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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • Westminster, MD, United States
  • 05-16-04

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

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  • Performance
  • Story

Mediocre

This one isn't a competitor for the worst Spenser ever, not even close. Unfortunately it's an even longer distance from being the best of the works featuring the Boston PI. There are sections that take the story nowhere that are far too long, and a couple of ancillary characters that needed to be developed more thoroughly than they were. The climatic point was delayed more times than it should have been as if Parker was leading up to various endings and not being able to choose just one and decided to try them all out. Still There are very few of Parker's works that translate into time wasted and Joe Mantegna is an excellent narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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

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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

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  • Story

Another good mystery

I had to laugh when I heard the business and the players were involved in SOLAR ENGERY.
I love the reader, Joe Mantegna, sounds like a PI. JOE I do have a crush on you
Joan Lewis

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I love Spenser!

Montegna is such a good narrator , you really can feel the nuances of the different characters. The story captures you and as always you can look forward to all the usual players.

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vintage Parker/Spenser!

I enjoyed this one as much as the many others I've read, and actually chuckled out loud a few times at the classic RBP banter. Joe Mantegna is pretty good, but don't expect a bastin accent. Joe is pure New Joisy. Actually prefer James Naughton, but Joe will do.