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The Professional (Spenser #37)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  4,122 Ratings  ·  439 Reviews
A knock on Spenser-s office door can only mean one thing: a new case. This time the visitor is a local lawyer with an interesting story. Elizabeth Shaw specializes in wills and trusts at the Boston law firm of Shaw & Cartwright, and over the years she-s developed a friendship with wives of very wealthy men. However, these rich wives have a mutual secret: they-ve all ha ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published October 5th 2009 by Putnam Adult (first published 2009)
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*I wrote this long review where I indulged in some Parker bashing a few weeks back. I just read that he died today. Yes, I do feel like a jackass.*

Once upon a time there was a crime writer named Robert B. Parker, and in the early ‘70s, he started a line of books about a P.I. named Spenser. The books were good and the critics loved him and deemed him the heir to Raymond Chandler. He wrote about a dozen of these books and everything was great for him and his readers.

Then disaster struck. His wife
Bill  Kerwin

An unsuccessful but somewhat interesting Spenser. All the irritating Spenser things (motive-exploring dialog, Susan, the Tonto-ization of Hawk) are here, but the delightful things (snappy patter, vivid descriptions of places and people, drive-by literary allusions) are here as well.

To further complicate matters, the book's principal strength turns into its greatest weakness. Parker introduces an obvious Spenser character foil--Gary Eisenhower--whom Spenser likes and even somewhat admires. Sure,
James Thane
Boston P.I. Spenser makes his thirty-seventh appearance in The Professional. Four women are married to older, wealthy men and each of the women has been having having great sex on the side with a man named Gary Eisenhower. Sadly, Eisenhower has been videotaping his sessions with the women and is now blackmailing all of them. The women would like it to stop--the blackmailing if not the sex--and so they hire Spenser to deal with the problem.

Spenser swings into action, along with the usual cast of
Jul 12, 2010 KarenC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KarenC by: follow the series

The usual snappy TV dialogue reminiscent of the old Spenser for Hire show coupled with a much more introspective Spenser. I'll always hear Robert Urich and Avery Brooks doing the dialogue. A fast read, thanks to larger print and lots of white space; finished in less than 12 hours of reading time.

A storyline that seemed to drag itself out, as if it didn't want to end; much like the "case" Spenser worked on with a lot of free time on his hands. A little too much Susan and not enough of the smart,

Jay Connor
Oct 10, 2009 Jay Connor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for:
Much like using a sorbet as a palate cleanser, I needed to read a little Robert B. Parker after my bloated course of Pynchon. So I was going to enjoy "The Professional" on almost any terms. The fact that it was an enjoyable romp with Spencer and Susan was like finding that cool scoop in the crystal dish is MANGO!

Parker has written over 50 books, perhaps half of which feature Spenser et al. While Parker seems to becoming ever more economical as a writer -- the book must be published in 20 point f
Nov 02, 2009 Nette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Spenser. You are a Korean War vet, which makes you at least 74, yet you can still beat up 25-year-old thugs, eat and drink like an Amish farmer after a barn raising, and make hot monkey love to Susan Silverman every single night. What is your secret, man? And Susan, who must be in her late 60s -- why is she still supermodel gorgeous? And why is Hawk (who's been eligible for the senior meal at Denny's for at least 15 years) still attracting college coeds, despite speaking in that creepy diale ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Pro” is one of the late (#37 of 39) Spenser novels by Parker himself. It has a somewhat different tone to it in that Spenser doesn’t really know how to proceed throughout most of the story. Four younger women with rich older husbands have all been cheating with the same charming gigolo. When that guy decides to try his hand at blackmail, the women hire Spenser to see if he can get it stopped. There doesn’t appear to be an easy answer, particularly as most of them continue to indulge. Spenser ge ...more
I found this paperback ($10.00 MSRP!) at the dumpster. I'm a fan of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series (I've read about 10) so I took it home. This is the next-to-last Spenser novel Parker wrote before he died, in 2010, and it didn't do anything for me. Maybe it's me - that I've just grown tired of private detective Spenser, his gorgeous, super-smart Harvard educated Ph.D. psychotherapist girlfriend, Susan, her dog Pearl, Spenser's black, thugish pal, Hawk, the Boston police, Boston in general, a ...more
Spenser is hired by the attorney for 4 women with rich husbands who all had (or are still having) affairs with the same guy. Now he's blackmailing him. Of course getting him to stop isn't so simple. Spenser crosses paths with a couple of thugs hired by one of the husbands. A few murders later and things get even more complicated.

