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10 thoughts on “Dream Girl

  1. Bobby Underwood Bobby Underwood says:

    Hundred Dollar Baby was a last hurrah of sorts for the Spenser series and a return to near greatness for Parker as a writer The emotional impact of the final entry in the sad April Kyle trilogy within the Spenser canon was well written and deeply moving The years seemed to disappear — almost — as you turned the pages of Hundred Dollar Baby aka Dream Girl This was a return to the early days of Spenser before Parker shifted the focus of the series to the vain and pretentious mess that was Susan Silverman allowing the cloying and nauseating exchanges between the two and the psychobabble to eclipse plot and depthIt was the shift in focus brought about by events in Parker’s own life which in my opinion throttled the literary heights to which he had begun to strive for with the series The second entry in the story line Taming a Sea Horse came after Catskill Eagle and the focus had shifted completely Reading it after Ceremony was almost a shock Having re read Hundred Dollar Baby on the heels of reading Sea Horse that book feels like an aberration sandwiched between Ceremony and Hundred Dollar Baby But whereas reading Sea Horse is a disappointing shock after Ceremony Hundred Dollar Baby is a startling surprise after the changed focus in Sea HorseParker had invested a lot in the April Kyle saga Proof of that is that he kept returning to her in the series Perhaps he sensed that neither this series nor its writer could go on forever and he wanted to at least write one great one The fact that he chose to make it the final book in the April Kyle story speaks volumes about his own feelings for the character Parker once again and finally gave readers a real mystery with both Spenser and the reader not uite able to connect the dots in a multi layered plot in which every time Spenser peels back one layer another emerges It’s the classic detective novel — Parker’s style imposed on it — of a detective working on a case where everyone is lying to him including his client In this case the client is a beautiful and sophisticated woman Spenser doesn’t at first recognize when she walks into his office — April KyleThe years have apparently been kind to April as the troubled kid once hooking in Boston’s Combat Zone seems to have become very much like Patricia Utley While Spenser might have hoped she would find love at some point and take a Linda Rabb route it’s impossible to be disappointed with the smiling lovely and elegant woman in front of him Outwardly at least April seems to have overcome her damage but as Spenser attempts to help her he gradually realizes things are not as they seem Before this one is over there will be no doubt that April never really overcame the damage at all and that Spenser’s morally ambiguous solution in Ceremony — even if it seemed like the only one at the time — was the wrong oneApril is running a Back Bay branch office of sorts for New York’s Patricia Utley but someone is trying to horn in on the very high end operation The carefully recruited women working for April are teachers real estate agents graduate students and bored but beautiful housewives The clientele is upscale and as painstakingly screened as possible When Spenser speaks with them during the investigation it becomes clear that at least in this instance these women are doing what they want to do and feel like they’re the ones doing the exploiting The psychology of that is of course hashed around by Spenser and Susan but this is the Spenser and Hawk show; and eventually the Spenser and April showParker could not change what he’d done from Valediction going forward at this point in the series so he just worked around Susan He gave the reader a real mystery with a labyrinth plot and a depth missing in the Spenser entries which were simply great entertainment By keeping the interludes between Spenser and Susan to a not too nauseating level he kept the focus on April Kyle which is what the character deserved Only twice when Susan mentions that business out West does the reader cringe because it’s a reminder of where this series jumped the rails and never found its way to its intended destination once it got back on themAs Spenser and Hawk discourage the thugs attempting to muscle in Spenser learns that the overhead on April’s operation is so great it leaves little for Patricia Utley Then he discovers Utley only expanded into Boston because she cares for April and wanted her to have something of her own Once Spenser realizes there really isn’t a lot worth taking he sadly concludes that April must be lying to him It bothers Spenser on a personal level than professional and it bothers him that April seemingly rejects even the possibility of love It is an early hint to both the reader and Spenser that there will be no Linda Rabb happy ending and suggests that the fateful decision at the end of Ceremony was not the right oneThe threat to April’s operation escalates when one of her girls get worked over and put in the hospital Because Spenser can already feel something wrong the beating makes no sense With Vinnie in Cincinnati helping his new boss Gino “persuade” some people and Chollo on his way to Mexico to do similar work Spenser brings in Tedy Sapp from Hugger Mugger to help Hawk watch over the Back Bay brothel while he pokes around in New York What Spenser discovers he doesn’t like But the layers of a possible con game Spenser peels back the confused he is With everyone lying to him including Patricia Utley it’s unclear just who is doing the playing and who is getting playedThis time around just as in Sea Horse Tony Marcus and Spenser have parallel interests and Tony is content to let Spenser rid him of a problem Tony is getting a cut of April’s operation and doesn’t want anyone else splitting up the pie Corsetti the New York cop from the earlier book in the saga lends Spenser out of town support in this one and it’s too bad Parker didn’t include him in the series Parker addresses the Hawk issue here by having Hawk tell Spenser in a moment of banter that he isn’t Tonto Parker could not have been unaware of the opportunities he missed with Hawk Vinnie and others in the series once he’d shifted the focus to perhaps placate his personal demons and assuage truncated expectations He was too good a writer not to be aware of it or not be aware of how millions of readers disliked the vain and pretentious Susan Silverman — and what she made Spenser become when they were together One can infer that Parker is acknowledging that he should have never allowed Hawk to become Tonto to Spenser’s Lone Ranger nor compromised the seriesWhen the guy doing the muscle work for someone trying to cut into April's Back Bay operation gets burned and New York mob connections emerge this one becomes about a dream and unaddressed damage The conclusion is deeply sad and emotionally powerful Twisting and involving and in the end terribly moving this was Parker’s final great moment The insipid Now and Then followed this one and it seemed for a moment as though having expended so much on this entry Parker had emptied the tank But then we got the very good The Professional It was fumes but they were high octane fumes so it was a terrific read even if it didn’t have the deeply moving emotional resonance of Hundred Dollar BabyIf you’re reading the Spenser series I suggest reading The Professional before this one allowing this late entry to be Parker’s swan song It’s sad and moving it has a multi layered plot and for those who've read the previous entries concerning April Kyle Ceremony and Taming a Sea Horse the human drama of April Kyle especially the final scene is one you’re not likely to ever forget If you're a true Parker fan let it end here on a powerful note in Parker's own literary voice; avoiding the gore and superfluous expletives and characters that no longer seem themselves now that Parker has passed and others are writing this series Parker’s own work was his legacy just like every writer and Hundred Dollar Baby was a sad and powerful way to say goodbye

