A serial killer is on the loose in Beantown and the cops can't catch him. But when the killer leaves his red rose calling card for Spenser's own Susan Silverman, he gets all the attention that Spenser and Hawk can give.
Spenser plays against time while he tracks the Red Rose killer from Boston's Combat Zone to the suburbs. His trap is both daring and brave, and gives the story a satisfying climax.
"Like Philip Marlowe, Spenser is a man of honor in a dishonorable world. When he says he will do something, it is done. The dialogue zings, and there is plenty of action...but it is the moral element that sets this series above most defective fiction." (Newsweek)
The hero of Parker's bestsellers and a popular TV series, Boston private eye Spenser tells his 15th story, this time about events that affect him personally as well as his psychologist lover Susan Silverman and their buddy, Hawk. A husband murders his wife imitating the ``Red Rose Killer,'' a serial murderer who has been leaving a rose on the corpses of his victims, middle-aged black women. When the spouse admits his guilt, government higher-ups assure feminist and ethnic pressure groups that the elusive maniac has been caught: case closed. But Spenser's friends in homicide, angered by the cover-up, enlist him and Hawk in an unofficial investigation that seems to implicate some of Susan's patients. Resenting the intrusion on her professional territory, Susan nevertheless cooperates. Spenser and Hawk, as guards, are therefore present during the psychologist's session with the dreaded but pitiable killer and the ensuing tense, final scene. Parker's biting wit, onomatopoetic dialogue and convincing characters are again notable attractions. So are details on the ambience of Boston and environs, except for one slip surprising in so accurate an author: discussions of the possibility of electrocution in Massachusetts, where there is no capital punishment. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (July)
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April 01, 1989
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