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Publisher's Summary

The adoring wife of a senatorial candidate has a smile as sweet as candy and dots her "i's" with little hearts. A blond beauty, she is the perfect mate for an ambitious politician, but she has a little problem with sex and drugs--a problem someone has managed to put on videotape.

The big boys figure a little blackmail will put her husband out of the race. Until Spenser hops on the candidate's bandwagon.

But getting back the tape of the lady's X-rated indiscretion is a nonstop express ride to trouble--trouble that is deep, wide and deadly.

Crack another case with Spenser.
©1992 Robert B Parker (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A thriller all the way." ( Seattle Times)

What listeners say about The Widening Gyre

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good

This was a good Spencer book, but not one of the best, in my opinion. I could not get too attached to the politician and his wife. The politician is supposed to be madly in love with her (gallant and sacrificial love), but from what we know about her and her personality, it is not too believable that he could be so madly in love with her. For some reason I found this book a little flat so I could not give it a "5". It may be that I like Joe Montegna's reading skills better than Michael Prichard's. Prichard is good, but Montegna is better.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Spenser; Politics?

This is a foreshadowing of the next two Spenser novels Valediction and A Catskill Eagle. The politician Meade Alexander will soon be Spenser and Susan will be Ronny; the drunk slutty woman who likes "granny sex" though as far s we know Susan does limit her mistake to one man. As with Spenser; Meade's loyalty to his lady knows no bounds; he'll go to any lengths and compromise any or all of his values to protect her. Though in my less than humble opinion, it's difficult to understand why in either case. Susan is already stretching the boundaries of Spenser's tolerance and it isn't hard to discern that this doesn't bode well for the future of their relationship.
There are some nice touches to this story; the confrontation with the muscle in Springfield; the Globe reporter Cosgrove. Finally the teenager at the granny party "shaking her head at the bogusness of it all" are all nice touches.
In retrospect a great deal of my rating it 4 stars goes back to the mid 80's when I first read it in print form. I was living in Boston at the time and I'd just discovered Spenser; some nice memories there. This is a quick listen and there are some snatches of humor that I enjoyed; if you're new to Robert Parker and want to give Spenser a shot; don't start with this one. Most of the Spenser mysteries up to this point are superior to this one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Standard Spenser

I've read them all. The description of the fashions of the time is amusing; like looking at your high school yearbook. Susan is, as always, insufferable.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Black leather trench? Spenser is better than that.

I am working my way through the Spenser oeuvre, sometimes in print and this time (obviously) in audio. And as much as I like Spenser, and as much as I like the Boston settings, I was in a hurry to get to the end of this one (and it's a testament to Parker's great storytelling gifts that I am already ready for the next one). As other reviewers have noted, the political candidate is a deeply unsympathetic character with this Christian pieties (and did anyone else register that this storyline prefigures the Moral Majority and the Christian Right?). But worse is that the plotting is very weak in this one and the action is almost nonexistent (no Hawk, one smallish fight near the beginning, a shoot-out at the end.

The biggest problem with this rendition is the narrator – and the issue is not with his skills, but with his voice. It's an old man's voice, a voice that you cannot attach to a big, athletic man capable of subduing two hooligans at the same time and chinning himself up a balcony to break in toe Gerry Broz's apartment.

And about my title for this review. Spenser is a traditional guy in a lot of ways (he's surely an iconoclast too, but he dresses up when he's going out for dinner or to meet clients). And he lives in tradition-soaked, preppy Boston. I ask you: Would that man ever wear a black leather trench coat (mobsters and wannabes wear that, not Spenser)? And would that man ever wear a cowboy hat in Washington, DC? I submit that he would not. Parker's the boss, but I think he makes a lot of character-driven clothing mistakes, and the ones in this novel caught my eye, er, ear.

One other pleasure from these older ones. I try to date the books based on specifics in them – here, the politician mentions VCRs and it had to in the days when they were reaching the masses. I thought 1984 or 5 for the publication year, and it turns out to be 1983.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Now my favorite author.

I love Parker‘s writing. He is funny, erudite, and an exceptionally skilled writer. Prichard’s reading is perfect. Parker’s dialogue is superb. Some of his values, in today’s environment, are perhaps far from politically correct, although his characterization of Hawk and his love for Susan belie much criticism. Keep it coming.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good plot. Good character insight.

Classic Spenser. Hints at character changing. Shows Spenser is volunerable. Good plot. I was wondering how Spenser was going to resolve it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Weak 3 stars.

Not as good as others in the series. My mind wandered at times.

Here’s a term I hadn’t heard - granny sex. Sleazebag invites 40-something women to his home for sex orgies with college boys. A two-way mirror allows others to watch, take pictures and laugh. The older women have sags and wrinkles that 20-somethings don’t. That was unsettling. Two of these sex scenes are briefly described - no details.

As to plot, characters, and actions - nothing really grabbed me, nothing memorable, not as much wit or humor as in prior books.

The narrator Michael Prichard was very good.

Genre: PI mystery

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Parker Has Done It Again

I am reading all of the Spenser Series books in a row and Parker is good again.
This book was not a thrilling as some of his previous books but good just the same.
The narrator is OK but Burt Reynolds and Joe Mantegna are better readers.
Can't wait for the next book in the Spenser series.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A typical Spenser but reader not as good.

Th story is a good Spenser but the new reader takes away from the story.