  2. carol. carol. says:

    Oh goodness definitely a good thing I was a helicopter parent Not a good fit for dad Suddenly I understand why Parker has the Jesse Stone series as Spenser is the noir ish heavy on the ISH post 1990 side of mystery Stone lets him cater to a reader that wants a lawful sort of experienceThis is the one where Spenser gets a call from someone he helped in the past first as a deeply troubled and abused teen then as a call girl This time April is running her own house of prostitution in Boston An unknown person is harassing her and she calls Spenser for help Spenser despite having been doing this for at least twenty years by now remains extraordinarily gullible Hawk is at his side however and keeps him in line Tony Marcus makes a brief appearance as does Patricia UtleyObviously the reader needs to be comfortable with all sorts of hypotheticals although Parker takes pains to make this the rightest of setups The sex workers are all women who enjoy sex working for fun and cash eyeroll April screens her clients and has protections in place so no one does what they don't agree to 'girls' are medically screened but not the johns blah blah In fact Spenser and Susan are going strong in this one which gives Susan a chance to psychoanalyze April and the sex for money issue for the reader proving that it is probably exploitative in some manner I kind of appreciate her leading the reader to that conclusion We also get to hear a number of times how awesome their relationship is and how healthily they've adjusted to bumps in other books This aspect may prove annoying to fans who have limited Susan tolerance I will note that she does eat part of a doughnut in this one as well as cooks some beet risotto so that's kind of funThese are short four to five page chapters on the whole but there's a great ending and some even better dynamics between Spenser and Hawk that make it series notable But I think I'll be exchanging these for the Jesse Stones for the dadTwo and a half stars rounding up because today I felt like it

