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Crimson Joy (Spenser #15)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,840 ratings  ·  100 reviews
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 st
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 2nd 2009 by Dell (first published June 1988)
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Serial killers are the cockroaches of crime fiction. No matter how many you see, there’s always a million more. Even Robert B. Parker doing his updated version of old school detective novels with Spenser couldn’t escape the siren call of doing a book about a wacko murderer back in the ‘80s when the serial-killer-as-villain took over the genre.

A psycho has been killing black women and leaving a red rose with the bodies. Spenser’s police buddy, Quirk, gets a letter from the killer claiming that he
Gerald Sinstadt
Robert Parker is always seeking to extend the boundaries of the conventional private eye story. Susan Silverman is present for more than just grown-up love interest. Susan is a psychologist and Parker is clearly interested in psychology.

Crimson Joy is not a mystery for many chapters. Instead, Parker makes the killer a central character, his mental make-up and motivation gradually exposed and explored.

Hawk is a presence, humour and smart dialogue play their part but this is essentially a serious
“Crimson” is the 15th in Parker’s lengthy (42) Spenser series; and while we’ve polished off only a handful so far, we feel pretty intimate with him and lover Susan and sidekick Hawk. In this tale, police buddy Lt. Quirk is on the hot seat with three dead black woman in their 40’s murdered, with enough calling cards to determine a serial murder spree by the “Red Rose” killer. When Quirk gets a note from the killer that suggests the slayings are the work of a cop, he created a small team of himsel ...more
Someone is killing black women using the same MO: duck tape, shot with the same gun, a rose, and leaving evidence of masturbation. He also claims, in a note to the homicide detective in charge, to be a cop. Lt. Quinn asks Spenser to help from outside the department. Soon they are forced to deal with a copycat who has confessed. And then the real bad guy. Predictable.

OK story with the usual humorous banter, but I do get annoyed with the therapeutic babbling indulged in by Susan and Spenser. In th
Spenser, Susan, Hawk, as well as policemen Quirk and Belson are all involved in this story of one of Susan's clients who kills four black women--not all at once. Which of the nutcases will it be, and will he attack Susan. Susan gets a gun and proves a good shot. THe others follow various men. Of course Susan isn't going to be attacked!

Dr. Susan Silverman, Spenser's girl, deals with folks from every walk of life from her office in Boston. A licensed psychotherapist, she listens and helps people deal with everything from trauma to the everyday kind of problem that needs resolution; but what do you do when one of your patients is a killer? Four black women are tied up and murdered in their homes, with a signature: a single red rose is left at the scene. Can Spenser stop this madman before Susan becomes his next target? Find out ...more
61 out of 100 for 2010

I would have to say that this is in the top tier of the Spenser novels. In it, Parker experiments with point of view (not all of the novel is in the traditional first person point of view most characteristic of the Spenser series) and stream of consciousness. It's also the first novel in the series in which Spenser assembles a "team" of men for a common cause--in this case, Spenser, Hawk, Quirk, and Belsen to protect Susan.

It's also more of a traditional police procedural;
You just don't mess with Susan. Spenser, Hawk and the whole world comes down on you! I had totally forgotten this one, or maybe I missed it the first time around.
Michael O'Leary
Crimson Joy, is number 15 in Robert Parker's Spenser series. It is one of Parker's older books, revealing Parker and Spenser at their best. This events in this story affect Spenser 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 ...more
A serial killer is on the loose; he binds his black female victims, strips them naked, sticks his gun in their vagina and pulls the trigger. Once he commits the act, he masturbates and leaves a long-stemmed red rose with the victim. After three murders, Belson and Quirk are getting nowhere and they have a strong suspicion that the killer is a cop. Therefore, they call in favors and recruit Spenser to aid them in the case. He complies and has the same suspicions. The killer taunts Quirk to try t ...more
When the fourth victim of the press-named Red Rose Killer is found dead, with no seeming pattern other than they’re all black females, Spenser is called in by Lt. Quirk to help out with the investigation. The killer has left a note, saying he’s a cop and Quirk needs someone - beyond Belson - that he can trust. When another victim is found and her husband confesses all, the powers-that-be want the case closed but new suspicions are raised when it appears that Susan might have the killer as a clie ...more
I really liked this book. It is number 15 in the Spenser series, and I must say I like Spenser in the early books. He is more raw, more deliberate, but still maintains his philosophy and ethics. As many folks know, I am a die-hard Robert B. Parker fan, and I hang out with several other Parker fans--a motley crew if there ever was. Still, the bad guy in this book is great to hate, and that makes the reading so much fun.
This is another old Parker that I rediscovered. Women are being brutally murdered by the Red Rose Killer. Quirk calls Spenser in to help him investigate because they suspect the killer may be a Police Officer. All the protagonists a Spenser fan expects are part of the plot, as is a killer whose methodology and obvious psychosis calls for Susan's expertise. All in all, a quick and satisfying read.
As far as I can tell this is the first Spenser novel to feature a non-Spenser POV chapter. That sums up what's wrong with this novel. Those chapters are jarring, unnecessary, and, not to speak ill of Parker, were probably written to pad the novel.

