PW Raves for Ace’s First Spenser

Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby:
A Spenser Novel
Ace Atkins. Putnam, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-15803-2

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. Mattie Sullivan, a street-hardened 14-year-old, asks the Boston PI to solve a cold case—the stabbing murder, four years earlier, of her mother, Julie, even though a male friend of Julie’s is doing time for the killing. Mattie witnessed two drug dealers hustle her mom into a car, but couldn’t get anyone to take her seriously. Spenser accepts the assignment from the endearingly feisty Mattie, agreeing to be paid in doughnuts. Atkins (The Devil’s Garden) hits all the familiar marks—bantering scenes with Spenser’s girlfriend, fisticuffs, heavy-duty backup from the dangerous Hawk—as he offers familiar pleasures. At the same time, he breaks no new ground, avoiding the risk of offending purists and the potential rewards of doing something a bit different with the characters. Agents: Helen Brann, the Helen Brann Agency, and Esther Newberg, ICM. (May)

 

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