  3. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    This is the third Spenser adventure featuring high priced hooker April Kyle and taken together the three of them— Ceremony 1981 Taming a Seahorse 1986 and Hundred Dollar Baby 2006—are close to being a Spenser trilogy The three books resonate with each other illuminate each other and Hundred Dollar Baby brings April’s story to a reflective and haunting conclusionIn Ceremony Spenser encountered April as a high school runaway who hated her parents and was determined to make her living as a sex worker Unable to persuade the teenager to choose another life Spenser finds a high class madam In New York who consents to be April’s employer and mentor Spenser realizes this is a morally unsatisfactory decision but feels it is the best option he has Five years later he must save April again from the schemes of an enterprising pimp who April is convinced truly loves her Now twenty years have passed and April is a beautiful and elegant madam who has recently opened her own Boston franchise But there’s a problem some anonymous hood is demanding a big piece of the action The threats and the harassment is serious and April needs Spenser’s helpOne of the continuing themes of this series is that moral choices can be extremely messy that even the best alternative at the time is inevitably flawed and may lead to failure as well as success Spenser explores this theme deeply in these three books—particular when they are taken together—then he does elsewhere The scenes involving sexwork—from the seedy Combat Zone streets of Ceremony to the elegant bordello of Hundred Dollar Baby—are vivid and believable And Spenser and yes even gal pal Susan offer interesting insights into the nature of sex work and the relations of men and women in generalCome to think of it if you have never read Spenser or if you are thinking of visiting the Spenser books again after a number years try this read the three books I mentioned above in order They are a great introduction to what Parker does best And after you finish them you still have 36 Parker books to read

  4. Kemper Kemper says:

    Once upon a time Spenser tracked down a young runaway prostitute named April Kyle in Ceremony and had to save her again in Taming A Sea Horse Now April is back and in need of his help Hopefully the third time’s the charmApril is now a polished veteran of the world of high class prostitution and she’s graduated to madam status by setting up a classy brothel in Boston Someone is trying to muscle into her business so she turns to Spenser for helpSpenser has always felt responsible and guilty for April ending up as a professional sex worker even though he did the best he could for her Despite seeming like a relatively well adjusted business woman Spenser can’t help but feel that the life he couldn’t entirely save April from has taken a toll on her It’s that dynamic that adds some extra depth to this one April represents a failure at some level to Spenser and he’s never really come to terms with thatThis is a pretty solid late entry in the series although once again the book gets weaker when it moves from Spenser trying to protect April’s business from thugs to Spenser trying to delve into April’s psychological well being There’s a fair amount of Susan but she’s only moderately annoyingWhat really sets this one apart is the ending view spoilerSpenser learning how damaged and murderous April has become and then her subseuent suicide in front of him is one of the darkest and most powerful moments in the series I especially liked Hawk’s conversation with Spenser leading up to it in which it’s evident that they both know that April is bad news Hawk’s effort to gently push Spenser into facing up to the truth shows just how well the two men know each other hide spoiler

  5. Cathy DuPont Cathy DuPont says:

    Oh my Someone said tiredRobert B Parker and his once great character Spenser Hawk and Susan blah are all tired And they are making me tired too I usually complete series but thinking I might not complete this one They just seem boring Same old same old Parker maybe changes things up in the remaining series There are 44 and at this time I am NOT reading them in order Listening in car while I'm driving to the pool well I'm driving anyway so don't feel like I'm wasting my time If I was reading with a book in hand afraid I would feel as though I'm wasting my time Maybe nine left to read so I'll finish by way of audio but honestly not expecting much Looking through the list though I remember The Judas Goatgreat read and gave it five stars I think and same with The Godwulf Manuscript Ah those were the daysno mas

