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Robert B. Parker's Wonderland (Spenser) Hardcover – May 7, 2013

Book 41 of 42 in the Spenser Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser (Book 41)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399161570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399161575
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Atkins's second novel based on the late Robert B. Parker's famous series finds private detective Spenser and young apprentice Zebulon Sixkill sleuthing their way into a scheme involving the beachfront property occupied by the shuttered Wonderland dog track. Narrator Joe Mantegna has long been associated with the popular Spenser series, portraying the title character in several TV adaptations and narrating numerous audiobooks. That he has done so with Parker's blessing is understandable. The novel contains large sections of fast-paced dialogue—which Mantegna deftly handles. Additionally, the narrator perfectly captures Spenser's sarcastic and flippant tone. And when dealing with friends during times of trouble, Spenser—as interpreted by Mantegna—drops his brittle attitude and becomes more compassionate and less hardboiled. A Putnam hardcover. (May) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Boston PI Spenser and Henry Cimoli, owner of a Boston gym, formerly a haven for boxers but now supported by spandex-clad exercisers, have been friends for years. Now Henry needs help. Developers are bullying the mostly older occupants in Henry’s condo in an attempt to make them sell cheap. So far it’s been mostly intimidation, but folks are scared. Hawk, Spenser’s longtime cohort, is out of town, so the PI enlists the assistance of Zebulon Sixkill, an intern of sorts. They send the developer’s thugs on their way and then negotiate a lucrative buyout for Henry and his neighbors, but it could be all for naught when the developer is decapitated and a plethora of greedy, jealous, and ambitious players attempt to take control. After an uneven start at re-creating Spenser (Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby, 2012), Atkins finds his footing this time, settling into the character more comfortably and concocting a fairly complex caper with urban development, organized crime, and sex all playing roles. Atkins still isn’t Parker, of course, but this is quite a good crime novel. --Wes Lukowsky

Customer Reviews

The story line was very good, the characters as usual were great.
Shoe Fettish
I have read and loved all of he Spenser books written by Robert B. Parker so I was willing to read one written by Ace Atkins.
B. Fowler
The only thing was that he used the "F" word too much...even more than Parker did.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Don In Fremont on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Atkins has this, folks.

Wonderland brings Atkins' well-professed love of the Early Autumn-Spenser into firm sync with the rough-and-tumble of, say, Judas Goat (if you haven't lately, go back and read that Montreal fight sequence, one of Parker's best).

Add to that Atkins' own skill in creating complex tales full of deceit and other bad behaviors, and you have, in Wonderland, a story that carries lots of weight and handles it effortlessly. Bone-crunching ass-kickery. Well-placed cameos. Consequences.

Atkins also does a service by giving us more Henry Cimoli than we ever thought we'd get.....he's the pivot of the arc here, and he's drawn real and flinty as ever, but with a new weariness, and it's fun for long-timers.

We also see how that same Spenser from Early Autumn has evolved, watching his mentorship of Zebulon Sixkill, who debuted eponymously in Parker's final Spenser work. With not a mention of Paul Giacomin, Spenser's Dad genes do their thing, and we feel it.

No need to spend a lot of time discussing plot. But we've got Vegas Hotshots, Harvard Demigods, and hot women. There's gambling involved. And crime. And Pearl.

Some folks didn't feel it for Atkins' Spenser debut, Lullaby. While clearly not of that camp, it's understandable. Skeptics trying Wonderland will feel rewarded and hopeful. The rest of us will just dig the hell out of it, pure and simple.

He's totally got this.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Randy Reynolds Briggs on May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was devastated when Robert B. Parker died in 2010, as he was one of my favorite writers for decades. I have read every one of his books, and his death left a huge hole in my literary pleasure. I was hugely skeptical when I learned that his books were to be written by an unknown (to me, at that point)author. Thankfully, his estate hand-picked a fitting writer to carry on the tradition. "Wonderland" is the second Spenser novel written by Ace Atkins, and it's a dandy. The language is the same, as are the relationships. The witty repartee remains, and the highbrow (and lowbrow) snark is intact. RBP would be proud that his legacy is yet untarnished. My only complaint is a minor one; I missed Spenser's other half. Don't get me wrong, I like Z, but he's no Hawk. But then, who is? The mysteries remain fresh, and Spenser never bores.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kelley on May 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With Wonderland, Ace Atkins has demonstrated once and for all that Robert B. Parker's creation, Spenser is alive and well. Atkins first effort Lullaby was enjoyable, but felt a bit forced. Some of the dialogue (particularly that of Hawk) didn't quite ring true. With this book, the writing seems more relaxed. Atkins is clearly having fun stretching at the fabric of Parker's tapestry and the novel is all the better for it. Longtime fans will be pleased to see Henry Cimoli come to the forefront in this one. Zebulon Sixkill is also along for the ride. The pleasure of reading Parker's books over the years was found in his ear for dialogue. While Atkins understands this, he injects the book with plotting and pace that invigorates the characters. In short, this is a meatier plot than the books Parker wrote late in his career. Thus, Atkins gives us the feeling of vintage Spenser while also acknowledging that the character is aging a bit. I enjoyed Atkin's first effort, but he crushes this one out of the park. Those who are hesitant to give this a try should not be. This book confirms that Ace Atkins is the right person to guide Spenser's continuing adventures. Should fans join him for the journey? To borrow a certain turn of phrase, "We'd be fools not to."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on June 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Henry Cimoli has known Hawk and Spenser for years. He has never once asked for a favor and certainly wouldn't now if he wasn't being squeezed. He might have even tolerated being squeezed a little bit, but, when three thugs showed up at his fourth floor condo things got serious. The thugs threatened to throw him out his own window if he didn't shut up about not wanting to move. Somebody wants to buy the condo building for a project and hired thugs are now visiting the mostly elderly holdouts and making threats.

Even if Spenser didn't owe Henry whatever he asked he would look into things just because this sort of deal ticks him off. His initial goal is to stop the threats and to find out who the buyer is that wants the property. Once that is done, maybe some common sense will prevail, and then a fair price for all can be found. With Hawk out of town, Spenser enlists the aid of his protégé in training, Zebulon Sixkill, who also figures he owes Henry.

Before long things in the case start going sideways in Robert B. Parker's Wonderland: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins. Not just in the case, but in the book itself. Unfortunately, while all the familiar names and locations are present in this series and doing all the usual things one expects, the books no longer read like Spenser novels. As always the scenic descriptions and narration are very limited, the chapters are as short as ever, the witty (or not depending on your perspective) dialogue between Spenser and everyone else still exists--in fact every single character engages in witty repartee with every other character. All the usual elements are firmly in place and the tagline A Spenser Novel is still on the cover.
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More About the Author

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of seventeen novels, including the forthcoming The Redeemers and Robert B. Parker's Kickback, both out from G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2015.

One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he's friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Find out more about Ace and his novels on his official website:, on Facebook Ace Atkins, and on Twitter @aceatkins.

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