It begins, as many in this series do, in the classic way of a new client visiting the office of the private investigator. This October morning finds attorney Elizabeth Shaw at Spenser’s office. Referred to him by a mutual friend, Rita Fiore, she seeks Spenser’s help on behalf of a group of women who are being blackmailed.


It seems that a number of women have all been having an affair with a man by the mane of Gary Eisenhower.  Things go well for varying periods of time and then he decides its time to cash in.  He tells each one that he has proof of the adultery and will expose it unless they pay up.  The women can’t afford to have it exposed publicly, or for their husbands to know, but can’t pay because their husband’s control the money needed to satisfy Eisenhower’s demands. What they want is for him to go quietly away and for Spenser to make it happen.


With limitations on what he will do and won’t do Spenser takes the case. Gary Eisenhower quickly proves to be an interesting man intent on keeping what is, for him at least, a good thing going.  As the weeks pass and the sordid mess gets worse, Eisenhower begins to learn that there really can be too much of a good thing.


Formulaic and predictable, this is the usual Spenser type novel. Driven forward by dialogue and minimalistic descriptions, the case drags for months as things slowly deteriorate for the parties involved. Robert B. Parker ploughs no new ground for any of the major characters and that isn’t surprising. Much like Stuart Woods with his Stone Barrington character, Parker’s Spenser went two dimensional some time ago and that isn’t going to change. The same process seems to have attacked all of his characters as everyone in this book, good or bad, is a two dimensional and often stereotypical character.


That being said, this fast read will give the legions of Robert B. Parker fans exactly what they want and demand. There is no mistaking the fact that the author consistently delivers what a certain segment of the mystery reading community wants and from a business stand point that makes sense. Apparently there are legions of rabid readers who want light weight mystery fluff and they will surely love this latest effort. Those of us who like more substance to a read will be disappointed. The bottom line is that “The Professional” should be read by you for what it is. Expect nothing more and you too can be mindlessly happy.


The Professional: A Spenser Novel

Robert B. Parker

Thorndike Press


ISBN# 1-4104-1740-9

Large Print Hardback

331 Pages



Material provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009

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