Thursday, May 09, 2013

Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins

I shouldn't continue to read the Spenser books since Robert B. Parker is dead and Ace Atkins is writing the
books. But, I miss Spenser's voice. Unfortunately, after reading Robert B. Parker's Wonderland, most of the time I'm still missing Spenser's voice. There are traces of Spenser there, but the touch is just off enough that I notice. I read every Spenser novel, and there's just something missing.

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

Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins. G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2013. ISBN 9780399161575 (hardcover), 306p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Jane R said...

So often this happens when someone tries to continue a series for another author. It just seems like the soul of the book is missing. The Spenser books are so good, but all due to Robert B Parker. I don't think he can be duplicated in a way that will satisfy most of his fans.

Lesa said...

You're right. I had that conversation with someone on Facebook, Jane. I tried the Nero Wolfe books when Robert Goldsborough picked them up, the Arch McNally books after Lawrence Sanders died, and now these. Just not the same.

BPL Ref said...

I too have had the same experience. I liked Goldsborough's first book well enough and his latest (Archie Meets Nero) isn't bad, but the ones in between were off enough that I couldn't really enjoy them. It was little things, like the use of a word, that would put me off. I think the reason I rather liked the Archie Meets Nero was that it broke new ground, so to speak. It's why I can enjoy some of Jill Paton Walsh's Lord Peter Wimsey books, the ones that are set much later than the "real" ones. I don't LOVE them the way I did the "real" ones, but I can more easily ignore things that seem a bit off better if I can mark them up to changes in time and circumstance. Does that make any sense?

Thepoet said...

Akins missed the most important things about Spenser in his first book; the honor and code. Would Spenser really have let a young girl walk through a dangerous complex by herself? Several times? Not a chance!!! Would Spenser have really told Marcus; "You owe me?" No! No! No!
Akins, please go back and re-read the books and pay attention to the characters!