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Back Story [Format Kindle]

Robert B Parker

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Descriptions du produit

In this 30th entry in one of mystery fiction's longest-running and best-loved series, Spenser--the tough yet sensitive Boston private eye with no first name--takes on an unsolved murder nearly three decades old. The client, an actress, is a friend of Paul Giacomin, Spenser's surrogate son (who first appeared in 1981's Early Autumn). Her mother was slain by leftist radicals at a bank holdup in 1974, and now she wants to know who fired the shot. As Spenser digs into the past, he soon learns that powerful people on both sides of the law want the case left alone--badly enough to kill.

These death threats provide a fine excuse for Hawk, Spenser's extremely scary (yet sensitive) bad-guy pal, to tag along in nearly every scene as bodyguard. The interaction of the two friends is one of this series's familiar pleasures, as is the presence of Susan Silverman, Spenser's longtime love interest. Another pleasure is Parker's stripped-down prose, a marvel of craftsmanship as smooth as 18-year-old Scotch. (Plus we get the first meeting between Spenser and Jesse Stone, hero of another Parker series.) Alas, the whole enterprise feels a little tired. The plot never generates much sustained suspense, and the author's adoration for his central characters renders them at times almost cartoonesque. Still, Back Story is excellently prepared comfort food, even if it isn't five-star cuisine. --Nicholas H. Allison

From Publishers Weekly

Spenser's respectable 30th outing (he debuted 30 years ago in The Godwulf Manuscript) finds the veteran Boston PI teaming briefly with Jesse Stone, the cop hero of a newer Parker series (Death in Paradise, etc.). The move works because Parker plays it low-key, presenting Stone as just one of many characters who cross Spenser's path as the PI-hired by a friend of his adoptive son, Paul, for the princely sum of six Krispy Kremes-digs into the 28-year-old murder of a woman during a bank robbery; the friend is the slain woman's daughter and wants closure. Before Spenser bumps into Stone, the top cop in Paradise, Mass., he connects the killing to the daughter of big time Boston mobster Sonny Karnofsky, an old foe. When Spenser won't back off, Karnofsky threatens Spenser's girlfriend, Susan, then orders a hit on the PI. Enter as protection longtime sidekick Hawk; other series vets make appearances too on Spenser's behalf, including cops Belsen and Quirk and shooter Vinnie Morris. An interesting new character, a Jewish FBI agent, also helps out. The repartee between Spenser and Hawk is fast and funny; the sentiment between Spenser and Susan and the musings about Spenser's code are only occasionally cloying; and there's a scattering of remarkable action scenes including a tense shootout in Harvard Stadium. Series fans will enjoy this mix of old and new, but the title kind of says it all: this series, probably the finest and most influential PI series since Chandler, could use some forward momentum.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 334 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 304 pages
  • Editeur : No Exit Press (26 avril 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00C8X74FG
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°105.633 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 In defense of Spenser 29 mars 2003
Par O'dell Isaac - Publié sur
Many of the reviews I've read about Robert B. Parker's latest Spenser novel, Back Story, suggest that it is unlikely to win any new Spenser fans. This may be true, but Parker's 30th Spenser offering seems to be designed not with new fans in mind, but for old Spenser junkies like myself who have grown older along with the gumshoe, Susan, Hawk, Lt. Quirk, and the rest of the series characters. After several novels, a series become less story-driven and more character-driven. Back Story is a classic example.
Hired by surrogate son Paul Giacomin for a box of six Krispy Kreme donuts, Spenser sets out to solve the murder of a woman who died in a 1974 bank robbery. Following a trail that's nearly thirty years old, he soon discovers that several people don't want the murder solved -- and that some people are willing to kill to keep it under wraps.
Character-wise, Parker pulls out all the stops. In addition to Hawk, Paul, Quirk and Belson, we are re-united with some of Parker's more colorful characters: former Joe Broz gunman Vinnie Morris; Junior and Ty-Bop, two enforcers for black crime kingpin Tony Marcus; and Ives, the mysterious Company man (too bad Parker didn't find a way to weave Rachel Wallace into the story). There is very little suspense in the book, but that's never been Parker's strong suit anyway. Action-wise, the series peaked with A Catskill Eagle, but there are just enough punches and bullets here to keep the story rolling, culminating with a shootout in Harvard Stadium. And of course, there's the fabulous verbal interplay between Spenser, Hawk, Susan, Quirk, Frank Belson, and just about everyone else. Susan, whom I've often found superfluous to the series, shows her value here, as she helps Spenser through a brief bout of self-doubt. Hawk is -- well, he's Hawk: unfailingly loyal to Spenser and Susan, deadly to just about anyone else. And Spenser never lets us down, working a dangerous case for no money, finding out things his client (a co-worker of Paul's) would rather not know, determined to see the case through to the end. Not many people can understand the complex moral code he lives by, but Susan does, Hawk does --and maybe that's enough.
If you're a fan of detective fiction and you've never read a Spenser novel, I would recommend that you begin from the beginning and pick up The Godwulf Manuscript, the inaugural novel of the series (I would also wonder what planet you are from, but that's neither here nor there). The Spenser novels truly are one of the great treasures of contemporary American fiction. Back Story is a satisfying read, but it is nothing special -- unless you spend a little time with the characters first.
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Got Two Hours to Kill? 23 avril 2004
Par Patrick Burnett - Publié sur
I don't know what compels me to keep reading Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series. The plotting has become almost nonexistent, the dialog is recycled from book to book, the books are getting shorter and shorter and Parker mainly seems to amuse himself by seeing how many characters from previous books he can pack into the current one, so it obviously isn't for the fresh, original take on the private eye genre.
But it's still fun, dammit. Somehow, Parker always manages to engage my attention. The interaction between Hawk and Spenser still amuses, Spenser's twisted honor code still thrills and Susan's soppy shrinkiness still annoys.
In this outing, we are on the hunt for the perpetrator of a killing 30 years in the past. The actual plot is incidental, as Parker seems to be making things up as he goes. The characters are, as usualy, thinly written and heavily dependent on stereotypes. But Spenser gamely travels from Boston to New Hampshire to California and back, giving us all our two hour's worth of lively description and jaunty heroism.
If you are already a fan of the series, you've already bought this one and don't need my review. But if you are not already a fan, don't start here. Go back to the fabulous days of Ceremony, A Catskill Eagle, The Judas Goat and you will become a fan, ready to read and grouse over each new entry in the Parker oeuvre.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 what can you get for 6 donuts? 18 mars 2005
Par Paul Skinner - Publié sur
You can get Spenser, that's what. A lady wants Spenser to solve her mom's murder from 28 years ago, and once Spenser starts snooping, he discovers both the mob and the FBI wants him to stop. But why? He snoops around a bunch that reminded me of the Sybonese Liberation Army (remember Patty Hearst?), i.e., overgrown hippies who break laws in their quest for social justice.

