Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Hush Money, Audio Version

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hush Money, Audio Version (1999/2000) Robert B Parker narrated by Burt Reynolds

WARNING: The production and transfer to digital on this are awful. Truly terrible.

What I listened to was full of clicks and skips and was generally terrible. If I’d have paid money for it instead of borrowing I’d probably have been pissed off. Luckily, I just borrowed it.

This is another narrated by Burt Reynolds, and the same caveats as before apply: he has a deep voice, and he tends to elide some words and phrases, so if there was any background noise, it was sometimes difficult to catch all the words. However, I do enjoy his narration, and he does a good job with the characters and keeping the dialog separate. Which is good, since Spenser books are like 90% dialog.

This is another weirdly timely story. Hawk asks Spenser to look into why the son of his former trainer was denied tenure. (No, really, it works. I promise.) Additionally, Susan asks Spenser to help out a friend who is being stalked.

Why do I like this story? First, we get another glimpse into Hawk’s past, and an explanation as to how Hawk ended up as he did.

Bobby sees something he likes and he takes me on, and when he finds out I’m not living anywhere special he takes me in, and I learn to fight and maybe along the way to use a fork when I’m eating. Stuff like that.

Bobby say to me, ‘I think you need to get a little schooling.’ And I say why, I gonna reason with people in the ring? And Bobby say, ‘You should take an English class and a math class.’ And pretty soon I’m in night school at the community college.

Hawk being who he is, this is a perfect explanation as to how he ended up well-read and more learned than he should have been, with his background as a street-kid and a boxer.

Bobby Nevins was a legend. He’d trained fighters for more than fifty years. All of his fighters could fight. All of them were in shape. None left the ring broke. None were strolling queer street. In a business riddled with charlatans his word was good.

And why Hawk would do anything for Bobby.

But the case quickly turns into a hairball, and soon Spenser is looking into a white power group. That’s where things got a little eerie, considering the current climate in the US. Except, of course, that the racist in the story is actually less awful than some of the racists we’re seeing now.

(A) newsletter titled Alert! which warned against the encroaching mongrelization of the white race, the feminization of the American male, the homosexual assault on marriage, the debasement of American Christianity, and the arrival of the Antichrist. There was a thoughtful discussion, complete with footnotes and bibliography, of a secret plot which festered deep within the power centers of the federal government, abetted by Zionism, whereby this country would be handed over to the One Worlders at the UN.

Honestly, I keep finding parallels in the books to what is going on currently and I find it more than a little terrifying.

“I’m Margaret Dryer,” she said. “I’m the dean of student affairs here. Like many of you present I do not agree with Mr. Quant’s view of the human condition.”

The audience quieted a little as she spoke.

“But I agree with his right to hold those ideas and indeed to espouse them, however repellent I personally find them to be. That is the meaning of free speech, and I hope each and every one of you in the audience will respect Mr. Quant’s right to free speech.

Yet despite everything, there is the reminder that things are not all bad. I particularly liked this passage where Spenser talks to Lee Farrell.

Farrell said. “Lemme tell you what’s bothering you. You’re chasing along after whatever it is that you can’t quite catch, and every gay person you encounter is sleazy, crooked, second-rate, and generally unpleasant.”

“Or so it has seemed,” I said.

“And, being a basically decent guy, despite the smart mouth, you fear that maybe you are prejudiced and it’s clouding your judgment.”

“Also true, except for the smart mouth part.”

“Same thing happens to me with blacks,” Farrell said. “I spend two months on a drug-related homicide and everybody’s black, and everybody’s a vicious sleazebag, and I begin to wonder, is it me?”

“Neither one of us gets to deal with the best parts of a culture,” I said.

“No. We deal with the worst. You got a case involving murder and blackmail, most of the people you meet are going to be scumbags.”

“Regardless of race, creed, or color,” I said. “Or sexual orientation.”

“And not because of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation,” Farrell said.

So this is yet another complex mystery that takes a look at the underside of things, yet despite all the dirt reminds us that many people are good and decent. And sometimes the hero wins.
Rating: 8.5/10

Publisher: Phoenix Books

Categories: 8/10, Audio Book, Mystery, Private Eye, Re-Read     Comments (0)    

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