Robert B. Parker's Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm torn. The 20 year old art heist is interesting and fun; it's a decent, though not difficult, mystery. Atkins does a reasonable enough imitation of Spenser and the other characters. There are nice touches with accents and slang typical of Boston that gives flavor to the book. I like the updating of the BPD and more realism with Spenser's interactions with them (without losing Belson and Quirk).
But Atkins is missing some important elements of Spenser. He's still a smart-ass tough who quotes Thoreau, Frost, and Shakespeare. He still has his code. But Spenser qua detective is not quite there. He gets tailed several times in ways that would make Hawk lose all respect for Spenser. And he's not quite as perceptive or intuitive as Parker's Spenser was.
Compared to Parker at his best, this doesn't compare. But it's still better than Parker at his laziest.
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