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Taming A Sea-Horse (Spenser #13)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  3,703 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Spenser's interest in teenage prostitute April Kyle leads him to Robert Rambeaux, ersatz Juilliard student and April's pimp, and to Ginger Bucky, another of Rambeaux's hookers, who suddenly turns up dead.
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 16th 2009 by Dell (first published 1986)
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Bill  Kerwin
Dec 02, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

After a brief detour into cliche and self-indulgence (A Catskill Eagle), Parker returns with a Spenser that, although it does not break new ground, harvests a fine crop in old familiar fields. It is a typical Spenser tale, in which our hero--together with all the things he does well--does the one thing he does best: strive to rescue and reclaim a damaged young person from a perilous, bewildering world.

This time, the y0ung person is one we have met before: April, the teenage hooker from Ceremony
The books where Spenser has to deal with prostitution are always depressing because Parker accurately portrayed it as a nasty and degrading business. But then Spenser usually beats up some pimps so it’s not all bad.

Four years earlier, Spenser went looking for April Kyle in Ceremony and rescued her from a life of prostitution. Sort of. When April falls in love with a music student who just needs her to turn a few tricks to pay his way through school, she leaves a safe situation for her new man. S
Feb 07, 2014 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding an old Spenser that I haven't read is much akin to finding literary gold. A fine book and a great way to pass part of the weekend!
Brent Soderstrum
This is the 13th book from Parker's Spenser series.

In the novel April Kyle reappears from Ceremony, which was the 9th book of the series. Well, April isn't around in this one much but she is the focus. The young prostitute has left Patricia Utley's stable and has gone off with a different pimp, Robert Ramboux. Patricia asks Spenser to find April. When he starts questioning people about April they begin to die. This includes Robert and another prostitute named Ginger. Spenser keeps his nose to th
Surprisingly for a Spenser, I actually had trouble getting in this one. I wasn't sure if I'd read it before or if it was just too like the previous April Kyle book but it dragged for me. The second half felt better paced and by the end I was enjoying myself but, altogether, not really a high one on my list.

I think Parker could have done something different if he just HAD to revisit these characters and the idea of prostitution as a life choice.
Mar 22, 2015 Marti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This title is hard to understand. Spenser is looking for a prostitute--hard to find. Hawk helps him out, and Susan makes more than one appearance. Not only two prostitutes figure in this story, but there are a bunch of unsavory men as well. In the middle of it, Spenser and Susan take a trip to St. Thomas. Wow--I'd like to go there again, myself.
Much better than the previous book in the series. Spencer got his groove back, Hawk played a small but pivotal role, and Susan was bearable. Listened to the audio version read by the reliable Michael Prichard.
Jul 15, 2008 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
You just can't go wrong with a Spenser novel!
Boulder Boulderson
This one reads more like Parker's opportunity to hold forth with his opinions of prostitution, prostitutes and pimps, rather than an actual story. Manages to be entertaining as all the Spenser stories are, but not one of the better ones.
Ron Holmes
Mar 01, 2017 Ron Holmes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this continuation of the Spenser story line we re-visit some characters that were in an earlier book. It is skillfully written and there is some sex woven through the fabric.
In this story, Spenser is once again on a noble mission and people are killed, but unlike other Spenser stories, the plot didn’t grab me. Furthermore, the dialog lacked the wittiness found in the other Spenser stories. He was much more subdued, almost fatalistic. Even the scenes with Hawk lacked the dynamic and witty dialog that makes their relationship so unique.
April Kyle, the teenage prostitute Spenser saved in “Ceremony”, has left the high-class brothel run by Patricia Utley and is now on
Dec 14, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hired to find April Kyle, the teenaged prostitute from “Ceremony”, leads Spenser into the seedy underbelly of New York, Boston and the Caribbean, putting him into direct conflict with the mob and needing the help of Hawk and Susan to get the case cracked. Another Parker novel that focuses on the seedier, sleazier side of life, this is a cracking read, written at a fast pace with expert characterisation and descriptions, telling you in a handful of words than some writers manage in pages. Spenser ...more
C.C. Thomas
Apr 04, 2015 C.C. Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Spenser is back! It's so nice to see him return to his pre-Susan-made-me-lose-my-mind days. The last few books in the series were really painful for me to read. I really like to see Spenser as an impenetrable fortress of good and watching him mire about in self-pity was awkward, especially since I so dislike Susan, the cause of his morose pity party.

