Henry Cimoli, the boxing trainer who owns the gym where Spenser and Hawk work out, asks Spenser to find out who's behind the attempt to force the sale of his condo. When Spenser and his "apprentice", Zebulon Sixkill, Z, follow Henry home, a bunch of thugs try to work Henry over. Henry just knows the hold-outs in his condo association are scared and greedy. It's up to Spenser to dig around and learn that there are a couple opposing groups who want to open casinos in Massachusetts. And it isn't long before it's no longer just pushing around some retirees. Despite a successful negotiation between the condo association and the man who wants to operate a casino at the site of an old amusement park called Wonderland, Z is injured, and the situation turns deadly. Spenser calls on a few friends to dig around for some answers. But, everyone reminds him that Hawk is out of town as a backup.
Hawk isn't the only one out of town. Susan is lecturing in North Carolina, but returns home for a short visit. And, that's when the book started to feel off. Atkins doesn't have her mannerisms down. I know many people never liked Susan Silverman as a character. But, I found it out of character that she would look bored when talking with Spenser, her lips protruding in a pout, and say she didn't want to talk about business.
I finished Robert B. Parker's Wonderland, so I had my Spenser fix. But, I don't know if I'll bother the next time when much of the humor, and most of the personality is missing from the book. It's not just Hawk and Susan who seem to have left the building. I think the spirit of the Spenser books is gone.
Ace Atkins' website is www.aceatkins.com
Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins. G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2013. ISBN 9780399161575 (hardcover), 306p.
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