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Double Play (Burke, #1)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,339 ratings  ·  91 reviews
1947: Jackie Robinson breaks baseball's color barrier--and changes the world. The event also changes the life of Robinson's bodyguard--and those changes can prove fatal.
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2005 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 2004)
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Two things I love: Baseball and Robert Parker. Doubly so when mixed together. Robert Parker, famous for creating the loveable and sarcastic Spenser, has taken a pivotal event in baseball (and America’s) history—the moment Jackie Robinson breached the color barrier—and blended it into a noir/memoir/historical novel. Now this sounds pretty cheesy. Okay, I admit. This was creamy Velveeta spread over a brick of Colby jack. But, for me, this story works. Basically, this story is about redemption. Som ...more
Unusual Robert Parker novel that mixes baseball history and a new character, Joseph Burke. Burke, after first having Parker define his credentials as a tough guy coming out of the Korean War who really doesn't care if he lives or dies, is hired to protect Jackie Robinson from the cretins of the world who are dismayed that a black man has been allowed into the major leagues. Obviously, there is little suspense, and the appeal of the book lies in its portrayal of a time and place. It's also a book ...more
It is 1947 and Jackie Robinson has broken baseball's color barrier, but it has not been easy. The Dodgers decide he needs a bodyguard and they hire World War II Vet Joseph burke to protect him. Burke's wife left him while he was in the hospital recovering from war wounds and since then he hasn't cared much about anything or anyone except his job. Lauren Roach comes closes to stealing his heart, but she's trouble. Burke knows guarding Robinson may be dangerous but he doesn't realize that working ...more
Double Play is an excellent fictional portrayal of how Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Joseph Burke is a WWII veteran whose wife leaves him while he's in the hospital recovering from serious wounds; after leaving the hospital, he works as a boxer and a bodyguard and is eventually hired by Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers to protect Robinson in his first year in the majors. Repercussions from Burke's previous job, guarding Lauren, the self-destructive daughter of a po ...more
Quick read from Robert B. Parker – Burke is a disillusioned WWII veteran who returned from Guadalcanal to find a note on the table and his wife gone. Once home, he progresses from fighter to “enforcer” to bodyguard. His good work for the organized crime bosses of New York help him land a position guarding Jackie Robinson, who is about to break the color barrier in baseball. When Robinson angers a white crime boss, Burke has navigate carefully to keep himself and Robinson from getting killed.

A fictional account of Jackie Robinson's bodyguard. I thought it might be more involved in baseball and in the life of Jackie Robinson, but it turned out to be a fairly generic mystery story. It was a decent plot, but the language was often pretty course. Again, a decent story, but nothing to get excited about.
I hate to say this about a beloved (I read all the Spenser novels when I was a teenager) and recently departed author. But this just seemed really, really lightweight, and was more about a pretty uninteresting army vet and much, much less about Jackie Robinson, which is where the true drama should have been,
Stephen King says: "If you only read his Spenser novels, it's easy to forget how versatile Parker can be. This story of Jackie Robinson's fictional bodyguard during the season when Robinson crossed pro baseball's color line reminded me."

Gerd Mueller
Excellent, saying everything without saying or explaining anything. Thats how it works with really good books (or any stories at all by the way).
Pam Nishimoto
After seeing the movie "42" a while back and learning about Jackie Robinson it was fun to read a different perspective on this story.
Two of my favorite things: baseball and mysteries. DOUBLE PLAY, a book of fiction, was written by Robert Parker of Spenser fame. Much like the Spenser books: mystery, quick read. This is listed as Burke, #1 and as far as I know, the only Burke novel Parker wrote. Too bad, I would have liked to see where he took the Burke character. It is 1947, the war is over and Jackie Robinson is breaking the major league baseball's color barrier. Dodger's manager Branch Richey hires WWII and Guadalcanal vet, ...more
Sheila Massingale
Got the audiobook...first Robert B Parker...good so far
Okay not much suspense--will Jackie Robinson be okay??

But Parker does create an interesting character in Burke, who Parker shows in very quick, minimalistic strokes is a disillusioned WWII veteran 2x wounded (once by the war, once by his wife who divorces him as soon as he comes home)--Parker describes Burke's rapid transition from fighter, to collection/leg breaker to body guard. In the middle he gets mixed up with a girl who has more baggage than an airliner at Christmast and winds up guarding
This tale was set in 1947 when Joseph Burke, a WWII vet, returns home both physically and emotionally wounded in combat and on the home front. Burke comes home from the hospital to an empty house, a long period of recoperation time and no job. Using past experiences in the millitary, he begins a in boxing but discovers he's good but not good enough to last long term. Through connections in boxing, he hires on as a bodyguard.Burke signs on with Dodger owner Branch Rickey to protect Robinson from ...more
Parker is most famous for his Spencer novels. This tale mixes the story of a disillusioned WW II veteran with the integration of Major League baseball by Jackie Robinson. Parker doesn’t waste any words, not in description or exposition. His sentences are taut, his chapters terse. Several implausible things happen but they happen so fast that your suspension of disbelief has no time to spring into exasperation before the next scene is not only begun but halfway over. Parker also does a superior j ...more
Jul 11, 2008 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parker fans, baseball fans, Jackie Robinson fans, hard boiled lit fans.
As I've stated in other reviews, I'm a big Robert Parker fan. This book helps cement that feeling. I'm also a baseball fan, a Jackie Robinson fan and a bit of a history buff. No wonder I loved re-reading this book (I first read it four years ago) and finished it in 24 hours.

