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Monday 16 May 2016

Robert B. Parker's 'Kickback' by Ace Atkins

Published by No Exit Press,
31 March 2016.
ISBN 978-1-84344-738-2

Spenser (spelt like the name of the poet as Spenser likes to explain) is an iconic private eye of the old school, tough yet cultured and appreciative of the better things of life.  He operates from Boston, a city that he knows very well, particularly from a culinary point of view, and he deals with the bad men of society.  Robert B. Parker originated the character and wrote many adventures before his death; Ace Atkins, a crime writer in his own right, has continued the Spenser series.

Spenser is asked to investigate the case of Dillon Yates who has been given a  criminal sentence in a juvenile facility on an island in  Boston harbour for setting up a spoof Twitter account for his high school vice principal.  He was sentenced by Judge Scali in Blackburn, Massachusetts, a man who believes in zero tolerance of the most minor actions by minors.  Dillon's mother wants to get her son out.  Spenser soon realises that he is dealing with a corrupt system in Blackburn which is ruining kids lives and making an enormous profit, thereby.

Spenser has loyal friends who assist him in his pro bono task and he faces down the violent bad men with wisecracks and his own scientifically  applied violence.  Susan, his long term girlfriend provides advice and company.   His associate, Hawk, provides backup.

Ace Atkins has recognised and can emulate well the features of Spenser and he has achieved the same laconic style that Parker inaugurated.  This is a good read.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is Ace's fourth Spenser novel.  The books featuring Spenser written by Parker number more than 30.

Ace Atkins is an experienced crime writer with several stand alones, a series about Nick Travers and his Quinn Coulson series which he continues to write. He has already published the Spenser Lullaby and is writing more Spensers. In an interview in 2013 he explained that he couldn't write the Coulson and Spenser books at the same time - he writes the two series separately allowing half a year for each!

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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