  6. William William says:

    The word maroon appears twice in this novel45 starsI loved this book the complex mystery the sleuthing the snappy dialogue and consistent humour the dark broken femme fatale the almost total lack of Pearl surrogate child the return of Susan to normality the reduced repetitive banter with Hawk and the sense of impending train wreck throughoutApril was a sad damaged child who grew into a sad damaged woman in spite of the shining light in Spenser's heart and his refusal to give up on her A classic greek tragedy here and in previous April books all leading to this final and sadly inevitable denouementIf you have ever in your life tried to save someone in spite of themselves especially someone with promise and life and potential Hundred Dollar Baby will be than just a Spenser book for youThe only flaw in the book truly is view spoilerthe sudden suicide of April before a spoken expressed acceptance of her own inner truth to Spenser It did not have to be long or drawn out but it had to express some human truth for us I would have had tears roll down her cheeks sitting down and a last look into Spenser's eyes knowing his honour then the gun suddenly comes up finiPerhaps Parker believes that her sad story and descent into monstrosity was enough but I just wanted to say goodbye to a girl abused by men from puberty Sad hide spoiler

  7. Mike Mike says:

    The third in the April Kyle series it finds Spenser immersed in a web of lies Along with Hawk he tries to help the one time troubled teen now a seasoned prostitute and madame Fist and gun play rear their heads again

  8. Chris Chris says:

    It makes me so sad to know that Robert B Parker is gone I feel like I know Spenser that he's a personal friend I've read almost every one of the books in this series at least once Spenser's tongue in cheek humor morality friendships intelligence honor and his Boston are all tremendously endearing to me Then this story which he wrote nearing the end of his life about his re acuaintance with April Kyle and the efforts he went through to save her once again There's a very thin line between goodness and badness and Parker has always made me realize that there can be a lot of goodness in the bad guys and badness in the good ones These mysteries for me aren't just figuring out whodunnit They probe deeper and leave me thinking for a good long while

  9. Ross Ross says:

    I have been reading Robert Parker books since 7th grade The Spenser series is unparalleled and I love the Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone series too Awesome Great writing and great plot combined love it I have loved the Spenser series since working in downtown Boston I have enjoyed experiencing Spencer's Boston thank you Robert B Parker

  10. Jeffrey Jeffrey says:

    THis book drives the point home yet again that the Spenser novels are tired Now instead of inventing new characters we get old characters who end up in hot water and instead of going to the police Spenser takes the law into his own capable hands

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Dream Girl ❰BOOKS❯ ✭ Dream Girl Author Robert B. Parker – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk A client from a decades old case reaches out to Boston PI Spenser but can he rescue troubled April Kyle once Longtime Spenser fans will remember that once upon a time though not so long ago there was A client from a decades old case reaches out to Boston PI Spenser but can he rescue troubled April Kyle once Longtime Spenser fans will remember that once upon a time though not so long ago there was a girl named April Kyle a beautiful teenage runaway who turned to prostitution to escape her terrible family life The book was 's Ceremony and thanks to Spenser April escaped Boston's Combat Zone for the relative safety of a high class New York City bordello April resurfaced in Taming a Sea Horse again in dire need of Spenser's rescue this time from the clutches of a controlling lover But April Kyle's return in Hundred Dollar Baby is nothing short of shocking When a mature beautiful and composed April strides into Spenser's office the Boston PI barely hesitates before recognizing his once and future client Now a well established madam herself April oversees an upscale call girl operation in Boston's Back Bay Still looking for Spenser's approval it takes her a moment before she can ask him again for his assistance Her business is a success; what's it's an all female enterprise Now that some men are trying to take it away from her she needs Spenser April claims to be in the dark about who it is that's trying to shake her down but with a bit of legwork and a bit muscle Spenser and Hawk find ties to organized crime and local kingpin Tony Marcus as well as a scheme to franchise the operation across the country As Spenser again plays the gallant knight it becomes clear that April's not as innocent as she seems In fact she may be her own worst enemy.