Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Professional (Spenser, #38)” as Want to Read:
The Professional (Spenser, #38)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Professional (Spenser #37)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,606 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
A blackmail attempt sees Spenser, Robert B. Parker's legendary private eye, drawn into a world of corruption, vice and murder.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Quercus Publishing Plc. (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bobby Underwood
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of Robert B. Parker’s later entries in the Spenser series, I recalled this one fondly, so recently read it again. I found this to be much better than expected, confirming my initial opinion of it years ago. There is just enough Vinnie and Hawk to keep it interesting, and though any of the vain and pretentious Susan Silverman is almost too much for this reader, the interludes between her and Spenser are brief enough that they don’t have time to descend into snobbery, or nauseating dissections ...more
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,
*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
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
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(The word "maroon" appears only once in this book)

Surprisingly sad core to this story.

Some sweet characters don't make it, some do. There's a ruthless femme fatale, and new heavies Zel and Boo. Very Of Mice and Men there, poignant in places, deeper than usual for Spenser. Hawk is around some, not much. Tony and Vinnie and a few others make a supporting appearance. The character of Tony has mellowed substantially in the last 10 books or so, but haven't we all?

Susan is not as overbearing with her
May 09, 2009 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
John Culuris
★ ★ ★ 1/2

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 f
Brent Soderstrum
Gary has a "job" many young men would love to have. He is intimate with a lot of attractive married women and he gets paid for it. You see these women are married to rich older men and they want to stay married. Gary gets the evidence needed to blackmail these ladies and then requests payment. What a profession. I think I knew guys who majored in this in college.

The "victims" hire Spenser to get Gary to knock it off. Gary declines. The women won't do anything for fear of exposure so the case kin
Jul 12, 2010 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,

Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great as always. I really don't remember reading this one and perhaps I didn't given the late date (2009). But Spenser, Hawk and Susan...what could go wrong?
Jay Connor
Oct 10, 2009 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 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
In re-reading Parker, I've noticed in the last few Spenser books he wrote just a year or two before his death, he's letting the bad guys walk, because they have a good motive at the core of their action. In this one, a professional shooter named Zel takes a hike in the final moments. A novel about a professional womanizer who has affairs with married women, is easy-going and likeable, but he turns to blackmail to make his livelihood until things go awry when he hooks up with the wrong woman who ...more
Gloria Bernal
2.5 stars
The topic of infidelity and blackmail didn't hold my attention very well. I skimmed through many parts of it in the first half. I get a bit burned out on the dialogue between Spenser and his black thug friends, Ty-Bop, Boo, Zel, in this case and others, who can't seem to talk without using their M-F***ing profanity, and who's testerone levels are larger than their brains.

This case is 4 women who are married to rich, older men, and have sex with a gigolo who then blackmails them to kee
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hacía tiempo que tenía bastante olvidado a Robert B. Parker y a su serie del inspector Spencer. He decidido volver a su lectura, empezando con esta novela.
Como la mayoría de las novelas de este autor, la trama es bastante sencilla. Los personajes cambian poco a lo largo de las sucesivas entregas, y la acción no es lo principal en la trama. En esta, cuatro mujeres casadas con maridos que las mantienen contentas económicamente acuden a Spencer cuando son chantajeadas.
Esta es una de las últimas en
Sep 06, 2010 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
Jul 08, 2010 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
Feb 04, 2010 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
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
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the last books by Robert B Parker with his hero Spenser. This book is a morality tale in essence and the end proves that humans will always be driven by selfish needs.

Spenser gets hired by a group of women that are all married to older rich men and they all had a sexual relation with the same man. This man decided to blackmail them and they all cannot have their nice lives ruined by their lover.
As expected all is not as black and white as one would expect. And Spenser starts his
Dec 11, 2015 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
Jan 28, 2010 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.
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
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. :)
Oct 12, 2009 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.
Jan 06, 2010 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.
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.
Lisa C. Ragan
I gave it two stars because it made me just curious enough to finish it. It was cruder than I prefer, but not so graphic that I couldn't finish it. The big issue for me is that the writer hasn't learned the concept of
"Show, don't tell," which is a vital principle for a good story. When reading a book, I could skim over nearly every sentence ending with, "he said," but in an audiobook, it is incredibly monotonous to listen to that. At least he could have chosen a couple of synonyms..."he replied
Peter Marsh
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe King
This was just okay to me. I read it quickly, but really just to get through it. It would have been two stars, but for a sweet relationship between two of the characters that reminded me of Lenny and Carl (Parker even references them in relation to the two I'm speaking of).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Robert B. Parker's Wonderland (Spenser, #41)
  • Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice (Jesse Stone, #11)
  • Poodle Springs (Philip Marlowe, #8)
  • The Phoenix Variant (The Fifth Column, #3)
  • Passport To Peril (Hard Case Crime #57)
  • Dinner at Deadman's
  • Chasing Darkness (Elvis Cole, #12)
  • One Fearful Yellow Eye (Travis McGee #8)
  • Robert B. Parker's The Devil Wins (Jesse Stone, #14)
  • Hopscotch
  • Red Cat (John March, #3)
  • Hardball (V.I. Warshawski, #13)
  • Little Girl Lost (John Blank #1)
  • The Rules of Silence
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)

Share This Book

“The best moments in my life,” I said, “have come because I loved somebody.” “Yeah,” he said. “And the worst,” I said.” 2 likes
“Belson came into the apartment with some crime-scene people and two homicide detectives.

“This guy,” Charlie said, and looked at his notebook, “Spenser. He was impersonating a police officer.”

Belson glanced at him. “We all thought that,” Belson said, “when he was a cop.”
More quotes…