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Ceremony (Spenser #9)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  4,516 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
Boston private eye Spenser's search for a missing high-school girl takes him to Boston's Combat Zone, to high-class, specialty brothels, and back to the straight world whose righteous facade overlap pervasive corruption.
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 9th 2010 by Dell (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
May 24, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
When a troubled teenager named April Kyle is seen hooking in Boston, her parents want her brought back. While Spenser won't work for the father at any price, he takes the case for the princely sum of one dollar from April's mother. Spenser, Hawk, and Susan soon find themselves caught in a web of underage prostitution and pornography. But what do you do when a runaway prostitute doesn't want to come back home?

After reading the most recent Ace Atkins Spenser book, I decided it was time to fill in
Bill  Kerwin
May 14, 2007 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is one of my favorite Spenser novels, because in it he accomplishes two things which Parker writes about with an extraordinary combination of sympathy and cleverness: Spencer saves a troubled young person trapped in a world of vicious adults, and he does so by devising an unorthodox solution to an otherwise unsolvable moral dilemma. Autumn was such a book, and may be Parker’s masterpiece; Ceremony is very much like it and just as good.

Teenager April Kyle has left home, and is turning tricks
Jul 02, 2008 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser, Hawk and Susan get to crash a house party in this one. Hilarity ensues.

High school guidance counselor Susan is worried about April Kyle, a troubled drop-out type of kid who has run off from her parents. She asks Spenser to talk to them about finding her, but April’s dad has seen his daughter hooking in Boston’s infamous Combat Zone. Now he’s pulling a my-daughter-is-a-whore-and-not welcome-in-my-house routine. Spenser refuses to work for him but takes a dollar from his wife to find Apri
Mar 30, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spenser
Spenser is looking for a runaway teenage girl, that doesn't want to go back home, to her dad that don't want her back. Might ruin his image as a successful business man, because she's turning tricks.
Our tough and funny PI, gets an up close and personal look into child porn. He isn't joking around much, walking around in the Combat Zone, where the sex for sale is everywhere. Another fine early Spenser & Hawk tale.
Cathy DuPont
Dec 15, 2011 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Yipee!!! Both Hawk and Susan are back and I hope don't leave anytime soon in upcoming books. For me, they both just make Spenser more interesting and I love their banter, all of it. Gives Spenser come challenges in how he looks at life.

Should have know it was about children some how, some way, due to the cover; a Teddy bear with money stuffed in shirt. The subject, child prostitution, was a new and different subject for Parker and certainly a hot topic even today, almost 30 years since first pub
Brent Soderstrum
This is the 9th book from Parker's Spenser series. This one deals with teenage prostitution. Scary to think this stuff really happens. Spenser is "hired" by April's parents to find her and bring her home. April is a 16 year old drop out who is hooking in the Combat Zone, which is a raunchy, dumpy section of Boston where almost anything goes.

Susan, Spenser's girlfriend, has talked Spenser into taking the assignment even though he can't stand April's father. Spenser takes a dollar from April's mom
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 18, 2014 Gerald Sinstadt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Ceremony is ninth in the Spenser series. Dedicated students will be interested to see notable changes since we began with The Godulf Manuscript. Susan Silverman is established by now but she is still not in independent practice. There are clues to Hawk's origins.

The plot is a variation on a familiar Parker theme - a teenaged girl is missing, Spenser is hire to find her and bring her back to unloving patents. Violence erupts frequently. The dialogue is smart and often amusing. These are ingredien
Mar 04, 2009 J.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have just completed another Robert B. Parker book: "Ceremony." While I enjoy Mr. Parker's storytelling, the ending, which I do not wish to give away, disturbed me.

Despite my opinion on the ending, I still give it 4 stars. Mr. Parker, as the author, is an excellent storyteller, and the one who creates the ending for his book: here, Spenser must come up with a quick solution to save a young girl from the jaws of a low-line prostitution ring - a girl who does not want to go back to the safety of
This is the 9th book in the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker. I confess, I used to watch the T.V. show with the late, great Robert Urich as Spenser and Avery Brooks as Hawk. I say this, because as I am reading this book I am hearing/seeing Robert Urich and Avery Brooks in my mind. It made the story even more "alive" than usual. This story deals with the "seedier" side of Boston, mainly whoring. So, if you like less "real" mystery/crime novels, then this is not one for you. The main character i ...more
Jane Stewart
2 stars. My mind wandered a lot, but it might have been other things going on in my life - not sure.

