Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book #25

Sixkill, by Robert B. Parker. Unabridged audio.

This is the last Spenser novel that Parker wrote before his 2010 death, but unfortunately it is not the end of the series. A new Spenser novel by Ace Atkins is coming out shortly, continuing the disturbing trend of posthumous novels, where a series continues long after the author's death. Now I understand finishing up manuscript drafts, or finishing up epic stories (such as the Wheel of Time). But I am not a fan of producing new works loosely based on vague ideas left behind by the author or (in some cases) based on nothing at all.

In this novel, Spenser investigates a strange death of a woman in a hotel, where all the evidence points towards a Hollywood actor. But Captain Marty Quirk thinks there might be more to the case than meets the eye. Rita Fiore is the actor's defense lawyer, and she hires Spenser to investigate.

Most of the novel revolves around Spenser's relationship with Zebulon Sixkill, the native American who served as bodyguard to the actor. Showing Spenser as a mentor to this man served as some of the strongest character development in this series in many novels. I worried at first about the lack of Hawk in the novel, but the presence of Sixkill made up for this absence.

The only problem I had with this novel was the unrealistic way in which this celebrity murder charge was treated in the novel. There was no Nancy Grace, no paprazzi, no reference to this celebrity actor facing any public backlash over this suspicious death. It was as if this book was taking place forty years ago, before OJ, before Phil Spector, before the 24-hour news cycle. But these novels are set in the present day, so that was odd.

The solution to the mystery was interesting. And as always, Joe Montegna's narration was strong.

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