I wanted to love this book. I've read all of Robert B. Parker's books, and Spenser is my favorite fictional character. So I really want more of Spenser, and I really wanted to love this book. But I didn't. It may have been largely due to Joe Mantegna's performance, or it may be a combination of things. I felt like the story was formulaic. Spenser's wise cracks were more sophomoric smart ass comments than Parker's Spenser. I found it hard to care about the characters. I've never been happy to see one of Parker's books end. This one, I couldn't wait until it was over.
No. For the reasons above. I also felt the plot was weak. I never did feel like we should care why Julie was murdered. I never understood why Gerry Broz was brought into the story. Time and time again, people told Spenser they wouldn't help him, and then boom--for no explained reason they were helping him. The involvement with the FBI man didn't gel. There was no point. None of it seemed to have a point.
Maybe for another character, but never again for Spenser. Mantegna's rendition felt like Mr. Rogers channeling Micky Spillane. I cringed when I heard some of Spenser's dialogue come out of Montegna's mouth. I know some people think he's great for the part, but this voice was not Spenser. I thought the performance was awful. Sorry. I like Joe Montegna, but not as Spenser. I felt like a first grade teacher was reading to six-year-olds.
No. I never got emotionally caught up in the characters. I was glad when the book ended. No more!
I don't like giving bad reviews, and usually if I don't like a book I just quietly move on. But this is Spenser. Except it wasn't. And I was sorely disappointed.
Mr Atkins has tried to fill the hole left by Robert B Parker's unfortunate death and produced a decent first novel. I was reluctant to buy this book, perhaps because I have read all of the Spenser mysteries and did not wish to be disappointed, but I was convinced by the number of reviews that said that this book was indistinguishable from the other Spenser books. After reading it I beg to differ.
This was a decent enough effort for a first book and, with Joe Montegna's wonderful reading, it could almost have passed for one of the less interesting Spenser novels. The flavor is the same, there is a similar light touch and it would be easy to believe that this was indeed a Parker novel were it not for some issues, one of which I consider to be serious.
First, there is an oblique reference to Parker's death early in the book when Hawk mentions that Spenser disappeared last winter. It must have been intentional because it could have been covered by Spenser giving some indication as to why he was gone, but without that explanation, it appeared to be a reference to Robert B Parker's death. That in itself is not an issue and could be considered an "homage" to Robert B Parker, but does not make the book indistinguishable from the other Spenser books.
There were two inconsistencies that I noticed during the book, neither important but neither of which I would have expected in one of Parker's books. Both seemed careless, but are easily ignored.
But finally, and most importantly, there was an excessive amount of foul language. While such language did occasionally show up in Parker's books, the amount in this one was not only excessive but seemed gratuitous. There seemed to me to be more foul language in this book than in all of the earlier books put together. Even given the young girl around whom this book centered, the use of language seemed both unpleasant and unnecessary. I assume it was intended to show she grew up “hard”, but there was no concurrent need for the same language from the other characters in the book and, by the end, I found myself wincing at each new occurrence.
This was a decent first book and perhaps Mr Atkins can properly master the Spenser tone. This was close and I have hope.
This is a pretty good book,and if it weren't a continuance of the Spenser series, it would stop there. Atkins gets Spenser right--except for the fact that he now drinks too much, which is like Jesse Stone, but definitely not like Spenser. And Parker's writing style is pretty well mimicked here, except that Parker had no need to replace consistently terse writing with gratuitous profanity. This mars an otherwise enjoyable story. I admit that I was not expecting it to be this good, but also will only want to read more if the writing improves. A certain amount of swearing by certain characters is expected by Parker's hoodlums, and no amount of swearing shocks me. But it is wearing to the ear to find witty writing replaced by a cacophany of four-letter words.
Easy story to follow.
Like the tone of his voice. Made the character's come to life.
Ace Atkins carries on Robert B. Parker's style, humor, and generosity of spirit in the Spenser books. I was really afraid we had lost this approach, but was entertained nontheless with a new author. Some of the humor was not quite as spiked, some of the style was not there (believe it or not, I missed the constant "I said", "she replied", "he asked" after EVERY statement, question or utterance. When I first started reading these books, that had really bothered me, but the more I read, the more I got used to it, and the more I liked it!)
The plot was goodl, and although you can always guess the ending, you have fun getting to that point!
I can't imagine anyone but Joe Mantegna performing the Spenser series. I know others have done it, including Bert Reynolds, but Joe is the best. He takes each character and makes them his own, he knows how to convey the humor, and seems to really enjoy his job!
Great to know Spenser is still with us, and will continue. Hopefully Joe Montegna will make these novels his life work!
Good, solid Spenser novel
More like some of the earlier Spenser novels with a few twists.
A little hesitant to listen to a Spenser novel not written by Parker but was pleasantly surprised. Dialogue (Parker's trademark) was vintage Spenser and Hawk. Much better than the Jesse Stone re-do.
This book is amazingly like the writing, storytelling, and characterizations of RBP. Great job, Mr. Atkins!
I have always liked the performance of Joe Mantegna. He does an excellent reading of the Spenser books, best of all of the performers.
Just to have another opportunity to revisit characters that are so embraced by so many.
A level of emotion that you would not necessarily experience on your own if you simply read the book.
Overall the book was good, not great. Ace does an admirable job of picking up the characters and making them live again. However, I did find the characters slightly off. Spenser was a little harder drinker, the way things were described were a bit more direct and crude. Some metaphors were less artful than in previous writings.
Spenser gets shot -- something that hasn't really happened since the grey man. I had the opportunity to listen to every Spenser book in sequence before I heard Lullaby. I could hear the difference.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a good book and enjoyable to listen to. However, I do hope Ace will re-examine his approach and his writing style to more closely match the art, not the science, of the original writings.
There were a few places where it didn't quite sound like the Robert B Parker versions of Spenser. Those bothered me.
No. Not quite up to its predecessors, and my friends don't even like those...too formulaic and certainly elitist when it comes to Harvard.
His narration helped it sound like the Spenser novels I'm used to.
I just listened to The Chaperone and would give it five stars. I'm recommending it to all of my friends.