As usual, Robert B. Parker keeps his book moving quickly, with rapid fire action and snippy dialog between Spenser, Hawk and Susan. A classic Spenser novel.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Honorable Detective Is Tested 11 juin 2003
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur
Back Story involves Spenser almost casually in an abandoned trail to a 1974 killing of actress Daryl Silver's (nee Gordon) mother, Emily. When she was 6, Daryl's mother was killed while cashing some traveler's checks in the old Shawmut Bank branch in Audubon Circle. A revolutionary group, the Dread Scott Brigade, was responsible. For openers to the case, Spenser quickly is puzzled by a reference to an FBI intelligence report in the case file . . . a report that has gone missing. Soon, he has visitors who firmly ask him to "desist" from asking questions about Emily Gordon because "it is in the best interest of the United States." Spenser learns that "a tax audit is not impossible." Next, a less polite visitor arrives with a gun and shoots a hole in a lamp shade. "Boss wanted you to see me shoot." As Spenser begins to sort out the crime, his "client" tells him she doesn't want to know any more. Spenser continues relentlessly, despite being "paid" only six Krispy Kreme doughnuts flown in thoughtfully from out of town by Paul Giacomin, Spenser's almost surrogate son. Spenser's sense of duty is even stronger than he thought. He's stirred up a hornet's nest and the hornets had better look out!
One of the great appeals of this story is the extensive involvement of lots of Mr. Parker's best characters. That makes the story development a lot of fun. You'll find out about Paul's career as a theatrical director, spend lots of time with an armed and dangerous Hawk, Vinnie Morris is brought in for protection, Quirk is advising from the sidelines, and Susan is adjusting to a new "Pearl" whom Spenser brings back from Toronto. During the book's resolution, Spenser teams with Jesse Stone (of Death in Paradise, Trouble in Paradise and Night Passage) in a memorable collaboration of the two strong men.
The context for the story was also very appealing to me from a nostalgia point of view. The bank robbery described mimics a similar crime in Boston which brought me back to my younger days. There are hippies from the free love times. Spenser finds himself in the middle of a gunfight at Harvard Stadium following a jog nearby in an earlier chapter. Government cover-ups were prevalent in 1974, so hearing about another one brings back those memories.
The story's resolution also chimes in well with recent developments among the crime lords in Massachusetts, giving the book an up-to-date feel.
As usual, the dialogue is crisp, witty and original. I don't remember better.
Then why did I rate the book at four stars rather than five? Unfortunately, the mystery itself is something of a clunker . . . being way too obvious and coming into the open way too soon. If Mr. Parker had kept the mystery hidden better and longer, this would have been one of his very best books. As it is, the book is extremely interesting, entertaining and amusing. The development of Spenser's moral obligation to solve the case is very fine. All Spenser fans should immediately read Back Story!
After you finish, think about what ethical challenges you would respond to . . . even after it became in your personal best interest to stop.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A compulsive read from the tough guy genre's Mr. Reliable. 13 mars 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur
Spenser's back -- how many times have we heard that? This is the 30th time he's back, making him an institution several times over. The plot of this (su)spenser dredges up idiocies of the early '70s era that began the series, and that Parker never quite got out of his system. A Patty Heart-like political bank robbery went badly wrong 28 years ago (dating from May 2002), leaving a member of the gang dead at the scene and a coworker of Paul Giacomin's theatrical troupe still angry and upset over the unsolved loss of her mother. Working for six Krisky Kreme donuts as a fee, Spenser takes on one of the most dangerous cases he's faced -- it's also dangerous to his partner Susan, who's threatened by her association with him. Nothing he turns up -- and it's quite a bit -- appears to confirm the assumed facts of the case, and it becomes clear early on the FBI is covering up something it doesn't want known. As in the previous books, good food and lovemaking are close seconds to a solid investigation. We get Spenser's usual acerbic zingers here, and Hawk gets a number in as well, because he's treated as a betrayer to the black cause by radicals and ex-radicals supporting African-American liberation. My only complaint is that Parker lays descriptions of food on a bit heavy before the pace of the book picks up; after that, I was relieved Spenser had a chance to eat between trips to the west coast. As in "Stardust," the woman needing his help is unwilling to help him, so he has to call in most of his favors to unearth the hastily buried family mess that festered over the years. References to "Hamlet" keep us alert to the problem of an unfairly killed parent -- or so it would seem till it's clear who killed who and why. As usual in the Spenser novels, the truth comes twisted enough to undercut our trust in its rectification. Finally, Susan is among the most attractive women ever depicted by an American writer: her strength of character and insight, her constancy and independence make it clear that she (not Spenser) is the real backbone of this series.
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