Sunday 16 July 2017

Book ~ "Valediction" (1984) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ 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.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston.  The book opens with Susan, Spenser's girlfriend of ten plus years, getting her PhD after spending time away in Washington.  Then she announced to Spenser that she had a job in San Francisco and was moving there tomorrow, with no regard to his feelings.  What?!  Not acceptable behavior after dating for more than ten years.

In the meantime, Spenser is hired by Tommy Banks to find his girlfriend, Sherry, who was apparently kidnapped by a cult church.  Spenser finds Sherry but she says she is happy being with the church and wants to be left alone.  In the course of his investigation, Spenser discovers that the church may be involved in money laundering with a construction company it's been lending money to.

This is the eleventh in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have liked the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.  Though it is part of a series, for the most part it works as a stand alone.  Paul, who we first met in Autumn (the seventh in the series), is back but there isn't a lot of explanation about who he is and how he is connected to Spenser.

I liked the writing style ... I found it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I found the interaction between Spenser and Susan annoying ... they spoke often on the phone about how much they loved each but they can't be together.  They were both moping like they were teenagers and it got old really quickly.  And Spenser was going on and on about it to his friend, Hawk, and Paul.  When Susan abruptly left Spenser, he jumped right into dating and the next day he and the woman he is dating are in love (though he still loves Susan).  Really?!  And he also referred to loving Candy, who we met in A Savage Place ... he was her bodyguard and they'd slept together once.  Really?!  I wasn't buying any of it.

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