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Crimson Joy (Spenser #15)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,435 Ratings  ·  121 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
Brent Soderstrum
I have a hard time giving a Spenser book a two star rating but I came close with this one. Just not much to it. The ending saved it but still disappointing.

Anyone with mommy issues should enjoy this book. A psycho killer is stripping, duct taping their mouths and tying up African-American ladies. He then takes a gun and inserts it into their lower opening and fires the gun. He leaves the victim with a red rose laying on top of her. Spenser is helping the cops find this serial killer. It then tur
Gerald Sinstadt
Feb 25, 2014 Gerald Sinstadt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Bill Khaemba
Oct 04, 2016 Bill Khaemba rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This almost put me on a reading slump!!!!!!!

Sep 08, 2014 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Aug 19, 2010 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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;
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
Apr 21, 2012 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 25, 2015 Marti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!

May 17, 2012 Yeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
joyce lynn
Mar 10, 2008 joyce lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 13, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spenser
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.
Jun 29, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 21, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the series, characters (because they have some) & plots. This one was especially interesting — Recommended.
Aug 03, 2015 Shuriu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2017 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Spenser is doing pro-bono work for Quirk. There's a serial killer, perhaps it will take Spenser, Hawk and the entire Boston pd to solve the mystery. Excellent read.
Oct 18, 2016 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One can always count on Robert B. Parker to deliver good reading entertainment. The man had an amazing amount of natural writing skill and the ability to create believable characters. Spenser is one of his best creations.
Apr 19, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 14, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael O'Leary
Jun 14, 2015 Michael O'Leary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Mar 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spenser
#5 in The Read all the Spensers in 2016 Challenge.

It terms of Spenser novels, this one isn't bad. I rather enjoyed it quite a bit. It takes something fairly serious (a book about a serial killer) and makes it as light hearted a book as can be expected for one about a serial killer.

While when I read my first few Spenser novels a few years back, I got the impression they were all really similar, the more you tackle, the more the differences show. The characters remain rather consistent, but Parke
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
Shirley Worley
Jul 08, 2013 Shirley Worley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: robert-b-parker
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
Nov 21, 2010 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
I always enjoy the Spenser mysteries. This one was one of the better ones. A serial killer (Red Rose Killer) is loose in Boston and he could possibly be a patient of Susan’s. Susan and Spenser have gone thru quite a transformation in their relationship. I respect Parker’s effort in setting a great example of what a very close and intimate relationship can be like. Communication is key and Parker nailed it. I felt like Susan and Spenser became closer in this book. Their jobs became interlinked an ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Tiina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the earlier Spenser novels, with much less of the witty dialogue that is so typical of the later books. Here was a real mystery, and very little of Spenser's showing off his fighting skills. Having read this book, I can understand some readers' disgust of Spenser's lady friend, Susan. There was soooo much description of how he feels about her, it is really not that interesting. However, I do enjoy a Spenser novel any time.

Criticism: this book is extremely quick to read, so the enj
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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 45 books)
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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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