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Hush Money Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2000
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Sometimes a detective's life is all work for no pay. As a favor to his buddy Hawk, Spenser agrees to investigate a man unjustly denied tenure. Then Spenser's girlfriend, Susan, asks Spenser to help stop a stalker. Plenty of work, sure, but all done pro bono. "Two cases at a time. I thought about having 'Master Sleuth' added to my business cards." As the cases unfold, Spenser (and Hawk) charm and batter their way past policemen, stockbrokers, hit men, white supremacists, an unstable woman, and a stuffy tenure committee. Author Robert B. Parker tells a good story, but his real strength is in his dialog--the rhythm of which Burt Reynolds captures perfectly. A fantastic reader, Reynolds uses a wide range of voices and accents to bring Parker's characters to life. (Running time: 3 hours, 2 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Despite his quarter century on Boston's mean streets (he debuted in The Godwulf Manuscript in 1974), Parker's retrograde yet hip PI Spenser can still punch, sleuth and wisecrack with the best of them. This time out, Spenser looks into the case of Robinson Nevins, a conservative African-American professor denied tenure, perhaps for his alleged affair with a male student, Prentice Lamont, who has committed suicide. Spenser's hard-eyed stroll through the cloistered world of academia brings him into contact with Amir Abdullah, a black professor who is theatrically militant about African-American issues despite a long list of sexual conquests that includes the leader of a white supremacist organization. Sexual conquest is also on the mind of K.C. Roth, a pretty woman beset by insecurity and prey to a stalker. When Spenser and his sidekick, Hawk, persuade her sinister admirer to desist, K.C.'s fragile emotions lead her to fall hard for Spenser, and the stalked becomes the stalker. Naturally, Spenser's longtime lover, Susan, is less than amused. Readers who find the Spenser chronicles cute or contrived probably won't change their minds with this entry. Beyond dispute, however, is Parker's reliably gossamer narrative touch and, in this particular instance, his skilled brewing of suspense within the academic setting. Fans will also enjoy unexpected revelations about Hawk's background, Spenser's serving of justice with a vengeance and, as usual, prose that's as clean as a sea breeze.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
We do learn of an incident in Hawk's background along with a little more information as we meet his mentor and the mentor's son.
Spenser actually is working two cases here, both pro bono, one for Hawk and the other for Susan. There's irony here. In a previous book, Spenser tried to help her ex-husband, and now for one of her friends. Both times, Susan finds herself betrayed by those she thought she knew.
By the way, I notice more and more criticism lately of Susan Silverman's presence in the books. But she is an essential character. Spenser has a code of ethics and there are times that he feels he has to violate that code in order to do the right thing. This causes enough turmoil that, let's face it, the guy needs a shrink, but is very unlikely to seek one out. His falling in love with one neatly solves the problem. Hence, Susan.
So the story has some failings, but basically should give you four or five enjoyable hours while you read it.
Spenser has two cases, one from Hawk and one from Susan. Hawk wants him to help a black college professor who was refused tenure on the basis of rumours that he was gay, he had an illicit affair with a student, and the student committed suicide as a result of a broken heart. Susan wants him to help a friend who claims she is being stalked.
WHAT I LIKED:
The plot surrounding the black college professor is a typical Spenser novel -- take a case for no pay, find there is something weird, start investigating, push some buttons, find out suspect number 1 is connected, and get a visit from some heavies. However, the handling of discrimination issues based on sexual orientation or colour of skin are well done, and that alone raises the story above a typical novel. Of course, the writing is first-rate, as Parker's work always is, and the story proceeds at a fast clip, with enough twists and turns to make it interesting.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
The second case involving Susan's friend is ridiculous. Susan is a first class shrink -- yet she apparently is surprised when she finds out that the friend has attached herself to Spenser as her white knight coming to save her, whether he wants to be rewarded or not. Not well handled by Spenser's character or Susan, and doesn't fit either's characters background in previous novels, and just rings false with each development. Mind you, the resolution of the problem by Susan is first-rate. It just takes a long time to get there.
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I was not personal friends with the author, nor did I follow him on social media.
Boston as the locale, Hawk as the sidekick, Susan as the confidante and lover -- these recur in title after title. But Parker has, on the whole, not succumbed to repetition: his characters have difficulties, grow, interact. Still, no one would claim that his grip on character is that of Chandler nor his insight into psychology is that of Ross MacDonald. Nor are his plots as intricate as many mysteries, but then hard-boiled detectives always -- Spenser is no exception -- subscribe to the dictum (Saul Bellow's line in another context, in HENDERSON THE RAIN KING) that "truth comes in blows."
But HUSH MONEY reinforces what has been a growing realization on the part of Parker's readers: that he has become a master of repartee, or dialogue that is direct, crisp, witty. The joy of a Parker novel has become, in the past eight or nine years, the joy of encountering language that zips and crackles, as crisp and astringent as biting into a stick of cold celery. He is not unlike -- and this will be a strange comparison -- a Jane Austen for our age: his characters speak the lines we ourselves would like to speak, if only we were quick-minded enough and had a deep fund of cool and humor. We can be happy encountering great dialogue, and today only Elmore Leonard writes dialogue that is as much fun as Parker's.
So like his other recent work, this novel is a joy to read.Read more ›
"Hush Money" is a slightly better than average Spenser story. The high points of this novel are when Hawk finally reveals some details about his life before meeting Spenser and when Susan decks someone (she also warns them they will "be sleeping with the fishes").Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A bit far out but if you need to waste time this is a winner.Published on Sept. 16 2001 by Eddie Spinnler
Hush Money is notable in a number of ways, and the number for which it is most notable is two.
Most obviously, this may well be the first book in which Parker describes... Read more
Hush Money was my first Parker read. It won't be my last. His name has been familiar for years, but until recently his books hadn't floated atop my reading pile. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2000 by Christopher B. Jonnes
I've read a lot of the Spenser books, and I've always enjoyed them, but this latest effort was below par. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2000 by Dr. Christopher Coleman
A Spenser novel. Not much else to say. Parker can, as far as i'm concerned, write about Spenser for as long as he writes. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2000 by Elsie Wilson
Spenser hits his 25th anniversary with this one! Hawk gets him a case looking into a tenure denial, while Susan wants him to help with a stalking. As usual, nothing is simple. Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2000 by Lisa Shea
It's obvious that Robert B. Parker still enjoys idolizing himself as private-eye Spenser. The books are still witty, the characters still engaging and, since the flabby... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2000 by Patrick Burnett
I feel obliged to give Parker a 5 on this book because I enjoyed it so much. While it may not be the greatest mystery, I thought it was one of his best. Read morePublished on July 31 2000