Small Vices – A Spenser Novel
By Robert B. Parker
Read by Burt Reynolds
Spenser book #24
I confess that when I saw this book was read by Burt Reynolds I wanted to laugh. I have listened to numerous books from the Spencer series read by Joe Mantegna and being a big fan of his I didn’t think anyone else could come close, in particular not Burt Reynolds.
I had actually listened to Moby Dick read by Burt Reynolds a while back. Not being a fan of the Melville classic, I was impressed. Reynolds’ ability with accents gave me a new appreciation for the book.
But still . . . I had my doubts on what he could do with Spenser.
It took me awhile to accept Reynolds’ narration. First I had to discard what I was used to getting from Mantegna. But once I had, I was actually very pleased. Reynolds does an excellent job. It’s different, but it works.
Besides that there’s the story. This is the book that includes the first appearance of the gray man. The gray man will reappear years later for those of you who are unaware. I won’t go too deep into the details here, but in this book he almost kills Spenser.
What this creates is a scenario which helps to explain the basis for the strength in Spenser and Hawk’s relationship. Hard to believe it, but I can only describe many moments as touching. If there was any question in Spenser’s resolve this book will certainly dispel it.
Reynolds’ reading as Hawk is the low point in the book. He doesn’t do African American well. We end up with a kind of growling impression of a street thug that detracts from Hawk’s intelligence and charm.
Susan also shows her true affection for Spenser here. There is also mentioning of them having met in 1974 and her of desire to have a child. This occasionally comes up, but is seemingly forgotten just as quickly in the books that follow.
This, in my opinion, is one of the better Spenser books. It’s much deeper and provides a clearer insight to the relationships between the characters of the Spenser novels. I highly recommend it as an introduction to these books. And if you like Burt Reynolds all the better.