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Bad Business | [Robert B. Parker]

Bad Business

When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and corporate corruption.
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Publisher's Summary

When Marlene Cowley hires Spenser to see if her husband Trent is cheating on her, he encounters more than he bargained for: not only does he find a two-timing husband, but a second investigator as well, hired by the husband to look after his wife. As a result of their joint efforts, Spenser soon finds himself investigating both individual depravity and corporate corruption.

It seems the folks in the Cowleys' circle have become enamored of radio talk show host Darrin O'Mara, whose views on courtly love are clouding some already fuzzy minds with the notion of cross-connubial relationships. O'Mara's brand of sex therapy is unconventional at best, unlawful (and deadly) at worst. Then a murder at Kinergy, where Trent Cowley is CFO, sends Spenser in yet another direction. Apparently, the unfettered pursuit of profit has a price.

With razor sharp characterizations and finely honed prose, this is Parker at the height of his powers.

©2004 Robert B. Parker; (P)2004 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Parker, declared a Grand Master in 2002 by the Mystery Writers of America, delivers another combination of wry satire and sly action in his thirty-first mystery starring Spenser, the Boston private eye." (Booklist)
"Mantegna expertly delivers Spenser's sarcastic humor and grounded confidence." (Los Angeles Times)
"Robert B. Parker's writing has never been sharper, matching an engaging plot with Spenser's famous razor-sharp one liners. Joe Mantegna...does a great job giving vocal identity to each of the odd assortment of good guys, bad guys, and ladies of questionable character, using pace and emotion to effectively separate one from another." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (148 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.2 (36 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (37 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Seabrook, SC, USA 04-01-04
    Jennifer Seabrook, SC, USA 04-01-04 Member Since 2003
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    "This is pure Parker"

    I have listened to part of this book and Parker's "Backstory"-- also read by Mantegna. For me, his reading captures the style and pace of Spenser. The "I said" "she said" is all Parker and is integral to the Spencer prose of factual, enlightened skepticism. You might not like Parker's style, but to say that he can't write dialogue is contrary to the opinions millions who have read him in print and enjoy the books on audio. Maybe Spenser isn't for you, but as a Spenser fan-- I think it's great.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Cincinnati, OH, USA 08-12-04
    Virginia Cincinnati, OH, USA 08-12-04
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    "Joe Montegna IS Spenser"

    Every time I have to leave my car and disconnect from my Otis, I find myself saying outloud, I LOVE THIS BOOK! I've been reading Robert Parker's novels for a long time and have enjoyed his amazing way of putting so much into so few words. And now I'm enjoying them even more on Audible books. Parker succeeds at what I use to tell my creative writing students to attempt--establish a voice that's all your own. And Montegna, a fabulous actor, strikes just the right vocal chord of a brilliant, satiric wiseguy, who puts more into a simple two word sentence like "I did" than most actors can get out of a long monologue! Once again..I love this novel!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Westminster, MD, United States 05-16-04
    Stephen Westminster, MD, United States 05-16-04
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    "Well written; well read"

    Joe Mantegna reads Parker's works just as Parker wrote them. Parker writes in a style consistent with his characters. The minimalistic, almost simplistic, style that he uses in the Spenser novels is completely congruent with the characters. It's part of the charm. It's not the way that LeCarre writes, but both Parker and LeCarre are masters of their genre. "Bad Business" probably isn't Parker's best Spenser novel, but it's still quite good considering that he has written so many, and has taken his hero through so much already. I suspect that Parker is rather tired of writing about Spenser, but he continues to publish another one occasionally so that people like me can enjoy an easy listening experience while driving or working out at the gym.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Williams Illinois 04-08-04
    D. Williams Illinois 04-08-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Great read for Spenser fans!"

    Another enjoyable Spenser novel and narrated with just the right style for Parker by Joe Montegna.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Watkins 05-25-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Bad Business"

    The first Robert Parker book I read was "Poodle Springs". I was hooked and read every book he had written. I am disappointed with this one. Spenser has lost his intensity, Hawk is practically non-existent, and Susan is a snob. They used to be such robust and likeable characters. I hope Robert Parker chooses to retire Spenser and write more books like "All Our Yesterdays" and "Double Play". Those I recommend with five stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 06-15-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 06-15-12 Member Since 2006

    65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic Parker; classic Mantegna. Many chuckles."

    There are quite a few Hall of Fame partners in the mystery-detective-thriller genre. Robert B. Parker and Joe Mantegna clearly belong in this category. Listening to one of their collaborations is a pleasure. You find yourself smiling wryly and chucking throughout. There are no LOLs, but still. It turns out that Michael Prichard is just about as good a narrator as Mantegna, but Joe's face is so familiar and his voice so friendly that really, what's the diff? Spenser and Hawk are at their usual best here. The triangular relationship among them and Susan Silverman, Ph.D., Spenser's long-time love, is just wonderful. Very tender and very funny. The plot here is rather contorted, involving corporate corruption mixed in with sexual misbehavior on a rather grand scale. There is some exposition at the end by Spenser which is really confusing, involving who did what to whom and when. Nonetheless, there is a marvelously lizardly serial killer, an unctuous radio host who also pimps for the company, and a lot of double-dealing and back-stabbing. Fun is had by all. You have to marvel at Parker's ability to keep writing these books and never really missing a step. If you don't like one of these, chances are you'll like another. And, maybe that will lead you to the other Hall of Famers: Steven King and Frank Muller, Martin Cruz Smith and Mr. Muller, John Grisham and Muller (I know), John Lescroarts and David Colacci, Tim Hallinan and Victor Bevine. I could go on, obviously, but I won't. Have fun.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. M. Batista 01-27-09 Member Since 2006

    José M. Batista

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    "What a good surprise!"

    This is the first book from Robert B. Parket I read. It is a thouroughly clean and enjoyable story with a great narration. Proves you don´t have to try to confuse the reader with flashbacks and other games to write a good novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Minneapolis, MN, USA 08-13-06
    Ann Minneapolis, MN, USA 08-13-06
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    "Phoning it in"

    Parker could write these characters in his sleep at this point, and this book reads like he has. It's not bad--he's too competent for that--but there's nothing new here. And Joe Mantegna's narration works for Spenser, but his attempts at Hawk and Susan are distracting at best.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Massey 04-26-04
    Ray Massey 04-26-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Good light book"

    One of Parker's better Spencer novels. Light and amusing with a little mystery thrown in.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Austin, TX, USA 04-05-04
    Susan Austin, TX, USA 04-05-04
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    "By far not his best work...."

    I am normally a huge fan of this author. But, this time I just couldn't get into the ridiculously unbelievable twisty jolty plot (ok, so a lot of them are sort of unbelievable anyway, but...). I usually enjoy Joe Montegna, the reader, but there were just so many characters that the voices he had to come up with for all of them were really starting to crack me up, both female and male. And, I do agree with the reviewer who commented on the number of times the author says "he said" or "she said". Hadn't noticed that before, maybe I wasn't listening for it before (thanks :) haha) For audio, it was distracting. Couldn't finish this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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