The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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September 29, 2012

I think he pulls it off

Part of me wanted to be sentimental and stop reading the Spenser novels after Robert B. Parker's last one, but when I saw Lullaby on the library's new book shelf last week, I couldn't resist bringing it home.  Parker died in 2010; a writer named Ace Atkins (a very Parker-esque name) is the authorized continuer of the series, and I think his imitation is very, very flattering. Of course, Spenser is probably much easier to evoke than, say, Jane Austen, but then again the books' sameness was probably a large part of their charm. :)

In this one, a fourteen-year-old girl from Southie hires Spenser to look into the death of her mother, which happened four years ago.  A friend of the family is in prison for her murder, but Mattie saw two other men push her mother into a car on the night she died and she is demanding justice. What happens next is everything that you'd expect to happen in a Spenser (doughnuts, martinis in chic Boston hotels, Hawk, Susan, Pearl the Wonder Dog, recurring gangsters, Spenser's clothes, Hawk's clothes, Susan's clothes, a couple of shootings, Rita Fiore, and at least one new thing that Spenser makes for dinner).  If you read them, you'll know what I mean; if you haven't, my brother introduced me to them years and years ago, you can read this one or an earlier one in a couple of hours or a couple of commutes, and you might come to agree that it's good sometimes when things go on.


Lisa May said...

When I lived in Western Mass, every time I went to Boston I had a donut and looked for Spenser. I had to laugh at your list of the usual things - now I'm wondering about Spenser's new dinner dish :) It was such a shock when I learned of Parker's death. I'm glad that this book keeps up his standards.

Bellezza said...

I'm glad you liked it, but i'm still afraid to try. Imitations always seem to fall short for me, and I loved Parker so much...

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