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Now & Then, by Robert Parker (Read by Joe Mantegna)

13 HOURS ON 10 CDs

Now and Then
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The author's favorite hero, Spenser, a Boston private investigator, is back in this story. Spenser accepts a job he normally would reject when an FBI agent asks him to find out if his wife is cheating on him. What appears to be a simple case of a wife having an affair turns into a complicated case involving murders and an anti-government group that the FBI is seeking. Susan, Spenser's girl friend, plays an important role in this story. Because Susan is a psychologist and the killer is one of her patients, Spenser cannot get Susan to discuss what the killer's intentions are because of the doctor-patient privacy code. As a result, the killer tries to use her to force Spenser to turn over evidence, but Spenser's friends, Hawk Vinnie and Chollo, step in to protect her. The story has many thrilling and intriguing events that hold the listener's interest through to its conclusion.

The humor in the conversations between Hawk and Spenser and Susan and Spenser is, as usual, enjoyable. Although they kid one another, it is obvious that they share a deep and respectful concern for each other. Robert Parker is able to craft stories with intricate plots and engaging characters, and this is one of his best. Usually the tough guy, Spenser reveals an appealing weak spot when he remembers Susan's affair and identifies with his betrayed client. Joe Mantegna, the noted actor, is the perfect narrator for a Spenser novel, because he brings just the right degree of humor to the tense situations, whether they're dangerous events or emotional confrontations.

Whether you've read or listened to 30 Parker novels or none, this is one not to be missed. Now & Then is both thought-provoking and entertaining. Set in today's uncertain world, Parker introduces new opportunities for crime, danger and conspiracy, giving the listener even more terrors to consider. Coupled with thoroughly likeable characters who behave in ordinary ways in extraordinary circumstances, it's a combination that promises and delivers first-rate enjoyment.

John Mormon

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