Have to admit it - seeing the name Joe Mantegna on an audio book sells me immediately. His incredibly compelling reading of Boardwalk Empire is one of my all-time favorites and the same can be said of PAINTED LADIES.
A 40 year show business veteran he is an accomplished, versatile actor as evidenced in over 100 films (The Godfather Part 3, Forget Paris, etc.) In addition, his television appearances have garnered critical praise (The Rat Pack, The Last Don. Criminal Minds).
This wealth of experience is obvious in his stellar narration of what regrettably is one of the last Robert Parker Spenser novels. Mr. Parker will be greatly missed, and I join millions of others in remembering him for the many hours of listening/reading pleasure his books have brought.
In his inimitable way Parker grabs us from the beginning with PAINTED LADIES. Spenser has agreed to guard art professor Ashton Prince during a ransom payoff - thieves are being paid for the return of a stolen painting. As it turns out Prince really needed a guard as he's blown to bits during the procedure.
We all know that Spenser can't let that pass so he determines to find out exactly who stole the painting, why the ransom wasn't simply accepted and the painting returned, and why and by whom Prince was so explosively dispatched.
We're treated to the return of some of the characters we've learned to appreciate in previous Spenser tales as well as some intricate sleuthing on Spenser's part.
As I understand it there is one more Spenser novel due out next year. Meanwhile, enjoy PAINTED LADIES and the narration of Joe Mantegna.
- Gail Cooke