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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.
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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.
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