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Spenser is one of my guilty pleasures. I read them in print as they came out, up to this one and a little beyond, and listened to a few of the later ones. Lately I’ve started listening to the entire series in order. This is one of my favorites. Hawk and his new girlfriend (!) take Spenser to the ghetto to seek justice for the murder of a teenaged girl and her baby. Spenser novels are always very “talky” and here the talk is mostly about the role of gangs in the ghetto. Then there is all the usual action, gun play, instinctive reaction to extreme danger, etc, formulaic, but entertaining for people who like this kind of stuff.
Robert B. Parker wrote old fashioned macho detective stories in the style that made film noir so much fun. The irrestible middle-aged tough guy with the brilliant beautiful lover (more than girlfriend, not quite wife), written by a middle-aged wanna-be tough guy is self-indulgent and sometimes tedious. Spenser’s relationship with Hawk is more interesting. Neither is the other’s sidekick, they are equals who back each other up as the situation requires. In Double Deuce, it’s Hawk in the lead. As usual, the plot is secondary to dialogue, but the story here is more intriguing than some of Parker’s books.
The narrator is just wrong. I didn’t much care for Michael Prichard in the first 18 books, but David Dukes is far worse. His faux-“accents” are awful - “accents” in quotes because none of them sounds like anyone I’ve ever heard in actual speech. White guys doing black voices is always tricky, and with Hawk you have a white guy doing a black guy who sometimes speaks like a sophisticated intellectual and sometimes does a mean imitation of David Niven. Not easy, but Dukes always just sounds like a white guy trying to mimic a black guy. Of course any of us who ever watched an episode of Spenser: For Hire will always expect Hawk to sound like Avery Brooks, but I seem to remember liking the later narrators (Burt Reynolds and the very fine Joe Montegna) just fine.
Once you identify the main players, you could read the books out of order, but there is some character development along the way. In order is best if you can get past the less than brilliant narration. If not, just skip ahead to the later books.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It was difficult to continue listening to this story because of the reader. His idea of voices for the black characters was embarassing.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
I love this book, its one of my favourites of RBP but David Dukes delivery of Hawk is terrible, i only managed about 6 minutes before I had enough. Hawk is a tough talking, strong african American male yet in this David Dukes makes him sound like a 12 year old girl. TERRIBLE, dont waste your money on any RBP Books that he narrates.
What didn’t you like about David Dukes’s performance?
Poor delivery and interpretation of characters
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?