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Robert B. Parker's Lullaby (Spenser) Hardcover – May 1, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 487 customer reviews
Book 1 of 41 in the Spenser Series

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Editorial Reviews


 “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.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “Atkins succeeds. He doesn’t sound like somebody trying to emulate Parker. He sounds like Parker in a book that hits all the usual Spenser notes. He has the wisecrack-filled dialogue down and Parker’s cadences, too: Spenser, thankfully, sounds like Spenser. You also get the vivid sense of place, flexing of muscles and spare plot that were hallmarks of Parker’s 39 Spenser books….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

 “Even the most fanatical Parker fans would be hard pressed to identify any aspect of this Spenser novel that doesn’t read as if it were penned by Spenser’s late creator.…Atkins hits all the familiar marks...as he offers familiar pleasures.”

Publishers Weekly

 “A brisk read. Atkins gets the important things right, from Spenser’s dark sarcasm to the gritty attitude of Mattie Sullivan, a 14-year-old Southie girl trying to solve her mother’s murder.”

Boston Daily 

"Ace Atkins has proven an exceptionally talented writer.... Taking on the challenge of continuing the much-loved Spenser series is a daunting task. Ace Atkins responds with a knock-out punch in round one. Parker would most definitely approve.
                   —Shelf Awareness

“It’s all there:  The crisp, rhythmic sentences. The ironic banter. The distinctly Spenserian attitude toward life that Atkins adopted as his own. And yet, those who have read both Parker and Atkins closely may also detect a muted, indefinable quality that’s pure Atkins. And that’s a very good thing…. Parker lives. Spenser is back.”

                    —Bruce DeSilva, Edgar Award Winning author of Cliff Walk

“It's the real deal. Atkins captures Parker's distinctive voice, the sardonic, self-deprecating, sharply observant first-person narration that makes the Spenser books so compelling, and so much fun.”

Tampa Bay Times

 “In Lullaby, Ace Atkins has brought back everything we love about Robert B. Parker’s Boston P.I. Spenser, and he makes it look seamless and easy…. Atkins takes the reins of the Spenser series with self-assured ease. He also proves he’s the right man for the job.”


About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring 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 author of eleven novels, including the true-crime based White Shadow, Wicked City, Devil’s Garden, and Infamous. He is also the author of the Quinn Colson series, which includes The Ranger and the forthcoming The Lost Ones. Bestselling author Michael Connelly has called Atkins “one of the best crime writers working today.” He lives on a farm outside Oxford, Mississippi.

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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158032
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (487 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Romano on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge RBP fan and read all his books, Spenser is my hero and couldn't wait to see what Ace Atkins would do with Lullaby and...I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK! Lullaby reminded me of RBP's earlier Spenser novels, with its gritty plot, more words on the page, and the return of some older characters, like Gerry and Joe Broz. The Spenser/Susan chapters are less nauseating than the last few books. Hawk is also back and better than ever! Lullaby is a legitimate and entertaining continuation of the Spenser series. The series is in very good hands with Ace. I hope he writes a Spenser novel every year for the next hundred years!
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Format: Hardcover
This was my first time to read a book by Ace Atkins... and I enjoyed his take on Spenser. And that's coming from a long-time, seriously sincere fan of the late Robert B. Parker (a great American writer). There were some false notes, but not many, and honestly, nothing too egregious. Many well-considered references to the Spenserian canon. Several references to True Grit (and its theme of a 14-year-old girl seeking justice), as well. With that book being one of my absolute all-time favorites, Mr. Atkins has made an outstandingly good move if he's trying to win me over. I'm happy to see Spenser in action again.

Here's what Hawk had to say about Spenser's protracted absence:
"You disappeared on me this winter," Hawk said, and sipped the champagne. "Me and you workin' out at Henry's was the first time I seen your white a** in a long time. Thought maybe you takin' it easy. Hangin' it up."
"Nope," I said.
"What else is there to do?" Hawk said.
"Glad you're back." Hawk nodded.
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Format: Hardcover
Many Robert B. Parker fans reacted negatively to the news that Ace Atkins had been chosen by the Parker estate to write new Spenser novels. They rightly pointed out that no one could duplicate Parker's voice as it came through his writing. They probably didn't know at the time: Atkins may be the biggest Parker fan of all.

ROBERT B. PARKER'S LULLABY is steeped in Spenser's history, much of which I feel Parker forgot as time went on. Along with knowledge of that history, Atkins shows a fan's awareness that there was only one Robert B. Parker. Rather than try to parrot his voice, Atkins simply yet poignantly pays homage.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seven months ago, I preordered the new Spenser novel from Amazon to be written by Ace Atkins, selected by the family and the publisher to continue the Spenser legend. His first work, Robert B. Parker's LULLABY appeared at my door at 2 pm. At 4 am I finished it. I took time out for the Yankees' game. My next thought was I had 12 months until the next one. This was the same feeling I had when Parker himself wrote the series. I was fortunate enough to meet him. Back then he was writing on a tyewriter his famous five pages a day. I asked if he could write faster. He replied with that twinkle in his eye, but deadpanned as much as Pat Paulsen, that I should read slower.

The book feels like a book. There is less white space, normal font, and 300 plus pages. Right away I started reading. My eyes couldn't move along fast enough. I'm not sure what I should say about the plot insofar as specifics. Would I deprive the next reader of the wondrous discoveries that Ace Atkins has so deftly presented within his multi-layered plot? Zebulon Sixkill, from the last book named after him, was off to deal with family issues. This was a great decision. I understand that Atkins promises that Z will return in the next Spenser book he has already in process. I wanted to see old friends, Hawk, Susan. Vinnie, Quirk, Belson etc. The more recent books that Parker had written, IMHO, relied more on newer characters like Chollo, Bobby Horse, Tedy Sapp and then Z. I will say that Rita Fiore is prominent here. So are Spesner's trademark idiosyncracies: his taste in food, physically intimate hijinks with Susan, doughnuts galore and his affection for the Sawx.

This felt like dinner with an old friend of long standing, as comfortable as an old shoe or paint stained sweatshirt with lots of character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a little fearful as I started reading Lullaby. After seeing what Michael Brandman did to Jesse Stone I worried that Spenser would be lost as well. Ace Atkins work is reminiscent of the early Spenser. A bit more gritty and the writing less refined. The sentences were choppy with too many "I said" and "she said" as Atkins tried to copy Parker's melding of many short statements rather than descriptive sentences. Choppy. I felt that the characters had lost a little of what Parker had developed them into, but not so much in a bad way. The intimacy of Spenser's relationship with Susan seemed to have lost ground, becoming more about sex than two people who loved and supported each other unconditionally. Again, it was like the early Spenser books, with tight relationships, but dialed back in ways. We'll see how Atkins does as he writes more and settles into the characters and makes Spenser his own. He did well for a first trip out wearing another author's characters. This was a Spenser novel. People who like Spenser novels should like this one too. It was a quick read that moved along sprightly.

Spenser is hired by a fourteen year old girl wise beyond her years to prove that the man in prison for killing her mother is innocent. The investigation takes Spenser and Hawk on a ride that brings back his strained relationship with kingpin Joe Broz, thought to be dead, and face to face with Broz's son. Also an Irish sociopath with big plans and a crooked FBI section chief enter the mix. The bullets fly as old friendships are tested and it's up to Spenser to make tings right for a little girl forced to grow up too quickly.

Hawk, Martin Quirk, Frank Belson, Rita Fiore, Vinnie Morris, Joe and Gerry Broz, Former FBI SAC Epstein, Henry Cimoli and Pearl the Wonder Dog all make appearances.
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