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Valediction by Robert B. Parker

Valediction (1984)

by Robert B. Parker

Series: Spenser (11)

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Susan graduates from Harvard and now has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Unfortunately for Spenser, her first job is in San Francisco---she wants some away time. Spenser does not take this well.

There are several triangles in the book: Susan is involved with a man in San Francisco, although she tells Spenser she will always love him (Spenser). Spenser starts seeing the woman in the window in the building across from his; she has an ex-husband whom she still sees. Spenser's case is to help a man whose girlfriend has left him (perhaps against her will) for a religious cult with a charismatic leader.

Once again, Spenser continues to find out about the people involved long after he has accomplished what he was originally asked to do. And once again there's a lot more going on and it doesn't end well for some. I think Parker was as interested in playing with triangles as he was in creating a complicated case.

Rita Fiore is still a district attorney. Paul Giacomin is in a dance troupe and has a girlfriend. Hawk has a girlfriend and helps out. Martin Quirk, Joe Broz, and Harry Cimoli are also around.

Oh, and there's a reference that I didn't get at all, but the last line of The Sun Also Rises is "Isn't it pretty to think so ?" Parker has Rita Fiore say to Spenser:

"Wouldn't it be pretty to think so," Rita said.
"Christ, a literate prosecutor," I said. ( )
  raizel | Jan 24, 2016 |
Valediction is yet another Robert B. Parker novel featuring Spenser, the formidable Boston based private eye, who apparently has no first name. This story (number 11 in the Spenser series) begins with a graduation ceremony at Harvard University where Susan Silverman, Spenser’s long time inamorata, receives her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, thus preparing a vehicle for much Freudian analysis to take place in future novels. In this one, however, Susan receives a job offer in San Francisco, which is not in easy commuting distance from Spenser’s office in Boston.

The two lovers separate not only physically, but also psychologically, for reasons that neither thoroughly understands. No matter, it gives Parker an excuse to provide depth in their relationship, and a chance for both of them to meet other people. We learn that in an earlier novel, Spenser was romantically involved with a woman in Los Angeles (Candy), who had hired him to protect her. He didn’t do such a good job since she ended up dead, which induces some melancholy rumination in this book.

At first, Spenser spends a lot of time brooding and talking to his sidekick Hawk about Susan’s absence. Fortunately for both Spenser and Hawk, Spenser gets distracted by what initially looks like a kidnapping case. The case gets more complicated, involving narcotics, money laundering, murder, and religious cults. Spenser also gets sexually involved with a new woman, Linda, but - being a true gentleman - only after full disclosure of his relationship with, and fixation about, Susan Silverman. Moreover he meets for the first time the red-headed, provocative prosecuting attorney Rita Fiore. Rita will show up in numerous other Spenser books, and also in Parker’s Jesse Stone novels.

In addition, we learn that Spenser wears a size 48 suit jacket [he really is big] and that he is quite good with a gun, managing to shoot and kill four bad guys in the dark with only five bullets and a short nosed 38. This latter adventure is sufficiently terrifying to Linda that she finds being with Spenser somewhat less attractive than it had first seemed.

Evaluation: The dialog in this book is not as snarky as in most Spenser novels, but the kidnapping-narcotics-money laundering-murder-religious cult case is sufficiently convoluted to make it a good tale.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Jan 23, 2016 |
As Spenser novels go, this was strictly middling. Serviceable, yes. Compelling at times, yes. Overall? Meh.

This does contain some significant movement in the Spenser/Susan relationship, however, so if you are trying to read your way through the series, you won't want to skip it.
( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
cult drug ring & transcontinental love

  aletheia21 | Oct 13, 2013 |
The most dangerous man to cross is the one who isn't afraid to die. But the most deadly is the one who doesn't have anything left to live for. Spenser has just lost the one woman who made life worth living. So when a religious sect kidnaps a pretty young dancer, no amount of death threats will make Spenser cut and run. Now a hitman's bullet has Spenser's name on it. But the bad guys have no idea how ready and willing Spenser is to meet death more than half way.

I enjoyed this book even though it was a little confusing towards the end. I sort of lost the thread a little. I gave it a B+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Feb 5, 2012 |
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Dull sublunary lovers' love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things that elemented it.
John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
For Joan, like gold to airy thinness beat
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There were at least three kinds of cops in Harvard Yard...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440192463, Mass Market Paperback)

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 #1 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:21 -0400)

When a religious sect kidnap a young dancer, a hit man?s bullet soon has Spenser?s name on it. But the most dangerous man to cross is the one who isn?t afraid to die, and Spenser has just lost the woman who made his life worth living.

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