When 51-year-old Nathan Smith, a once-confirmed bachelor, is found dead in his bed with a hole in his head made by a .38 caliber slug, it's hard not to imagine Nathan's young bride as the one with her finger on the trigger. Even her lawyer thinks she's guilty. But given that Mary Smith is entitled to the best defense she can afford - and thanks to Nathan's millions, she can afford plenty - Spenser hires on to investigate Mary's bona fides.
Mary's alibi is a bit on the flimsy side: she claims she was watching television in another room when the murder occurred. But the couple was seen fighting at a high-profile cocktail party earlier that evening and the prosecution has a witness who says Mary once tried to hire him to kill Nathan. What's more, she's too pretty, too made-up, too blonde, and sleeps around - just the kind of person a jury loves to hate.
Spenser's up against the wall; leads go nowhere, no one knows a thing. Then a young woman, recently fired from her position at Smith's bank, turns up dead. Mary's vacant past suddenly starts looking meaner and darker - and Spenser's suddenly got to watch his back.
With its lean, crackling dialogue, crisp action and razor-sharp characters, Widow's Walk is another triumph.
©2002 Robert B. Parker; (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.
"Sometimes you have to wonder how Robert B. Parker keeps his mojo working... In an age of shifty heroes with shaky values, he has created a hero who can still stand up for himself - and us." (The New York Times Book Review)
I found Joe Mantegna's narrative flawless on this book. His voice was easy to listen to and offered a great narrative to Spencer. I started with Spencer back when the TV show starring Robert Urich aired. Joe's voice reminds me a little bit of Urich's great narratives on the show.
The book's story is a bit slow and I found numerous characters to be completely annoying. Mary Smith is by far the most annoying with her completely ridiculous stupidity (no one is that stupid). The side-story with Spencer's girlfriend's patient, who dies, adds nothing to the story except a distraction.
However, the book's story would be good in an abridged version that reduces the nonsense and sticks to the story.
Parker as usual does a great job of keeping the story flowing. Montagna is my favorite reader of Parker's work. You will enjoy the inter-action of these characters.
Usually I listen to Spenser books with undivided attention, but Widow's Walk is so out of kilter with the Spenser I know and love, I started a knitting project at the same time. The fun, dry-witted personalities of Hawk, Spenser, and Susan are bland, which is disconcerting after years of scintillating repartee. There are some similar lines, but they're delivered in a tired, flat way, as if Joe Mantegna isn't enjoying what he's performing. Also, I've never known Spenser to be so psychologically focused. True, Susan has just lost a patient to suicide, but Spenser's response to her, though admirable, is out of character. Also, he says: "god damn," as opposed to "hot damn," which was a shock to hear. As an aside, it was sad to hear Spenser and Susan talk about Pearl the Wonder Dog in terms of putting her down due to her advanced age and deafness. In disappointment, I stopped listening halfway through.
Not only are there way too many "I said" "she said", but the idea that all of these professional women are peppering their answers with sexual overtures after meeting the PI for 5 minutes is a bit much. When the bank exec (female) actually utters the words "of all the banks in all the world, you have to walk into mine" I turned this one OFF. Give me a break.
The narration of this novel is more monotone than one would like at first, but you get used to it. The story is well written, it keeps a good pace about it, and has an interesting ending.
Story line is good but the writer has too many I said, she said, he said in it. If these were left out, the book would be half the length. because of that it is hard to get into this book.
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