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Publisher's Summary

The most dangerous man to cross is one who isn't afraid to die. But the most deadly is one who doesn't want to live. And Spenser has just lost the woman who made life his number-one priority.

So when a religious sect kidnaps a pretty young dancer, no death threat can make Spenser cut and run. Now a hit man's bullet is wearing Spenser's name. But Boston's big boys don't know Spenser's ready and willing to meet death more than halfway.

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

Critic Reviews

"Tough, wisecracking, unafraid and unexpectedly literate - in many respects the very exemplar of the species." ( The New York Times)

What listeners say about Valediction

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

A Single Dream Exacts a Terrible Price

The headline is something of a paraphrase from The Great Gatsby.Susan Silverman is involved with another man and rather than coming back to Boston she's moving to San Francisco. So Spenser dives into a depression, he dates, and he courts death by taking on a heroin ring to rescue a girl and give her an opportunity to reunite with her boyfriend. Still Spenser keeps the faith. In himself, in Susan, in Hawk. A darker work than the usual Spenser novel it works as a change of pace from the normal Parker take on his alter ego.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not the best Parker, but still pretty good.

Robert B. Parker wrote a number of Spenser novels, in which Spenser's best friend was a black guy named Hawk, and his girlfriend was a woman named Susan Silverman. In this book he essentially subtracts Susan. Frankly, I think it is a loss, but I understand the need to shake things up a little, particularly for a writer as prolific as Parker. The plot concerns a church which is a front for something else (I won't spoil it for you) and some gangsters who seem somehow to be involved with the church. Michael Prichard does his usual terrific job of narrating the book. Spenser comes very close to dying at the end, which is a twist, as he and Hawk are usually possessed of ultra-masculinity and powers that few other men could even dream of. There is a love interest, a woman named Linda, but she comes off as weak and colorless, compared to the erudite Susan. Spenser's devotion to Susan is almost comical, if it weren't so utterly pure. If you haven't read any of the Spenser books, I would not start here. The earlier books are absolutely terrific. This one is not. There is way too much plot exposition at the end. Spenser lives, but as Hawk says, "You ain't the man you was." Ain't it the truth.

3 people found this helpful

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MY CUP OF TEA

I have most of the Spencer series, and for whatever reason I had not listened to this one.. I think it is one my favorites. I really liked the story. I like Michael Prichard better than Joe Montagne. It is simply personal preference. They are both good at their portrayal. I did not miss Susan Silverman. Their relationship is not entertaining to me. All in all it worked well and I was so happy to have this medium to help me through an entire day of garden work. The last Spencer story I listened to was by Ace Atkins, In my review, which seems even more valid now, I commented on how his over use of the glib personality weakens the story, destroying the illusion of credibility. ------ This one is a winner in my books.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator not very good

I like the Spenser novels, but this narrator is not very good, he's rather monotone, and the sound quality is poor as well. I think it's an older one or something, because I have heard Spenser books read with a different narrator who is much better.

2 people found this helpful

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always enjoy me some spencer

we like the storyline, don't understand Susan some of the time. the multiple relationships are exciting and complex.

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Okay

I love the Spencer series, but the main character is in a bad place emotionally in this book. The love of his life, Susan, has mistreated him badly. I hate her!!! Not one of the better books, but still good.

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Love is hard

Excellent book. Good example of what love often really is, complicated. Good read. Very enjoyable.

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Big chase one of the best; love stories painfully genuine

Final scene flips expectations without enough foreshadowing. Some of Spenser's meditations get long winded and repetitive. Hawk is surprisingly ineffectual. So Parker seems to have been playing with playing against expectations. In spite of that it's a good read and interesting to see a different woman react to him as a lover.

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Weak 3 stars.

Not as interesting as others in the series. Plot and characters were ok, but nothing special.

At the end we learn about a surprise bad guy. Not enough was said about that person’s motives and actions.

I’m reading the series because I like the author’s witty lines, but they have been less frequent in later books. There was one good line in this book. Spenser tells someone Hawk will guard him. The guy says “Can he guard me alone?” Spenser says “Hawk could guard Yugoslavia alone.”

You don’t need to read the prior books, but it was handy to have read book 8 before this (A Savage Place). In this book Spenser has a dream about finding a woman dead which happened in book 8.

Spenser and Susan have been in love and in a committed relationship in prior books. In this book Susan left him, moved away, and wants alone time. Although Spenser is suffering, he dates and has sex with Linda.

The narrator Michael Prichard was very good.

Genre: PI mystery