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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fortunately, It's Not Yet Time to Say "Farewell, Spenser",
I once heard Robert B. Parker remark that he didn't care if publishers didn't bring out his latest novels right away, just as long as the advance checks didn't bounce. Despite the loss of this prolific novelist, there are still a few more books to come out . . . so this is not farewell. I'm glad of that, both because I want more Spenser and because Painted Ladies isn't the right book for the series to end on.
As the book opens, Spenser takes on a job that doesn't thrill him, chaperoning an unappealing popinjay professor who will be taking a ransom to exchange for a valuable stolen painting. The hand-off doesn't go as planned for the professor or for Spenser, and Spenser finds himself in the role of solitary avenger (there's no Hawk in this story) with a few helpful nudges from his friends in the police. The plot heads off into a more remote direction than you might expect in the beginning, and it takes awhile to see who all the bad people are. Once the players are in place, you'll probably deduce the outcome before Spenser does. But that's all right; you're in it for the wisecracks, aren't you?
Like many of the more recent Spenser stories, it's bare bones and it won't take you long to read it. But despite that, Robert B. Parker charms us with Pearl's romance and lots of Spenser and Susan together. "Ain't love grand?"
Unfortunately, this book is also available in what seems like a particularly overpriced Kindle version. Does the publisher still think that greed is good?
4.0 out of 5 stars A Credit-Worthy Finale,
Painted Ladies starts with one of only two major failures in the career of Boston private eye Spenser. A man Spenser is hired to protect gets killed. The previous time that happened decades ago, Spenser agonized and berated himself for a prolonged period of time. On this occasion, with the wisdom of advancing years, he calmly goes about solving the mystery of his client's death. In doing so he faces one of the most difficult challenges he has ever faced: Taking on a highly organized terrorist organization all by himself. The last time he faced off against such an organization, in the 1980s novel The Judas Goat, he had Hawk along to help, but this time Hawk is in Southeast Asia doing his own thing. Spenser could call on one of his many other professional contacts, but chooses to redeem himself in the only way he knows how.
The familiar cast of Spenser novel characters makes its dutiful appearances, but the legend of Spenser remains at the core of this solid, highly readable entry in a series that enjoyed well-deserved success for more than 30 years. Thanks to Parker for the many hours of enjoyment and inspiration he provided, and may he rest in peace.
5.0 out of 5 stars STELLAR NARRATION OF THIS SPENSER NOVEL,
This review is from: Painted Ladies: A Spenser Novel (Audio CD)Have to admit it - seeing the name Joe Mantegna on an audio book sells me immediately. His incredibly compelling reading of Boardwalk Empire is one of my all-time favorites and the same can be said of PAINTED LADIES.
A 40 year show business veteran he is an accomplished, versatile actor as evidenced in over 100 films (The Godfather Part 3, Forget Paris, etc.) In addition, his television appearances have garnered critical praise (The Rat Pack, The Last Don. Criminal Minds).
This wealth of experience is obvious in his stellar narration of what regrettably is one of the last Robert Parker Spenser novels. Mr. Parker will be greatly missed, and I join millions of others in remembering him for the many hours of listening/reading pleasure his books have brought.
In his inimitable way Parker grabs us from the beginning with PAINTED LADIES. Spenser has agreed to guard art professor Ashton Prince during a ransom payoff - thieves are being paid for the return of a stolen painting. As it turns out Prince really needed a guard as he's blown to bits during the procedure.
We all know that Spenser can't let that pass so he determines to find out exactly who stole the painting, why the ransom wasn't simply accepted and the painting returned, and why and by whom Prince was so explosively dispatched.
We're treated to the return of some of the characters we've learned to appreciate in previous Spenser tales as well as some intricate sleuthing on Spenser's part.
As I understand it there is one more Spenser novel due out next year. Meanwhile, enjoy PAINTED LADIES and the narration of Joe Mantegna.
- Gail Cooke
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, art, love and some pets for good measure,
This is vintage Robert Parker. There is a lot of dialogue. In fact the book is mostly dialogue. There's very little description or introspection. It almost reads like a script without the stage directions. Which makes me wonder if it will end up as a TV movie of the week? At times I got a little tired of the short, snappy dialogue that often lacked pronouns or adjectives. But Spenser is witty, lovable, and intelligent often surprising people with his literary quotes. His love interest is a psychologist and this allows Parker to provide ongoing insights into the psyche of the various characters, including Spenser. This is an entertaining read and worth adding to your collection.
Sadly Robert Parker passed away in January at the age of 77. He was a prolific writer, writing both crime and western novels. I've enjoyed reading both the Spenser and Jesse Stone series. He will be missed.
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Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker (Mass Market Paperback - Sep 6 2011)
CDN$ 11.50 CDN$ 9.94