Book review: (Robert B Parker’s) Little White Lies by Ace Atkins

Sunday, April 23, 2017 Permalink

Robert B Parker – most specifically via his Spenser, Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone series – was my go-to author of the last decade or two. Then he died. Tragic, for his family, friends and loved ones. And slightly annoying for his fans. #joking #kinda

However… such was the strength of his Spenser, Jesse Stone and Appaloosa series that his family and publishers found authors to continue those legacies. 

Book review: (Robert B Parker’s) Little White Lies by Ace AtkinsRobert B. Parker's Little White Lies
by Ace Atkins
Series: Spenser #45
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
on May 2nd 2017
Source: NetGalley
Narrator: Joe Mantegna
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 0399177000, 9780399177002
Pages: 320

Connie Kelly thought she'd found her perfect man on an online dating site. He was silver-haired and handsome, with a mysterious background working for the C.I.A.

She fell so hard for M. Brooks Welles that she wrote him a check for almost three hundred thousand dollars, hoping for a big return on her investment. But within weeks, both Welles and her money are gone.

Her therapist, Dr. Susan Silverman, hands her Spenser's card. A self-proclaimed military hotshot, Welles had been a frequent guest on national news shows speaking with authority about politics and world events. But when he disappears, he leaves not only a jilted lover but a growing list of angry investors, duped cops, and a team of paramilitary contractors looking for revenge.

Enter Spenser, who quickly discovers that everything about Welles is phony. His name, his resume, and his client list are nothing but an elaborate fraud. But uncovering the truth won't be easy, as he'll have to keep the mystery man alive long enough to get back his client's money.

As the trail winds from Boston to backroads Georgia, Spenser will need help from trusted allies Hawk and Teddy Sapp to make sure Welles's next con is his last.

I felt as if I’d missed A HEAP of books in this series. But according to Goodreads, (my bible for tracking my reading since 2012) I’ve (only) missed three of the six Spenser novels (by Atkins) following Parker’s death in 2010.

I recall reading Atkins’ first efforts with Spenser, back in 2012, and decided he pretty much nailed Spenser’s voice – his droll wit and his enjoyable repartee with bestie Hawk.

The biggest difference I’ve noticed in the last couple of books I’ve read is that we’ve leapt forward in time and Spenser is now in the 21st century. Although not an avid user, the internet now exists in the PI’s world along with mobile phones and the like.

Many of Parker’s own books in the series (including those written in the 90s and 2000s) remained firmly settled in the 70s and 80s.

I continue to choose to ignore the fact that Spenser’s not really aged since he first appeared in 1973 cos I prefer to think of him as a rakish 40ish type. (Similarly I still tend of think of myself as being in my early 40s, or perhaps even my late 30s. And #spoileralert, I’m not!)

Atkins continues to (pretty much) retain the voice of Spenser, inherited from Parker and a lot of his idiosyncracies, including his unhealthily clean exclamations like, “Hot damn!” and “Yikes!”… (no f-words or c-words here!); and attention to detail when it comes to Susan’s, Spenser’s and Hawk’s outfits of choice. I always assumed that (along with the princessing-up-of-the-vain-and-annoying-Susan) to be the influence of Parker’s wife, Joan; but I may have been wrong in that.

And, like I said, other than his annoyingly-jolly exclamations (which ‘date’ him a little) Spenser’s moving with the times. The thugs he’s dealing with now aren’t the local crime bosses running prostitutes and drugs, rather they’re dealing weapons and there’s talk of terrorists and ISIS.

It doesn’t often happen but I’m relieved – despite the passing of his creator – that Spenser and his world, remain. Atkins does a great job with new plots amidst the characters and relationships that keep these novels familiar, comforting and enjoyable. And we all need something to rely on in this crazy ever-changing world.

(But, ‘cos I can’t help myself… It was slightly weird however, for Spenser to comment – in this (the 45th) outing – on how little he knew of Hawk’s family of origin and the fact he didn’t know where his BFF lived. I can understand the need for plausible deniability but it surprised me and jolted me out of my comfortable malaise a little as I tried to remember if Spenser had really never visited Hawk ‘at home’ before!)

Robert B Parker’s Little White Lies by Ace Atkins will be published on 2 May 2017 by GP Putnam’s Sons.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 



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