If you’re new to the series and just want to read some, skip this one. It’s not a lot of muscle and wit. It’s mostly Spenser trying to find a teenage girl who runs away from home and does not want to be rescued.

The narrator Michael Prichard was very good.

This is book #9 in the Spenser series.
Narrative mode: 1st person Spenser. Unabridged audiobook length: 4 hrs and 31 mins (224-228 pages). S
Teenage prostitution, hypocrisy and tough choices dominate this excellent mystery. It feels like Chapter One of a bigger story, and adds some more depth to this ongoing portrait of this one-named sleuth.
Feb 22, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great as always, this one has Hawk in it which is always a huge plus!!
James Castle
Feb 01, 2017 James Castle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
A generally well-written novel, rather spoiled for me by a few unbelievable touches. Spencer and Hawk stumble upon a major conspiracy ring in which top Boston education officials have been siphoning high-school dropouts into a mafia-backed prostitution ring. I'm willing to overlook the bias against education implicit throughout this book, but my disbelief was un-suspended when Spencer's girlfriend Susan, a high-school guidance counselor, helps a young waif she and Spencer have just rescued- at g ...more
Jim C
Jan 25, 2017 Jim C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of a series but each book can be read as a stand alone novel. In this book, Spenser delves into a seedy side of Boston as he looks into prostitution an other sex related crimes. Along for the ride are Susan and Hawk.

I really enjoy this series. Out of the first nine books this one was probably the darkest one as we really dive into the sex crimes and teenagers. A personal highlight for me with these books is it brings back memories of how Boston was and how much it has changed i
Jim Kelly
April Kyle's parents want Spenser to pull her off the street. He combines forces with Hawk and Susan to breakup an underage prostitution ring.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connie N.
Nov 21, 2012 Connie N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
When you think about it, Spenser and Hawk are really not very nice guys--they live in the dark side of the city and deal with really bad people. But such is the beauty of Robert Parker's writing, that he makes them seem friendly and nice and extremely likeable. I love the relationship between Spenser and Hawk and Susan--they have a wonderful friendship/love that keeps me amused and smiling. This story is the first about April Kyle, as they search for her in the world of prostitution. Many reader ...more
Aug 12, 2010 Chuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
51 out of 100 for 2010

I have read all the Spenser series over a period of about twenty years, so I decided 'twas time to reread them. I planned to do that in order, but, because of a lack of availability, I have had to jump around in 'the early years.' Ceremony isn't exactly early, but it was only eight years and eight books into the series (1982; Parker first published in -74 and published, pretty reliably, a book a year in the series 'til he died.).

