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Publisher's Summary

Caught in a snowstorm of drugs, passion, and hate, Spenser investigates a cocaine-related murder.
Crack another case with Spenser.
©1988 Robert B. Parker; (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"Like Philip Marlowe, Spenser is a man of honor in a dishonorable world. When he says he will do something, it is done. The dialogues zings, and there is plenty of action... but it is the moral element that sets them above most detective fiction." (Newsweek)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • bebe
  • South Carolina
  • 06-04-10

I love Robert Parker's Spencer series.

Pale Kings and Princes, the 14th in the series, is a traditional Spencer" format (Hawk and Susan are present). The residents in the small town Spencer visits are not very likeable people -the bad guys are really BAD. Drugs are rampant. Spencer has a tough time finding anything to eat that pleases him. People try to kill him and Spencer has to take some pretty drastic measures (including highjacking)- all very entertaining. I like the state tooper Spencer meets and hope he appears in future books.

The very best of all Spencer readers, in my opinion, is David Dukes, but it appears he only read Spencer books for cassette tapes. However Joe Montegna and Michael Prichard are very good. I highly recommend Prichard's reading of Pale Kings and Princes.

Spencer fans will love this book. If you are unfamiliar with Spencer, I suggest that you dive in. I would not recommend that you start with the first audible book (Godwulf Manuscript), if Burt Reynolds is the reader because he is terible! Read that one yourself. I grew to love Spencer when I started with later books where Spencer's personality, and also the personalities of Susan, Hawk and Pearl, are fully developed. Then I backtracked to learn how they developed. Of the later books, Early Autumn is my favorite (even though Susan is not yet fully developed). Some other good later novels are Bad Business, Cold Service, Thin Air, and Paper Doll. A negative of starting with later books is that there are many repeat characters. If you start with the first book, you get introduced to them as they are "born".

Some listeners are turned off by the "he saids" which follow many sentences - but you get used to it - that is just the Robert Parker style. I don't even notice it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Louanne
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 02-12-13

He's my go to guy!!!!

I just love his books. I love the humor, the tongue and cheek take me back to The Thin Man, forties black and white. I especially love Spencer's independent and somewhat radical but true morality. I like to be entertained and this does it all for me. Good writing within the context. His books are not pretentious, which really bores me. I can listen to his books while I am going to sleep and not be "disturbed" by exploitive violence, brutality, abuse etc. It reminds me of a really good cheeseburger. It would not be in keeping to present it on a china plate with Waterford crystal. The writing style, the story line, the narrator, and length all come together to form a complementary form. I guess what I am saying is that the writing style compliments the content. The writing style is the personality of Spencer. It doesn't get more integrated than that. I am not a particularly good writer, but I am a good reader, and I am very particular about what i read. I love these for easy fun listening. Like I said, it is like a great cheeseburger.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Another solid entry in the Spenser series.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend the whole Spenser series by Robert Parker.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I like the dialogue, and Spenser's crisp humour in dealing with small town corrupted cops, drug dealers and his pal Hawks. Least interesting is all the love fluff with his girlfriend. This entry is not the best in the series, but the background quality of the writing is always there.

What about Michael Prichard’s performance did you like?

I simply adore his slightly metallic voice, whether he is reading the Spenser's novels by Robert Parker or the Nero Wolfe's novels by Rex Stout. He is perfect in both roles.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not laugh otu loud, but it is witty

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

ANOTHER GREAT SPENSER STORY

If you could sum up Pale Kings and Princes in three words, what would they be?

SPENSER, COCAINE, INVESTIGATE

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes. Robert Parker's writing style was such that he kept the reader spell-bound through any story.

Which scene was your favorite?

Spenser convincing Susan to join him in Wheaton. He won't admit he's lonely there so he makes up all kinds of inane reasons she should be there with him.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pritchard's reading leaves much to be desired

Where does Pale Kings and Princes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I rank it pretty high. It was exciting and had a good story line and plot.

What didn’t you like about Michael Prichard’s performance?

Pritchard is just a deep MONOTONE voice that simply does not portray the underlying humor that Parker intended for his Spencer novels... and painfully struggles when talking for Hawk! Usually when I listen to a Spencer novel I am smiling throughout the book because of the quips of Spencer, Hawk and others. With Prichard, I had to listen carefully to even catch a hint of a joke or quip. Bring back JOE M. "We be fools not to..."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pale Kings and Princes

The book has an incomprehensible plot and a gross excess of macho posturing and Parker's smug, irritating self-regard projected on his favorite character. The sense of place is vivid, but it's a place I'd never want to go. I'm heartily sick of these characters and I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.