In this installment, Spenser is called back to the home of his favorite prostitute madam to find a missing girl. However, the more Spenser digs, the
Robert Beveridge
Robert B. Parker, Taming a Sea-Horse (Delacorte, 1986)

One of the fun things about Robert Parker's Spenser novels is that way folks keep popping up and making Spenser's life miserable. In this case, the poppee is April Kyle, a prostitute Spenser encountered a few years before. That story didn't end to anyone's satisfaction, least of all Spenser's. Now it's time for him to find out why. April has left the employ of the madam with whom Spenser set her up to turn tricks for her new boyfriend, a wood
Feb 10, 2016 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
We were not particularly thrilled with “Ceremony”, the 9th of Parker’s original 39-book Spenser set, about prostitute April Kyle whom he “improves” to a better situation from Boston to NYC. “Taming” (#13) is somewhat of a sequel, in that Spenser is once again hunting for Kyle after her pimp gets beat up and later killed, following the death of another hooker (“Ginger”) in whom Spenser took an interest. Moreover, Susan is back in Boston, and already an established psychotherapist; and things are ...more
Cathy DuPont
Ah, another Spenser novel down and who knows how many more to go!

At the beginning the book started to sound tired and worn from reading so many of the other Spenser novels but soon the pace picked up and it had a twist, another in Spenser's long know effort to 'right the wrongs' of society and to accept what he can't change.

Parker's writing is still good, no doubt. Guess I'm just getting tired of so much of the same, same. My favorite parts of Parker's books is when he delves into the psyche of
Teenage prostitute April Kyle, whom Spenser and Susan (Spenser's then girlfriend and April's high school guidance counselor) 'helped' in Ceremony is back (you can read my review of that book to understand the quotes around 'helped'). April's pimp - madam Patricia Utley who runs the high class, New York escort service where April has been working the last 4 years (since she was 16) - hires Spenser to find April because she has left her escort service for the love of a male pimp to work at a place ...more
Connie N.
Typical Spenser novel, better than some. He's looking for April Kyle--again--now that she's left Patricia Utley for "true love" with a musician named Rambeaux. She quickly disappears, and it seems as though she's being manipulated, which indicates that there's something big gong on. In his search for her, Spenser meets another hooker named Ginger who ends up getting killed. He follows her past to see if he can find who killed her. With a little more danger than usual in this one, Hawk is asked t ...more
Jan 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spenser
#3 in The Read All The Spensers in 2016 Challenge

I am usually the sort of person who reads a series from book one to the end. With 39 Spenser novels, it's not easy, especially when you consider that most of the books from the series I have, I came upon for free.

I didn't think it would matter, but this book and the previous one both have strong ties to earlier novels. It makes it evident that I would perhaps enjoy things a bit more if I started from the beginning. The Widening Gyre, Valediction,
Feb 21, 2013 Yeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Mr. Parker's books, and I have missed reading about Spenser and Hawk. Spenser is probably my all time favorite character. The relationships in the Spenser novels between Spenser and Hawk and Spenser and Susan bring me into the story and into their lives. I really enjoy it when I feel like I know most of the characters in a novel.

