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Robert B. Parker's Kickback (Spenser) Paperback – May 3, 2016
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Praise for Robert B. Parker’s Kickback
“It’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A topical plot line propels bestseller Atkins’s engrossing fourth Spenser novel...Once again, Atkins has done a splendid job of capturing the voice of the late Robert B. Parker.” —Publishers Weekly
“Atkins does a wonderful job with the characters created by Parker. To loyalists it may be heresy, but a case can be made for the Atkins novels being better than some of the last Spenser mysteries penned by Parker. A top-notch thriller.”—Booklist
“Classic Spenser—the Spenser of wry wit, tasty food and drinks, hard workouts and lethal confrontations...Once again, Atkins has delivered a thriller that evokes the best of Parker’s Spenser series, not least the punchy back-and-forth of the dialogue.”—Associated Press
“Written in impeccable style by Ace Atkins...Robert B. Parker is smiling down on this brilliant Spenser adventure. It's full of everything we've come to expect from the Boston Private Investigator—action, smart-mouthed sarcasm, the assistance of Hawk and most of all, justice.”—Suspense Magazine
Praise for Ace Atkins and the Spenser Series
“Handpicked by the Parker estate to be the keeper of the flame for the Spenser franchise, award-winning author Ace Atkins rises flawlessly to the occasion. In addition to the signature dialogue, all the familiars are fully resurrected: Susan, the sexy shrink; Pearl, the wonder dog; Hawk, the wonder sidekick; good cop Quirk, and, of course, Spenser himself, that consummate knight errant for the twenty-first century.”—Kirkus Reviews
“It’s a feat when a writer creates characters who live and breathe on the page and make readers care and keep coming back for more. To manage that with someone else’s characters, let alone with an icon like Spenser, is a minor miracle. Ace Atkins pulls it off.”—Chicago Sun-Times
About the Author
Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring police chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole–Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.
Ace Atkins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Quinn Colson novels, the first two of which—The Ranger and The Lost Ones—were nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel (he also has a third Edgar nomination for his short story, “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”). In addition, he is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels in the continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. Before turning to fiction, he was a correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times, a crime reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and, in college, played defensive end for the undefeated Auburn University football team (for which he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated). He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Top customer reviews
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In this novel, Spenser is recovering from knee surgery and almost back to his fighting weight when Sheila Yates from Blackburn, a small town north of Boston, asks Spenser to help her teenage son Dillon who has been incarcerated in a juvenile detention center for a school prank. He's the latest in a long line of kids facing harsh sentences for minor infractions by Judge Joe Scali, a man famous for his stance of zero tolerance for bad behavior. But Sheila suspects Scali's motives are not so noble and hires Spenser to find the truth.
Spenser uncovers corrupt judges and a mysterious corporation that runs New England's private prisons, both with links to Boston's criminal underworld. All the while, Dillon befriends a new arrival at the detention center, a young teenager who refuses to bend to the harsh treatment, particularly from one guard known only as "Robocop."As Spenser and Hawk do battle with a variety of criminals, ranging from powerful judges to the latest line of Boston mobsters, the race is on to save the boy, along with countless others languishing on an island purgatory.
Atkins keeps the story moving at a brisk clip, with colorful characters old and new, and saucy dialogue throughout the novel. Though Spenser's age has slowed to a crawl (his Army service in the Korean war is no longer mentioned), the shadows of time and mortality pop up again and again in the story, from Spenser's troublesome knee to missing Boston landmarks to once powerful criminal figures like Joe Broz or Tony Marcus either dead or diminished.
All in all, a good entertaining read. Ace Atkins isn't quite on Parker's level, but he's probably as close as anyone is likely to get.
Kickback is a Spenser fan’s treat. The rhythm of the narrative is perfect, Hawk was back, characters from previous books are in the mix, including Iris Milford from the very first Spenser novel, and the relationship between Spenser and Susan continues to make me a bit jealous. The plot was very “Spenser.” Once again he was rescuing kids in trouble, protecting them from the corruption around them. I was pleased to see Spenser and Hawk deal with the bad guys the way they always had, what’s a dead body or two.
Way to go Mr. Atkins! Robert Parker left his characters in good hands. I look forward being reacquainted with old friends in the future.