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Crimson Joy Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2 1989

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (April 2 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440203430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440203438
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #233,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The hero of Parker's bestsellers and a popular TV series, Boston private eye Spenser tells his 15th story, this time about events that affect him personally as well as his psychologist lover Susan Silverman and their buddy, Hawk. A husband murders his wife imitating the "Red Rose Killer," a serial murderer who has been leaving a rose on the corpses of his victims, middle-aged black women. When the spouse admits his guilt, government higher-ups assure feminist and ethnic pressure groups that the elusive maniac has been caught: case closed. But Spenser's friends in homicide, angered by the cover-up, enlist him and Hawk in an unofficial investigation that seems to implicate some of Susan's patients. Resenting the intrusion on her professional territory, Susan nevertheless cooperates. Spenser and Hawk, as guards, are therefore present during the psychologist's session with the dreaded but pitiable killer and the ensuing tense, final scene. Parker's biting wit, onomatopoetic dialogue and convincing characters are again notable attractions. So are details on the ambience of Boston and environs, except for one slip surprising in so accurate an author: discussions of the possibility of electrocution in Massachusetts, where there is no capital punishment. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Tightly constructed prose and well-paced action characterize this exciting entry in the famous Spenser series. Psychotherapist Susan Silverman appropriates a more central role when a serial murderer turns out to be one of her clients. Working with two out-of-favor policemen to trap the suspect, Spenser and Hawk protect the independent Susan while she confronts the killer. Parker skillfully weaves Susan's objective theorizing, Spenser's mot juste narrative, and the killer's subjective emotions into fascinating psychological interplay. Smoother, better focused, and less cryptic than last year's Pale Kings and Princes . REK
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
A serial killer is on the loose; he binds his black female victims, strips them naked, sticks his gun in their vagina and pulls the trigger. Once he commits the act, he masturbates and leaves a long-stemmed red rose with the victim. After three murders, Belson and Quirk are getting nowhere and they have a strong suspicion that the killer is a cop. Therefore, they call in favors and recruit Spenser to aid them in the case. He complies and has the same suspicions. The killer taunts Quirk to try to catch him and the news media and local politicians all join in the clamor, raising the race issue.
They suffer a setback when a black man tries to get away with killing his wife by performing a copycat murder. He doesn’t quite do it to perfection and Quirk and Belson easily recognize the situation. However, the people higher up are more than happy to believe that all cases are solved. Quirk and Belson then take a “vacation” to continue their search.
The situation takes an immediate turn to greater immediacy when a man tries to break into Susan Silverman’s apartment. Spenser is there, fights him off, but his pride suffers a hit when the man is able to leap over a fence and get away while Spenser is unable to clear it. The assailant also leaves a rose behind and kills Susan’s fish.
The man is a client of Susan’s, and this fact is soon discovered by Susan, Spenser and Hawk. There is a climactic final scene when Susan and Spenser confront the killer in front of his clearly psychotic mother. Susan backs Spenser up with a gun, but the killer runs away. Spenser has no trouble chasing him down and the killer ends up sobbing in his arms.
While this story is good, it lacks the interesting dialog of other Spenser novels. Spenser, Quirk, Belson and Hawk are all very serious, rarely engaging in any of the wisecracking banter that is the signature of the best Spenser novels.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This time the reader was grabbed by the neck and held for a while as CRIMSON JOY opened onto an in progress investigation of a fresh murder scene of the Red Rose killer's "signature." From there the plot ran relentlessly into the seamless consequences and serious carnivals of media, political, and social "consciousness" pushes polluting professional pursuits of a serial killer. Parker had precisely pegged the gestalt of this "scene" and its take-off sidelines, with this # 15 in the Spenser series featuring the king pin of Boston homicide detectives, Lieutenant Quirk. Serving as his posse were Sergeant Belson, Spenser, Susan, and Hawk.

Presented on page 67 of the current mass market paperback, was one of the most cleanly accurate dialogues I've read of the position and essential attitude of a professional police person in charge of such a situation. Quirk, the good-guy cop (those types do exist), was confronted by representatives of the worst examples of human self-enhancement posed as social consciousness, from a shark-frenzied media, higher-echelon police presence, racial political-punk, religious frock, and feminist frizz ("The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly," exist in each of those Rings).

And the mad-cap chase was on.

Realistically, though, with Parker unable to present it any other way, this type of investigation gets nowhere fast, through grueling, non-stop, prime effort of dedicated noses sniffing dirt, and grinding stones.

(I worked for a couple months in 1985 in Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington, with a couple private detectives trying to pick up the Green River Killer's trail. I'm still not sure what trail we were following, but it didn't give a successful conclusion at that time, fast, slow, or otherwise.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There's more than one interesting twist in this installment of the Spenser series, evidence that Parker's working hard to stay out of a rut.
First, this is a bit more serious than usual in that the unknown killer is a psychopathic serial killer. Our hero isn't quite up to his usual quota of wisecracks.
Secondly, some of the narrative is from the killer's viewpoint, a first for a Spenser novel.
Thirdly, there is a hint at the Harry Bosch type conflict between solving a case and playing police politics & protecting the police image. (This was written 4 years before the first of the Connolly series)
And fourth, there's a real testing of Spenser's relationship with Susan as there's a serious conflict between his need to protect her and her need for autonomy & adherence to her profession's practice of condifentiality between doctor & patient.
The reader might have a bit of trouble suspending disbelief over the points of Spenser's openly working with the Boston police and of the extreme coincidental factor, but it is an entertaining read up to the average Spenser.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a typical Spenser for Hire book, for better or for worse. You know the routine by now: capable of a read in a single sitting; the witty repartee; the sassy and cocksure internal narrative by Spenser; the sparring with Hawk to mask the mutual feelings of respect; the surprisingly clever descriptions of characters; the Boston settings depicted with pride. Parker is to be commended on his choice of words, because although his stories are so brief, they say a lot and don't waste much time. In fact, I describe the Spenser stories as compact more than short. They are powerful in that Parker never lets you forget he is a wordsmith, and capable of great bursts of creativity and humor.
Crimson Joy is not as action packed as other Spenser books, and is more cerebral. Susan plays more of a role in this one, too, and thus it has a lot of psychological overtones. This makes the book interesting from a clinical sense, but some readers might miss the fighting and machismo. This book is kind of sexy, too, in terms of its exploration of Spenser and Susan's relationship, though it never stoops to being crude or raunchy. [I keep forgetting these are just racy enough to prevent their becoming family books, since I find myself wanting to recommend them to folks of all ages.]
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