Thursday, April 4, 2019

Review of "Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland," by Ace Atkins

Review of
Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, by Ace Atkins ISBN 9780399161575
Three out of five stars
While this book stars the popular detective Spenser, it is much weaker than the other books in the series. Hawk is mentioned, but never appears and Susan Silverman is generally away, so most of the interaction between Spenser and Susan is by phone. The new Spenser sidekick is Zebulon (Z) Sixkill and he is at best a work in progress, nothing like the powerful Hawk.
 The premise is that Henry Cimoli comes to Spenser asking for his aid when there is an aggressive attempt to buy out the condominium where he lives. When some second-rate thugs try to rough Henry up, Spenser is all in. Gambling has recently been legalized in Massachusetts and there is a dispute over a gaming license in the Boston area. The local crime bosses oppose a casino in the area as it will cut into their business.
 When Las Vegas mobsters try to become local players, the situation becomes confusing to Spenser, the local and state police and even to local mobster Gino Fish. When there are brutal murders, Spenser is forced to protect a woman that is clearly playing both sides, even though the danger is real.
 Atkins tries to emulate the snappy and humorous dialog so characteristic of the Spenser novels, but does not succeed. It comes across as forced and artificial, made even worse by the absence of Hawk. In the long tradition of the hero/sidekick genre, there are none better than Spenser/Hawk. Even though neither one is the secondary player. The insertion of Z as the partner of Spenser was not a success.

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