Book Review: Spenser And The Fallen Angel

Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes is the latest contribution by Ace Atkins to the Spenser series. Of course, Spenser was created by the legendary Robert B. Parker, but since he has been deceased for over a decade, there was little reason to not have Spenser continue his escapades as a Boston private eye. Of course, the Parker estate has allowed various series created by the author to continue. Anyway, Atkins continues his efforts to keep us readers satisfied with new tales of the sardonic yet sensitive gumshoe.

Spenser has gone to visit Los Angeles to find a wandering daughter who has disappeared. He has teamed up with an apprentice named Zebulon Sixkill, who has made a decent life out there as a private investigator. Spenser’s search leads him to movie mogul, an obsessive ex-boyfriend of the missing girl’s, and a woman’s empowerment group led by a rather a creepy dude. Most other people would be daunted by such obstacles, but that would make for a most unsatisfying Spenser tale. Spenser does enlist some help from a couple of local tough guys with whom he has developed something resembling a friendship over the years. Chollo and Bobby Horse bring their own guns to the cause. Sixkill doesn’t hesitate to needle his mentor to keep him somewhat humble. The lovely Susan Silverman flies out from Boston to support her man as well, and of course keep his ego grounded.

There have been previous cases that have taken Spenser to LA before, so it’s not exactly new territory, but it is still unusual enough to have him outside of Boston to see this as a little bit of a treat to see the modern knight errant out of his usual kingdom.

Spenser novels are hardly ever all that profound, and this one is not an exception, but it’s a fun romp. Some elements are a little far-fetched, but I am in this for the jokes. Atkins is a talented writer and seems to be the right choice to continue the series. I am sometimes distracted by the notion, that Spenser would likely be in his seventies, if not eighties by now based on some of the biographical details created by Parker way back when. I would have liked to have seen Hawk turn up in this one, as was promised in a blurb printed on the very first page. Hawk, Chollo, Horse, and Sixkill together are always fun when they aim their collective macho wit at Spenser, but it’s all in good fun. I know there are likely some purists who would be critical of continuing something after the original author’s demise, but I am not one of them. Atkins does stay true to the spirit of the character. I also have a bit more respect for Atkins has a pastiche writer since he also has his own series of detective novels featuring someone named Quinn Colson. I have yet to read those books, but I will likely get to them before long.

If anyone who reads this blog is new to the character to Spenser, I would definitely say read Parker’s novels starting with The Godwulf Manuscript, but this Angel Eyes is an installment that it not really groundbreaking, but satisfying enough of a diversion nonetheless.

I am apparently in the mode of reading continued series from original authors who are no longer with us. Next up, Kyle Mills has continued the exploits of Vince Flynn’s super duper anti-terrorist operative, Mitch Rapp, with Lethal Agent.

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