The first Spenser novel that I've felt so-so about. One out of fifteen's not too bad.
Spenser is asked to help find the "Red Rose Killer", a sicko brutally murdering women. Not as much "action" in this one, a "lot" about Susan :) Sometimes I wish Spenser didn't love her as much as he does.
But, with the banter between him and Hawke, I'll give it 3.5 stars.
joyce lynn
not one of THE best of his, but i'll admit, one of the BETTER ones in this series. i liked how Susan got more involved this time, and can understand the conflict she felt both as a dr, and as a woman.
I went back to the kitchen and began to pound a couple of boneless chicken thighs with a heavy knife.
"Takes a tough man to make tender chicken," I said….
I sprinkled some rosemary on the flattened chicken thighs and put them in olive oil and lemon ice to marinate. (p. 11)
"What's for supper?" she said.
"Grilled lemon and rosemary chicken, brown rice with pignolias, assorted fresh vegetables lightly steamed and dressed with Spenser's famous honey-mustard splash, blue corn bread, and a bottle of
This is the first Robert B. Parker novel I've read in a long time. As soon as I started the book, I realized how much I've missed Spenser and Hawk, and of course Susan. Crimson Joy was off the chain! Spenser and Hawk had an interesting dilemma...a serial killer was one of Susan's clients. This put the relationship between Spenser and Susan into a brief turmoil, but those two were so in love that this hiccup just made their relationship better. I love this series.
Cathy Cusson
This book was hard to put down. I loved the banter between Hawk, Susan and Spenser. I enjoyed seeing more of Quirk and Belson. It was just an enjoyable read. The end was . . . . unexpected. I thought the book was over, turned the page to see more two more pages from the killer's point of view - and a confession I was wondering about but still had not expected. Then the book was over and I was left to think oops, they missed a bad guy.
So-so. I've been reading Spenser since I was 19, but this was the first time I got this far in the series. By #15, Spenser and Susan are getting a bit tiresome with their self-congratulation, and there seems little new character ground explored with Hawk, Quirk, or Belson. And a serial killer with mother issues is not that much fun. So, I'll probably not be proceeding to #16 (Playmates) any time soon.
Kevin Beck
Spenser is called in to assist Quirk and the Boston PD with a serial killer investigation. As is usual with Parker's later books Susan has to be involved as the killer's therapist. The conflict between Spenser and Susan over the serial killer leads to more than the normal amount of psycho-babble and "my god aren't we special. Forever" dialog. I was sort of rooting for the serial killer at times.
Connie N.
Spenser never fails to entertain me, and this book is no exception. Spenser is funny and irreverent and makes subtle jokes which make me laugh. For instance, chases after a fast runner who runs out of steam while Spenser, although slower, eventually catches up. He goes up to him and says, "Hello, hare." Subtle, brief, but amusing. Classic Spenser. Another reason I like this book is that Quirk and Belson work closely with Hawk--so ironic and yet so perfectly Spenser/Parker. The connection, as is ...more
I like Spenser and I like Hawk which is what makes these books work for me. I like the quips and the sarcasm. Unfortunately I think there was less of that in this one. A lot of the book took place between Spenser and Susan. There is a lot of them working out why their relationship works so well and how they can both can do their jobs, even when they happen to intersect, and still keep their personal relationship strong. At times it seemed to be the focus of the book even more than the serial kil ...more
Since there is probably a Spenser book or two I haven't read (like this one) I'll be picking one up from time to time. Usually with a Spenser novel, you know who the protagonist is right from the start but not in this case which is a little refreshing although rooting out the serial killer doesn't seem to take too much effort because fortunately the killer is being treated by Spenser's girlfriend. That leads to some disagreement as their professions clash.
Stephanie Smith
I love Spenser. I particularly love it when Spenser and Susan work together and examine the psychology of a killer as they do in this book, number 15 in the Spenser series. My only complaint about this one from mid-way through Parker's Spenser tales is the lack of much of the Hawk/Susan/Spenser interplay that I crave and have come to expect from this series.
What can you say about a writer who can conjure up the likes of Spenser as well as Hawk. Their repartee is the hook and the plots and additional characters reel you in. Anyone who has lived in Boston will particularly enjoy the settings and characters. I am trying to finish up reading every single one of the Spenser series. Almost done!
This book is an example of why I like Parker's Spenser books so much. It made me wonder if, in a future book, Hawk intentionally decides to talk like a ghetto black man whose words were written by an old white guy, in this book his dialogue is so much more adequate and tolerable than in later ones.
Spenser, Hawk, Susan, Belson and Quirk hunt down a psychopath killer who has mom issues. Serious mom issues. But, Parker has a point "the thing about monsters is, you want to kill them until you meet them, and when you meet them they don't seem monstrous, and killing them begins to seem unkind." And he has another good point too (about love) "all the received truths of popular culture presume that successful love is rooted in shared interests. Dating services computerize preferences, hobbies, va ...more
Shirley Worley
Spenser, Hawk, Quirk, and Belson join forces to catch a serial killer. His targets are all 40-ish black women, bound, gagged, and shot. A single red rose left on each body earns him the title Red Rose Killer. After seeking professional advice from psychologist Dr. Susan Silverman, it is soon evident that the killer is one of her patients. When it seems his next target may very well be Susan, the significant other of Spenser, the course of action pits Spenser's and Susan's professional ethics aga ...more
Working my way thru the the stories, but am kinda over the Susan and Spenser drama. I think they are a little over the top in their love for each other, too deep for me. Sorry .....
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Robert B. Parker.
Robert Brown Parker was an American crime writer. His most famous works were the novels about the private detective Spenser. ABC television network developed the television series Spenser: For Hire based on the character in the late 1980s; a series of TV movies based on the character were also produced.
More about Robert B. Parker...

Other Books in the Series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 43 books)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • God Save The Child (Spenser, #2)
  • Mortal Stakes (Spenser, #3)
  • Promised Land (Spenser, #4)
  • The Judas Goat (Spenser, #5)
  • Looking For Rachel Wallace (Spenser, #6)
  • Early Autumn (Spenser, #7)
  • A Savage Place (Spenser, #8)
  • Ceremony (Spenser, #9)
  • The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Chance (Spenser, #23) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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“The thing about monsters is, you want to kill them until you meet them, and when you meet them they don’t seem monstrous, and killing them begins to seem unkind.” 0 likes
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