The themes are not all that different from his other books: male bonding, a laconic protagonist who reminds me of Hawk from the Spenser series, the problems of finding love and maintaining a relationship, and the inherent par
Entertaining, very quick read about Burke, a WWII veteran, emotionally damaged, who takes on the job of being the bodyguard for Jackie Robinson in his first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers. There is a secondary thread following little Bobby, a Brooklyn Dodger fan, that never intersects. The writing is sparse, spare, concise. Not one extra word. Effective.

An imaginative, entertaining, and fast-moving story about Jackie Robinson and his bodyguard, World War II veteran Joseph Burke. Probably a five-star book overall, but minus one star for Parker's decision to insert his own boyhood recollections throughout the book. These italicized passages really slow down the narrative. Parker should have saved 'em for his autobiography, which, sadly, he never got a chance to write.

Also, the Hemingwayesque first sentence in this book -- "Joseph Burke got it at
I somehow didn't think I'd like this book but forged on. And glad I did. The characters were deep and delightful, and though I was doubtful of the premise, it worked very well and resulted in a very satisfying tale.

Great passage on the double standard of sex and advertising.
Chuck Cowing
Jan 01, 2014 Chuck Cowing rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Very good fiction on what it would be like to be Jackie Robinson's bodyguard in a prejudice US.

"Quick read from Robert B. Parker – Burke is a disillusioned WWII veteran who returned from Guadalcanal to find a note on the table and his wife gone. Once home, he progresses from fighter to “enforcer” to bodyguard. His good work for the organized crime bosses of New York help him land a position guarding Jackie Robinson, who is about to break the color barrier in baseball. When Robinson angers a whit
I know...I'm blowing through books at a record pace, but it's stinkin' hot out and when I can't be outside, I'd rather be reading. It's 1947 and Jackie Robinson has been brought up to the major leagues...the first black to play with white players. It's a time of gangsters and mobsters and ugly hatred. Joseph Burke, having just returned from the war, recovering from several gunshot wounds, and divorced after a short marriage, tries fighting (not boxing) to make a living. When he fails, he is offe ...more
A solid little airplane read. My great aunt gave this to me bc she's a huge Robert Parker fan. Once I got a few pages in, I knew I'd be finishing it. Parker is a good storyteller. Nothing fancy, but good, simple writing, a plot that pulls you in, and characters you can easily care about (or loathe).

This was great to read at the end of October bc November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and this book was like a clinic on how to tell a good, simple story w/o a lot of frills, which is
11-1-2013 book on tape at least to priors.
Could be one of my favorite easy reading books.
wonderful story.
clue - if my class did a poster on Jackie R in Feb, then it was not last year 2012 but maybe 2011. I'll go for 2011

somehow i didn't date the first entry.
bookon tape
I didn't realize until seeing the book jacket that this is the first of a series.
I thoroughly enjoyed the protagonist - Burke.
Terrific story. Since I like series, this is great!
I rarely give 5 stars.
I think part of that was getting
Yes, I am a Robert B. Parker fan, but I have never given any of his books the highest rating. I rated this one so high because of the way he developed the characters, wove different time periods of Burke's life (it did get a bit confusing at times) and tied in a bit of US history, especially WWII, Jackie Robinson's entry into major league baseball, and racial discrimination. Jackie Robinson doesn't enter the scene until about 1/3 of the way through the book (the book is about Burke, his bodyguar ...more
Lorin Cary
Set in post-World War II, New York City, the story focuses on the relationship between Burke, a damaged veteran, and Jackie Robinson, who he is hired to protect during his first year in the big leagues. Burke is white. White and black gangsters figure in the story and there is some romance and some violence. It's the setting and the story itself that kept me glued. All believable and woven by a writer with lots of practice. Interspersed among the chapters are what might be, or what might be mean ...more
A short novel set in the 1940s when Jackie robinson integrated baseball under much duress.
Story of a 'tough guy', WWll vet, who is hired by Branch Rickey to bodyguard Robinson in his 1st year with the Dodgers. It's a simple story with some charm. The best parts are the intermittant chapters in the voice of the author as a boy remembering his affection for the Brooklyn Dodgers and JR. He also brings to life the 40s recalling the politics, events, fads and culture of the time. I enjoyed it and it
Kate Quinn
One of Parker's rare standalone novels, and a must for anyone who loves baseball. Jackie Robinson has just broken the color barrier as the first black player in major league baseball, and a battered war veteran named Burke has been hired as his bodyguard. Robinson is proud, skilled, and cynical; Burke is wounded, ferocious, and nearly mute. Friendship grows slowly between these two men, between the lines of laconic conversations in cheap hotels after ball games. A character study, an action dram ...more
Dorothy Clark
Good, rip-roaring Parker. Robinson added a lot.
Renée Mee
Liked this better then a lot of his other books.
Joseph Burke survives Guadalcanal seriously wounded and returns home to be divorced. He is hired by Julius Roach as a bodyguard to protect his daughter Lauren from Louis Boucicault-son of mafioso. While protecting Lauren he kills two of Boucicault's thugs and becomes persona non wanted by the Italians. Rickey hires him to protect Jackie Robinson from the world after signing him as the first black major leaguer. Various close calls with death lead Burke to enlist Cash to help him clean up the bad ...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...
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Chance (Spenser, #23) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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