnie's double-barreled shotgun, but they have very little to do. The two murders occur offstage, the cops don't even go through the motions of suspecting Spenser, the threats from the protagonists against Spenser are half-hearted at best, Vinnie's shotgun goes unused, and Hawk gets most of his exercise carrying Susan Silverman's luggage.
There's a good deal of Susan in this one, which may be good or bad news, depending on your feelings about the character. I think she adds a lot to the series in general, but she plays too large a role here. It's Susan, for instance, who ultimately figures out whodunnit, by applying logic to the situation.
This is not a good sign. Spenser's modus operandi has always been to poke his nose in where it's not wanted, ask questions that people don't want to answer, and in general make himself annoying until somebody tries to kill him. Logic has little to do with it, nor should it.
After an unsuccessful interview with one of the suspects, who mouths off and gets away with it, Susan points out that there was a time in the past when Spenser would have popped him one. Spenser says that maybe he's becoming more mellow. Let's hope not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, witty, insightful, and good, May 22 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
With sharply-drawn characterizations like McCrae's uses in his "Bark of the Dogwood," and a fast pace and plot worthy of Grisham, "Bad Business" can't help but succeed. There's enough twists and turns in this page turner for several books, and frankly, at times, it was a little overwhelming. I thoroughly loved this Parker novel and will await many more. Bravo!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Predictably good, May 10 2004
By 
Richard B. Schwartz (Columbia, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
It is hard to conceive of a bad Parker novel. By now his skills are so honed, his characters so familiar, his dialogue so effortless, his sense of place so assured and his plots so polished that he is the safest buy in crime fiction.
This is good, average Parker, with very deft depiction of the accounting scams motivating the crime. As others have noted, the Enron parallels are explicit, there is too much Susan and too little action. Still, we buy the books and enjoy them.
We all continue to wonder, however, what Parker could do if he really put his mind to it, sent Susan and Pearl, incommunicado, to the farthest reaches of the globe, and focused on Hawk and Vinnie in a good old fashioned bloodfest. That might be his gift to his faithful readers for enduring the kissy face, dainty eating, cutesy-poo talk and dog slobber all these years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Spenser and crew!, May 10 2004
By 
Dr. Cathy Goodwin (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
This book comes close to vintage Spenser. He's based in Boston, not flying off to some desert town in Arizona. He brings back the gang: Hawk, Vinnie, Susan, and more.
Reading Bad Business means visiting these old friends. Like many of Parker's readers, they've become middle-aged and settled. (In a much earlier book, Spenser reluctantly dons reading glasses!) As a result, there's less room for character growth. Susan's a successful shrink, significant other and non-cook...just as she was in the last ten or so books. Hawk continues to be larger-than-life. Where can they go from here? Author Parker needs to give them some tough challenges to reveal new layers.
The plot of this novel has been amply described in editorial reviews as well as other customer reviews. I agree with those who question the financial elements of the plot, where Spenser is out of his element. He's much better when he can mete out his own version of justice.
However, Parker has managed to capture subtle aspects of corporate life with his usual wit, one beat away from satire. I've met CEO's just like Bob Cooper. Although they headed smaller companies, they put on a good show, demonstrated boundless enthusiasm even when they'd rather be eating mud, and kept their hands clean.
Even so, I wish Parker had focused more on the "growth seminars" and their aftermath. And I wish the villains had been more evil and less weasly. Nobody worth shooting here!
In my opinion, Early Autumn was Parker's all-time best book. You could read Early Autumn as a textbook of child and adolescent psychology. Other books showed Spenser's biting wit as he cut through conventions and pretentious displays. Plots were tighter and held more surprises.
Everybody's mellowed. Inevitable but Bad Business still held my attention more than most mysteries I read these days. And I'll be waiting for the next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spenser back in "Bad Business", May 6 2004
By 
This review is from: Bad Business (Hardcover)
As his legions of fans know, author Robert B. Parker does not provide novels with deep complicated characters or byzantine plots. What he does provide, especially in the Spenser series novels, are books where good is clearly good, bad is very bad and gray simply, for the most part, does not exist. The characters are shallow, the women are usually attracted to Spenser but he will resist mightily their advances because of his love for Susan, and Hawk will be there with style to provide needed muscle on occasion. In short, it is a formula that has worked for years and his latest novel, Bad Business, follows the formula making it another lightweight though entertaining read.
This time around the initial beautiful woman near tears in Spenser's office is Marlene Cowley. She wants to hire Spenser to investigate her husband, Trent Cowley. She is convinced he is cheating on her and wants proof that will humiliate and destroy him in open court. Spenser reluctantly agrees as he does not care for this type of cases and such proof isn't required in the courts of today.
Before long, Spenser discovers that his client has a tail of her own. Apparently Trent shares the same concerns and has hired another investigator to tail her. The two investigators as a matter of professional courtesy acknowledge each other's case but neither can explain why there soon appears to be yet another investigator involved. Spenser begins looking at that angle and before he can get very far, the deaths begin. The two investigators soon vanish and Spenser is left working a case that grows stranger by the day.
The reader is left with a shallow but entertaining read as Spenser delves into the world of corporate finance. Hawk is his usual self, Susan is beautiful and offers insightful advice when needed as always, and Pearl the wonder dog is always around and the subject of many asides. In short, this is the usual Spenser with no surprises and no new ground is covered. The novel at 310 pages is a fast read and by the end, all is right with the world once again. Who could ask for more?
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Bad Business
Bad Business by Robert B. Parker (Mass Market Paperback - March 1 2005)
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