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Robert B. Parker's Lullaby (Spenser) Paperback – April 2, 2013
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Praise for Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby
“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
“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
“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 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.”—MysteryPeople.com
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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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.
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. It felt like I was reading Parker in his Godwulf days. I was very skeptical that a new author might transform Spenser. I almost thought it might be a good thing to reboot it. But no, Ace Atkins fills the shoes of a legend very capably. Still, Mr. Atkins can you do something about that year between books thing?
Perhaps Kindle novellas or ebook novellas? Just a thought.
I will say that scenes in the book that were entirely satisfying brought Spenser's humanity to the fore once again. If I were to explain the substance of these scenes, it might ruin the effect for you. And I don't think that I am telling tales out of school but the book ends with Spenser being offered another case. It's a hook I don't mind hanging around for until May 2013. I'll just go back and reread this one again.
Well done Mr. Atkins. I am impressed. Should others read this book and recommend it to their friends? They'd be fools not to.
Tough, street-wise Mattie Sullivan hires Spenser to find her mother’s killer. Even though a man was convicted, Mattie doesn’t believe he’s the killer. Agreeing on a fee of doughnuts, literally, Spenser is intrigued enough to look into it. When the trail leads to old advisories, drugs, and the FBI, Spenser, with the help of Hawk, know they need to keep Mattie safe and to find the answers.
Atkins does a very good job of capturing Parker. All the elements that should be there; are there. In addition to the standard cast of characters—it is nice that Atkins as made Susan rather more likable—Spenser’s client makes a definite impression as she’s a girl who’s had to grow up way too fast and is handling it. An entire discussion could be held about Mattie in terms of our view of children growing up today, as opposed to how they grew up in the past and their different levels of responsibility.
One can also count on Spenser to trigger your hunger response—“I had envisioned a filet, medium rare, with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.” He is also the single greatest representative for the Boston Tourist Board possible. You are in the city with him; everyplace from the roughest neighborhoods, to the best. But it’s his inclusion of dining spots that is particularly fun; Locke-Ober, Legal Seafood and, a particularly favorite, Union Oyster House; the oldest restaurant in Boston—“A big steaming bowl of clam chowder arrived with a thick wedge of cornbread. The heavens opened up. The angels reappeared.”—down to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Another retained element is Spenser’s sartorial descriptions—“Vinnie wore a navy cashmere topcoat with a glen plain suit underneath. His dress shirt was a blue-and-white stripe, and his tie a light purple.” Rather than interrupt the flow of the story, or simply seem to be fill, these descriptions serve to tell one a bit about the personality of the character: clothes make the man.
A nice segue in the story is a comparison of Mattie and two other troubled people Spenser helped in the past; Paul and Z. New readers won’t feel lost by these references as sufficient backstory is provided. However, this reference does help to cement Spenser’s image as a knight errant. But he’s no Don Quiote with Sancho Panza, in the form of Hawk, by his side. Spenser’s advisories are very real, and very dangerous. But so can be Spenser, Hawks, and their colleagues. As we move into the recognition that it is territory and drugs that are behind things—“Territory,” she said. “How are men different than dogs.”—and when things turn bad, the tension is palpable and there’s no putting the book down.
“Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby” is very, very good. It’s not an homage or an imitation in any form. Atkins truly captures that which made Parker’s books so successful.
ROBERT B. PARKER’S LULLABY (PI-Spenser-Boston-Contemp) – VG+
Atkins, Ace – 1st in Parker series
G.P. Putnam’s Sons – May 2012