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The Judas Goat (Spenser, #5)
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The Judas Goat

(Spenser #5)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,920 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Spenser has gone to London -- and not to see the Queen. He's gone to track down a bunch of bombers who've blown away his client's wife and kids. His job is to catch them. Or kill them. His client isn't choosy.

But there are nine killers to one Spenser -- long odds. Hawk helps balance the equation. The rest depends on a wild plan. Spenser will get one of the terrorists to pl
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 1st 1992 by Dell (first published 1978)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Spenser repeatedly states that he is using one character to point out the others, or see if they react to that character. No mystery about it.

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  7,920 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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Bill Kerwin

This is the least satisfying of the first baker's dozen of Spenser mysteries (which are superior to the next baker's dozen, which in turn are superior to the next and last). But, since Parker is a master technician, there is still enough sharp wit, deft description, and mayhem—with a little sex and moralizing thrown in for good measure—to make your reading experience worthwhile.

Spenser is hired by the extraordinarily wealthy Hugh Dixon as an instrument of revenge. Dixon is now a paraplegic, a vi
Dan Schwent
A quadriplegic millionaire hires Spenser to go to London to track down the nine people responsible for his condition and the death of his wife and children. Spenser quickly gets in over his head and brings in Hawk. Can Spenser and Hawk stop gang of terrorists and earn their reward?

The Judas Goat had the most violence of any Spenser story yet. He and Hawk go through the meat grinder, especially near the end. There's no way the two of them would be able to leave the US after the trail of bodies th
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I don't think Interpol would ever let Spenser and Hawk back into Europe after the blood bath they cause overseas in this one.

Hugh Dixon is a wealthy American businessman who had a wife and two kids until they were the random victims of a terrorist bombing in London. Dixon is crippled, his family is killed, and he’s got revenge on his mind so he hires Spenser to capture or kill the nine terrorists identified at the scene of the attack.

Once in London with no leads, Spenser uses himself as bait by
James Thane
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the fifth book in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. By this entry, the character of Spenser, the tough, wise-cracking P.I. has largely taken shape. The two other principal characters, Spenser's lover, Susan Silverman, and his sidekick, Hawk, are still rounding into form. The relationship between Spenser and Susan is already showing signs of becoming alarmingly saccharine, but has not yet become nearly as obnoxious as it would be in later books. Hawk is a bit rougher and more menacing th ...more
Jason Koivu
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: detective, crime, fiction
Spenser goes on a working holiday to Europe and the Olympics. Hawk joins him. And then there's some canoodling with Susan.

This fifth episode in Parker's famous Spenser detective series keeps the ball rolling, but rolls it in a different direction. If I were to guess, I'd say Parker probably had taken a vacation to Europe and wanted to incorporate it into his books somehow. He managed and the result is fun.

I'm surprised to hear myself say that about The Judas Goat, because the topic/Spenser's t
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rejected
Wow, reviews have put me right off this.

Lazy author? Jaunt to London, and this book is the excuse?

Skipping to #6
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads, mystery
Spenser and Hawk do Europe on a dubious mission of revenge. They leave quite a trail of bodies. Wondering how they squared this with authorities in half a dozen countries was only one of the annoying plot oddities. Still, it made for a diverting Sunday evening read.

Content Rating PG for all the bodies.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser in England. This one dragged a bit initially, as I can’t commit to Spenser-as-Mercenary and the lack of Boston scenery bored me. If I want England I’ll read Dickens or some shit*. All that past us, his hand is forced, he’s still a world class smartass and the scenes with Hawk are worth the price of entry.

*To my UK friends, please know I’m kidding.
Vincent Lombardo
Another amazing novel by Robert B Parker. Starts great but gets even better when Hawk joins the party. Spenser and Hawk are probably one of the best duos in crime fiction. Bringing them together gave me some of the best laughs i have ever read. Can't wait until the next one.
Stewart Sternberg
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Maybe it isn't good Parker, and maybe it reads too much like a throwaway. Maybe. But bad Parker is better than no Parker.
Marty Fried
I thought this was OK. It was entertaining, light, humorous, and a quick read, pretty much what I expected and needed after my last book, J.K. Rowling's Casual Vacancy, which was tragically sad and heavy.

This was a very quick read, with no surprises and an ending that wrapped things up but didn't really create much of a ripple in the force for most people. The action was a fairly straight line from start to end, no real surprises, but a fair amount of good dialog, thanks to Spenser's girlfriend
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
RATING: 4.25
WHY: Hugh Dixon’s wife and kids were blown up by a group of 9 terrorists while in London; he himself barely escaped death. He’s hired Spenser to find the perpetrators and doesn’t care if they are dead or alive. Spenser soon finds the task overwhelming; he needs help. And who does he turn to? Hawk. This is the first book where Hawk is featured as Spenser’s partner in a job. The group they are after aren’t well organized, but it is tricky to
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
...I looked at my situation. If they were going to shoot me, there was little to prevent them. Maybe they weren’t going to shoot me, but I couldn’t plan much on that.

“You can’t plan on the enemy’s intentions,” I said. “You have to plan on what he can do, not what he might.”

A boy cleaning the tables looked at me oddly. “Beg pardon, sir?"