Interesting to go back this far; Spenser's wo
Nov 29, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser is hired, at the urging of Susan Silverman and for a fee of one dollar, to look for April Kyle, a teenage drop-out with an overbearing father who has fled to The Combat Zone and a life of prostitution. Teaming up with Hawk, Spenser delves ever deeper into the seedy side of Boston, uncovering a child pornography ring that has links not only in the criminal underworld but also into local government. It’s been longer than a year since I read a Spenser novel and getting into this was like se ...more
Dallas Gorham
Apr 14, 2015 Dallas Gorham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert B. Parker is the master of private detective mysteries. Ceremony is no exception. Ceremony is the ninth book in the Spenser series, written in 1982. Spenser’s girlfriend Susan Silverman asks him to locate a teenage girl who has run away from a dysfunctional home. Spenser’s adventures take him from tony suburbs to sleazy urban streets where he confronts a variety of misfits, pimps, and mobsters in his search for the runaway who has become a prostitute. When Spenser finds the runaway and tr ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've settled down to happily completing all of Parker's
books. I keep finding them at the library by reserving
them. In this book April Kyle is a teen runaway that
Spenser is hired by her parents to find. It was interesting
to see how Spenser rises to the task of helping April find a
satisfactory life for herself when the parents are inadequate
for the task because of their preoccupation with their lives.
I had read a later Spenser book where April resurfaces some
10 to 15 years later. I found knowing t
Aug 22, 2015 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot of this early Spenser (#9 of the original 39) is reminiscent of several others in the set – Spenser is hired to find teen-aged April who has turned into a Combat Zone hooker. He finds her (of course) but she in no way wants to go back into a troubled household; and then skates off. Our hero, with some help from Hawk, hunt for her again, although the “mob” has apparently hidden her better this time – and much of the book revolves around what to do with her when they find her. Susan Silve ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Kyle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1982. My first Spenser mystery and I wasn't impressed. It has some great old Boston Combat Zone scenes, but the writing is strictly hack stuff. Adequate. The fighting that Spenser and his black army buddy, Hawk, do in this book is simply not credible. And it went on so long it was as boring as those ridiculously long fight scenes in some movies. Seriously, I put the book down in the middle of a fight and didn't pick it up til the next day. His perfect-seeming relationship was also suspect in my ...more
May 19, 2014 Metagion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late 1970s, Boston. The Combat Zone was alive, well and doing brisk business, and people--be they pimps, hookers, whores, junkies, johns, wise guys or regular folk, are in & out like the seedy carnival it was. Spenser takes on a case of a 16-year-old runaway named April Kyle, a school dropout who turned to living on the streets and hooking rather than go to school. It seems pretty straightforward: get the girl, return her home, resume normal life, until routine questions in the Zone turn ...more
Bryan Reyes
Sep 09, 2014 Bryan Reyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I bought this book. Definitely not because it has the "X-rated" word in it. Maybe because I want to read a Robert Parker. And a detective novel aside from Sherlock. I loved this book's twist and turns. I loved the character development and the way it presented the story until the case was solved. If being a detective (or a detective's aide) is as cool as what the book portrayed, I'll definitely start my own detective agency. Well, I was conservative with this book and gave it a ...more
Chris Norbury
My first Robert B. Parker read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Fast-paced, taut prose, authentic dialogue, good MC and supporting characters. The MC, Spenser, is just enough a wise ass to make him humorous, but still serious and not overplayed just to create the humor.

I read this in a day, which is good and bad. Character development is minimal at best, setting is often overlooked as are character descriptions and backstory, and the plot was straightforward with minimal twists or surprises.

A gr
Sep 17, 2014 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As always, a novel with a Hawk in it is fun. The fact that this client was taken on for a dollar and caused so much hassle is pretty much par for these novels. The fact that it was about prostitution and eventually came to a tolerant view is neither here nor there, but it does keep in line with the whole idea of freedom. Freedom to choose your own poison, etc. But bleh about the way the children are being used and are willing to be used. I'd have been quite satisfied with Spencer and Hawk mowing ...more
Richard Needham
Ceremony is #9 in the Spenser series, and takes place in the Boston area, focusing on the very colorful Combat Zone. This is mostly a Spenser and Susan novel, with Hawk peripherally involved. A troubled suburban high school girl, April, turns to prostitution: Spenser and Susan (April’s Guidance Counselor in Smithfield HS) get her out of the abusive Combat Zone but then, after much discussion, deliver her into the hands of a high class New York Madam that figured in one of the earlier Spenser ser ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I had to force myself to finish the first Spenser book, I persisted merely because I have come to love Robert B. Parker's writing style. I have read all of the Jesse Stone series, watched all of the Jesse Stone films, read all of the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch novels (next read will be The Bridge) and have now read nine Spenser mysteries. While I appreciate that these characters live on thru the writing of other authors since Mr. Parker's premature death, no one can match his ability ...more
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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)
  • The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)
  • Valediction (Spenser, #11)

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“We split a bottle of Norman cider. Not everybody sells Norman cider by the bottle.
"Has a European feel" Susan said.
"That sounds terrific" I said. "Can I have one?"
Susan grinned at me. "How did you ever get to be so big without growing up?" she said.
"Iron self-control" I said.”
“I can’t put the profession ahead of the people it’s supposed to serve,” Susan said. “It would be like teachers who care more about education than students.” 0 likes
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