Of course Susan Silverman is there to help Spenser understand some of the psychological problems involved. Hawk shows up but unfortunately he doesn't have much to do in
Feb 04, 2010 Carla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so sad to hear that Robert Parker died last week. I have read all the "Spencer" detective novels (35 at last count), each one aloud to my husband since we discovered them about 15 years ago. The first few years it was wonderful -we had almost 20 years to cover (he wrote about one a year). I was surprised to see that I had not listed them in my "books read" section, but they are a bit of a guilty pleasure. The plots are very similar each time, which does not decrease our enjoyment one iota. ...more
Sep 06, 2010 Genie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, this case appears straightforward. Four wealthy women arrive in Spenser's office with their lawyer. They are are all having affairs with the same man, Gary
Eisenhower. They are all married to older men in prominent positions who know nothing about their extra curricular activities. The affairs are about to be revealed because Eisenhower is blackmailing them and the huge amount of money in payoffs can not be kept secret much longer. Gary has been making audio and video tapes of their t
Aug 15, 2011 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime Fiction fans
I am sure going to miss my yearly "Spenser" fix now that Parker has passed on. I'm trying to drag out the books I haven't read but I usually finish his offerings in a couple days at most.

This one was up to his high standards as he takes on, as clients, four married women who are being blackmailed by a recent lover, Gary Eisenhower. At least that's one of his names. He is tasked with getting Eisenhower to stop because the women can't afford to pay forever but do not want their husbands to find ou
Jan 28, 2010 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Kelly Reynolds,vanessa
Although this should not be considered a comparison to other 4 star rated books, this was enjoyable enough for me to assign it to this one. The Professional, was one of Robert Parker's last mysteries written prior to his death this past year. As ever,this Spenser novel is filled with his usual cast of stars and with numerous colorful personalities. One could not classify his stories as having a heart-pounding, suspenseful nature; but the plot moves along pleasantly, with much wit and clever repa ...more
At this point, reading a Spenser book is like slipping on a comfortable pair of shoes or visiting an old friend where you laugh at the same jokes or gossip about the same people. There's nothing wrong with that and I gladly picked up them up as they came out.

Even after finishing the book, I'm not sure who the title The Professional refers to. The story is a bit of a mess but there was the standard cast of characters.

What starts out as a blackmail scheme (as per the back of the book) gets resolve
David Bryant
Well told, but with a disturbing finish.
This book is classic Spenser, from the standpoint of style and situations. It may have been one of Parker's last novels.
I very much enjoyed the first half. it was full of humor, and i laughed aloud a number of times. As always, it was a quick read. (This would be a very good beach book, or airplane book.)
About half-way through, you think you are done. The initial situation has been resolved, seemingly to the clients' satisfaction. (The term "client" might
Mar 13, 2014 Leew49 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Gary Eisenhower is a womanizer who prefers young women married to rich older men. Charming, witty and handsome, he lives well off the largesse of his lovers. Then one of them suggests a bolder plan: Blackmail. And one of the blackmailed wives realizes that this could be her chance to escape a loveless (but profitable) marriage and have Gary all to herself.

Spenser is hired by a lawyer representing four blackmail victims, and he brings along the usual cast of characters: his PhD girlfriend Susan,
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 Amy Paget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine writing 37 novels with the same core cast of characters! Robert B. Parker’s being doing that with his Spenser private-eye series since 1973. The urbane PI, Spenser, his psychiatrist lover, Susan Silverman, fellow boxer, Hawk, and various Boston police detectives and villains populate this contemporary hard-boiled series. As with any series, there are stronger and weaker titles, and I am pleased to say that the newest entry, The Professional is a great one. Spenser’s characteristic wit is ...more
I was listening to this, one of the last Spenser novels, on audio and smiled. (I will miss Robert B Parker and his cast of characters who inhabit his world. ) In one scene, Spenser joins Hawk at a bar. Next to Hawk is a hardback, which has a place marked about 100 pages into it. Spenser asks Hawk what he is reading.

"The new Evanovich book."

"Any good?"

"Would I be reading it if it ain't?"

