Spenser has always had a soft spot for the underdog. Few have been more underdog than 14 year old Mattie Sullivan. Four years ago her mother was murdered. A friend of her mom’s, a man by the name of Mickey Green was arrested, tried, and convicted. Seems like a certainty he did it since when he was caught he was cleaning the dead woman’s flesh and blood off his car at a local car wash. With that kind of evidence, a worthless lawyer, and his history it was no surprise the police and the courts went through the motions and he is in prison.
Mattie knows her mom did a lot of bad things. She is certain that Mickey Green did not do it because Mickey Green was always good to her Mom. She also saw two men snatch her mother in South Boston the night she was murdered. Not only did she see them grab her Mattie can identify them. She’s tough and trying to take care of her alcoholic grandmother and her twin sisters. She can’t do it all and needs Spenser’s help in so many ways. Finding out who killed her Mom and why is one thing Spenser can do to help her.
Spenser begins to investigate and it does not take long for him to figure out Mattie may be right. Mattie is also very stubborn and proud and won’t back down an inch. It is going to take everything Spenser and Hawk have to keep her and her family alive and find justice for Mattie.
Written by Ace Atkins after the death of Robert B. Parker, this novel works on all levels. Clearly nobody is going to be pitch perfect Parker/Spenser and Mr. Atkins, an accomplished author, is not perfect. But, as the pages pass by and the rhythm of the story develops the subtitle differences in author technique begin to rapidly fade. A nice touch is the occasional strategic reference to long ago books and other cases. Also very nice is the fact that unlike many of the recent books, Susan and Pearl the Wonder Dog take a very back seat role in novel that is vintage Spenser.
The result is a powerful good read that works at all levels throughout the book. Yes, this Spenser is different slightly in tone and style, but this Spenser is a good one too.
Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby: A Spenser Novel
Thorndike Press (a part of Gale, Cenage Learning)
ISBN # 978-14104-4814-9
LARGE PRINT Hardback (also available in regular Hardback, audio, and Kindle)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to
Kevin R. Tipple © 2012