“Just remarking on military strategy. Ever do that? Sit around and talk to yourself about military strate
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the 5th in the Spenser series, first published in 1978, the year I graduated High School. I never heard of it back then.

I liked to re-name the Spenser books, but should this one be "Spenser's Travels" or "Spenser Gets Shot In The Ass"? Spenser denies it, insisting variously that he received an injury to the upper thigh, the back of his lap, his hamstring. It's a fun one, with lots of quips, and travels. Spenser observes that one pseudo-intellectual has sorted their books by size. I like
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This Spenser story has him acting as a bounty hunter. A year ago, a wealthy man named Hugh Dixon was in a London restaurant with his family when a terrorist group bombed it, killing his family and severely maiming him, he is now confined to a wheelchair. Yet, a fire still burns in him and he is determined to get his revenge. He hires Spenser to find them, paying him $2,500 per person, dead or alive. When Spenser says that he is no assassin and will not kill them unless he has to, Dixon agrees. ...more
Gilbert Stack
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A “Judas goat” is an animal trained to lead a herd (sheep, cattle) into a pen and quite often to slaughter. It’s a very apt title for this early Spenser novel in which the detective is hired to track down nine people who tossed a bomb into a London restaurant, crippling the client and murdering his wife and two daughters. There are no real leads, so Spenser takes an ad out in the paper offering a reward for information about the killers hoping they will do something to give him that one all-impo ...more
Evelyn Wilson
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the cover on the book I read BUT the copyright date is 1978. It has been weird reading these books from 1973 when the 1st one was written by Robert B. Parker. Funny, when I say his name I have to say the full name. And, when I read the books, if you look at the pictures of him on the backs of some of them my image of Spenser is Robert B. Parker. Spenser goes to London in this book. I kind of had a hard time reading some of it in the beginning because his client is a man with money who is ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spenser
In Spenser's fifth adventure, the body count is rather high. This case takes him to London, Amsterdam and Montreal. Great late 70's descriptions of the manner of dress back then. This is also the first case, he asked Hawk for help/backup. Lots of beer consumed and wisecracks galore, as usual.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This book used to come up when I searched for "goat" in the library catalog as a child. I was mad because it wasn't actually about goats. Now I am an adult who reads detective novels, so I am reading it.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
Five stars for number five, because Parker's Spenser is a 5 overall. I hadn't read this one before, what a pleasure! I greatly enjoyed his travels &, as always, his relationship with Hawk &, of course, his loyalty to Susan. ...more
The Professor
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulp
“You’re quite a lethal chap, aren’t you?” Spenser goes globe-trotting. It’s a jammy gig too; money no object, first class air travel, the best hotels….except he’s got to track down nine members of the terrorist group “Liberty” whose collateral bomb damage included the family of money-bags Hugh Dixon. It also means Spenser has to spend time away from his beloved Susan Silverman. Not an easy task.

Spenser heads to my old stamping ground in London, the environs of Goodge Street, the Post Office Tow
Cora Foerstner
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one. It was a quick read, and unlike #4, which seemed very dated, this one held up fine.

If you haven't read Parker's Spenser mysteries, you should give them a try. Spenser is funny, witty, sometimes charming, and always ready for a fight.
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Worst of the series so far. I was just so bored!

Carole Hardinge
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the best book by Parker that I have read so far. Spenser and Hawk working together was very entertaining.
Bruce Nieminski
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
208 pages
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fun
Not my favorite, but I'll definitely continue on with the series. Spenser is the man.
The Library Lady
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The last section of this book is set at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and weirdly enough I was there, though It was with a camp, ane we didn't see any of the exciting stuff!
William Howle
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have read quite a few of the Spenser books and have enjoyed them. I thought he got a little cutesy at the beginning , which for me was distracting. It was some what different from others I had read, perhaps going to England may have created this feeling.
Paula Dembeck
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A year ago, millionaire Hugh Dixon was dining in a London restaurant with his wife and two daughters when a bomb suddenly exploded and his family lay dead at his feet. He survived the blast, spent many months in hospital and has been in a wheelchair ever since.

Dixon has hired Spenser to find the people responsible. There are nine people all together, eight men and one woman who belong to a loosely organized group called Liberty. The group did not know his family or care about them. It was simply
Manuel Antão
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013

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Spenser and Hawk team up for the first time.

On the 5th stroke (aka, 5th book in the Spenser Series) the magic was broken...

This novel never really grabbed me like so many of the other Spenser novels.

I think a lot of it comes from the terrorist setting, but I could never really put my finger on it. I’ve read and enjoyed the previous 4 Spenser novels but I wasn’t as keen on this one. It didn’t read like a gumshoe story so much as an international action thriller. Like the vacu
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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.

Other books in the series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 48 books)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • God Save The Child (Spenser, #2)
  • Mortal Stakes (Spenser, #3)
  • Promised Land (Spenser, #4)
  • Looking For Rachel Wallace (Spenser, #6)
  • Early Autumn (Spenser, #7)
  • A Savage Place (Spenser, #8)
  • Ceremony (Spenser, #9)
  • The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)
  • Valediction (Spenser, #11)

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