The best thing about "Walking Shadow", about any of the Spenser novels, is Spenser. He is, far and away, one of the best written characters in modern fiction. I have read (and to large extent, enjoyed) all of the Spenser novels, many of them more than once. Even if the story is sometimes lacking, Spenser carries the book on his broad shoulders and cuts through any drabness w/ his razor wit.
Daniel Parker sounds like a 20 year old with a lisp, not a middle-age Boston thug. So far, I've listened to Spenser novels performed by Parker, Mantegna, and Dukes. Mantegna hams it up a little more than necessary, but he, at least, has actually played Spenser in various TV movies. Dukes does the most even-handed job (though his Hawk sounds more like a Chris Rock type rather than an ominous mercenary/thug/assassin). Parker is terrible. He constantly takes me out of the story as I try to match his voice to the picture I have of Spenser from the books.
I *THINK* this is a good story. I wanted to like it, but the narrator read this so poorly that I just kept thinking about other things. I think someone could read the phonebook with more inflection. Stick with Michael Prichard or Joe Mantegna for a good read. Even Burt Reynolds' mumbling is better. Ugh.
The plot is solid. Typical Robert Parker.
The story itself was good. It was amusing, dark, and action oriented. The only problem for me, and it was a huge problem, was the narrator's lisp. Once you have heard Burt Reynolds and Joe Mantegna narrate no one is as good, but this guy had a very, very noticeable lisp that really detracted from the intensely masculine character of Spenser.
After reading many comments about this book, I was very hesitant about purchasing it, but in the long run I figured, it's a Spenser novel. I have to do it, so I made the purchase.
Because it has been stated so many times by other readers reviews, I will not dwell on the narrator's very effeminate and childlike voice it does take alot away from the reading of this novel.
Only after I had listened to this book did a thought occur to me, this choice in a narrator for this particular story line had to been on purpose, A story where there are many "actors" and one character being gay, why not have a very effeminate voice narrator to have the listener drawed into the story?
Unfortunately it just didn't pan out that way, for myself at least, the voice was just too much of a speed bump to overcome,
The main reason for getting this story even after all the reviews was simply this is a Spenser novel, love it or hated it I just had to have it in my collection.