This particular book, Taming a Sea-Horse, helps to give the reader a feel for who Spenser really is, and what his ethics are about. He is looking for a young pros
Apr 27, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Spenser book (from 1986) where there is a hard subject
(prostitution) but lots of Spenser wisdom. A Newsweek review of a
Spenser book says: "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 them above most detective fiction." Now for some
quotes from the book: "The money matters. I know it doesn't matter very much to you (Spenser). But
Jan 08, 2011 Rusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Susan Silverman is back in Spenser's life with minimal mention of what she put him through in the last few books. Happy together, they find little time to do any real cooking. The problem is an old one: April Kyle, the teenage prostitute Spenser saved in "Ceremony" has left Patricia Utley's call girl service to turn tricks for Robert Rambeaux, her current lover. Spenser does some investigating but before he gets too far April disappears, Rambeaux is beaten up by someone and one of the hookers he ...more
Mar 28, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

march 2009
While reading this book, I thought it was not at the same quality of plot as Parker's other Spenser books. Toward the end, I realized this, in fact, was not a typical Spenser book. This is a cautionary tale. Covering up in one area can lead to reprecusions(sic) in all areas, like ripples in a pond. It reminded me (in a free association sort of way) that years ago, Harry Kemelman wrote the "Friday the Rabbi Slept..." series But one of his books used the Rabbi Small format to be a Q &
Jim Thomas
Sep 22, 2016 Jim Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
It's not until I read Parker again that I'm reminded that although Ross Macdonald may have been better in the Hammett/Chandler style of hardboiled detective fiction, Parker is by far the closest anyone will ever get to the wit and clever cynical repartee that Chandler wrote, at least on a superficial level. I'm glad Parker was prolific because I'd kill to be able to find there were more unpublished Chandler books. I suppose Parker's ability to build from Chandler's style is why he finished Chand ...more
Jared Adams
Jul 05, 2016 Jared Adams rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
A sequel to "Ceremony," which was a weaker book than normal. This book was better by and large, but still not quite up to the quality of the series thus far.

Part of the problem is April Kyle, the prostitute character from "Ceremony." I find it hard to sympathize with a woman who continually puts herself in awful situations, and the goal of Spenser here is doing just that. Interestingly, I feel Parker sensed this too, because a different prostitute character is introduced partway through who is m
joyce lynn
Jan 31, 2008 joyce lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a good book, w/ some twists. not as many "twists" nor as much of a "thriller" as his others, but ... still good.

at the same time, tho, definitely NOT one of this series that i've enjoyed the most. couldn't tell you why, just wasn't. maybe that too many people were killed rather needlessly, or that some lives were thought of as so indispensible because of their occupations, or ... i just don't know why, all i know is that it wasn't one of his better books in my opinion.

can't get ahold of
Alan Baxter
Sep 13, 2012 Alan Baxter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, noir
Classic hard-boiled thriller fare with a suitably misogynistic private eye. But this PI has heart and smarts and it's a totally inoffensive, good fun read that clips along.

The dialogue is sharp as a fresh knife and Parker's understanding and portrayal of fighting and violence is spot on. More like an episode of Miami Vice than anything else, this is not a mind-blowing story or a shattering exploration of the form, but it is a very good venture into the depravity and real horror of prostitution.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2012 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just another "Spenser" - not the best of them but, by a long shot, not the worst of them either!
I like Parker's writing and I'm reading the whole Spenser series as much in order as I can although there's been a few get out of order for various reasons like availability or comparing the book to the movie or TV show supposedly based on that book. Not being a Western story fan I haven't read any of his Western series but I must say that I liked all of the "Jesse Stone" series more than most of the
Jack Cheng
A Spenser book from the mid-1980s. Pretty middling, and the plot depends on previous knowledge of characters, but even middling Parker is better than most detective fiction.

A real timecapsule of fashion and attitudes of the time, and I enjoyed not only the regular depictions of the Boston area (including the Ming Garden restaurant, long closed, opposite the Chestnut Hill Mall, whose sign always intrigued me), but also NYC and Portland, ME. Having just spent the weekend there, I was impressed by
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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)
  • 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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