Let's face it. Ace Atkins had tough shoes to fill, and he faced a great deal of skepticism. Could anyone take Robert B. Parker's place as the author of Spenser? No one can take Parker's place, but Atkins did an excellent job with Robert B. Parker's Lullaby. All the familiar characters are there. The wit is there. And, actually there is more of a mystery in this book than in many of the last books Parker wrote. It was wonderful to meet up with Spenser and Hawk again. It's hard to say that the series will successfully continue. No matter what happens, Atkins can be proud of keeping Spenser alive for those of us who love him.
Spenser is in his office when his latest client enters. Mattie Sullivan is only fourteen, a girl too old for her age from South Boston, Southie. She wants Spenser to find her mother's killer. Her mother was raped, stabbed, and run over by a car four years earlier. Mattie doesn't believe the man arrested for the murder is guilty. She saw her mother snatched from the street by two men and stuffed in a car. She even knew who the men were. But who listens to a kid, the daughter of an addict? Only Spenser, and, eventually Hawk.
There was something about Mattie that reminded him of Paul Giacomin, the lost young man who he took under his wing and taught to be a man. Mattie was tough and smart, surviving on her own with no adult who really cared. And, Susan Silverman could see how much he bonded with a client who he asked to pay him in doughnuts. Susan could see their similarity. "Mattie works like you. She annoys people until they trip up."
Mattie and Spenser annoy the wrong people in this book, everyone from an FBI agent to all kinds of crooks. And, Spenser is just fine with annoying people, until the wrong people go after Mattie.
Faults with the book? I understand some people have objected to Mattie's language. For Pete's sake, she's a kid living in a housing project raising herself and her two sisters after seeing her mother snatched from the street. What kind of language do they expect this kid to use? Faults or flaws with the book? I didn't see any. It was wonderful to meet up with Spenser, Hawk, Quirk, and Rita Fiore again. Even Susan Silverman wasn't as irritating as she was in recent years.
So, here's a thank you to Ace Atkins. Thanks for bringing Spenser back to us in Robert B. Parker's Lullaby.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
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My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.