If Hawk can read Evanovich, so can I. :)
Jan 21, 2016 Stacey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I don't feel like reading The Professional was a complete waste of time, I would not recommend it to other readers. The Professional uses very simplistic language. If just one 'said' had been replaced with an inquired or proclaimed or questioned or stated or ,even, asked, the overly simplistic language would have shot up. As it was, the word 'said' must have made up a quarter of all the words in the story. Second, I felt the characters were very simplistic and not very believable. The wome ...more
Oct 28, 2014 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I'm on a Robert B. Parker tear this year, and found this one in a charity shop the other day and plowed right through. While there's no way you can the Spenser novels are "cozies," they rarely have real bite (lots of real violence, even brutal, but rendered in a TV movie kind of way). This one, about a con man preying on wealthy married women who like sex, did have a scene that surprised me. One of his victims, a proper woman with a taste for danger, got sexually excited in talking to Spenser ab ...more
Oct 20, 2009 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is a typical Spenser novel and if it does not introduce new plot wrinkles or blaze new paths, it is a fun read. These books are so short and so tersely-written; they are literary gumdrops waiting to be gobbled up. Enjoyable, but I'm waiting for a new Spenser novel that will toss a spanner in the works of his carefully-put-together lifestyle.
3.5 stars. Full of the usual terse witty prose that any Parker/Spenser fan can attest to. One of the best PI series out there. I thought the storyline was a little flat on this one though, thus a 3.5 instead of the usual 4 star ratings from me for Spenser books.
Jan 06, 2010 Skip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
It pains me to give such a low rating to a Spenser novel, but they have become ridiculously formulaic. This one revolves around a blackmailing satyr. Ever the romantic, Spenser saves the guy's life in order to accomplish his clients' goal.
Jan 10, 2014 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different kind of Spenser book

Spenser is back with a different type of mystery, and not necessarily for the better. I'm a big fan of a younger, tougher Spenser. A Spenser that was hassled by the cops, fought with the bad guys and generally spent his time wisecracking himself into and out of tough scrapes.

Sadly, The Professional is not that. This one is filled full of relationship discussions (I think Oprah actually moderated some of the scenes!), including more of the endless talk between S
Matt Hany
Nov 22, 2014 Matt Hany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good outing for Spenser and his friends. I am nearing the end of this series and am feeling a bit wistful about it. Robert B Parker passed away last year and I think I have only 2 of his Spenser novels left to read. In this book Spenser is brought in to help a group of women who are blackmailed after all sleeping with the same lothario. Spenser then gets involved with the various husbands and other people as he tries to intervene. Along the way there is a murder and then Spenser must get ...more
Don Crouch
This just in: Spenser finds women interesting. We know this because he tells us so. Frequently. More than one interesting woman fuels events in The Professional, Parker's front-line Spenser offering for '09. Within the first page or so, Spenser speaks of no less than 4 women who interest him. Of course, his primary interest is Susan Silverman, and he is nothing if not loyal. Still, interested.

He's hired by one of them to look into the affairs of a bunch of other women (of as yet undetermined int
John Culuris
The post-Poodle Springs work of Robert B. Parker have come to be known by two unifying traits. The first is unsatisfying endings. Cases solve themselves and bad guys often walk away unscathed, both because the author couldn’t find an appropriate way to bring things to a close. The second byproduct of Parker’s abandonment of plotting is filler. Is there another answer when the work has to get done but you are unsure of what should happen next? The increasing fluff and padding turned me from a loy ...more
Jan 21, 2010 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, Spenser fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2009 Kayeb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Spenser and Robert Parker The ongoing question I have is if "Spenser" ever runs into folks who talk and talk. Certainly a characteristic of Parker is the brevity of style and the reparte...but it just seems that a challenge to both author and character would be to add in that dimension.

A knock on Spenser's office door can only mean one thing: a new case. This time the visitor is a local lawyer with an interesting story. Elizabeth Shaw specializes in wills and trusts at the Boston law fir
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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 44 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)

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“The best moments in my life,” I said, “have come because I loved somebody.” “Yeah,” he said. “And the worst,” I said.” 2 likes
“And rich older husbands,” I said. “And perhaps some evidence of promiscuity,” Susan said. “I mean, every young wife doesn’t cheat on her husband. Why” 0 likes
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