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Publisher's Summary

Henry Cimoli and Spenser have been friends for years, yet the old boxing trainer has never asked the private eye for a favor. Until now. A heavy-handed developer is trying to buy up Henry's condo on Revere Beach and sends thugs to move the process along. Soon Spenser and his apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, find a trail leading to a mysterious and beautiful woman, a megalomaniacal Las Vegas kingpin, and plans to turn a chunk of land north of Boston into a sprawling casino. Bitter rivals emerge, alliances turn, and the uglier pieces of the Boston political machine look to put an end to Spenser's investigation.

Aspiration, greed, and twisted dreams all focus on the old Wonderland dog track where the famous amusement park once fronted the ocean. For Spenser and Z, this simple favor to Henry will become the fight of their lives.

©2013 Ace Atkins (P)2013 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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In the Spirit of the Original

Ace Atkins does a good job of channeling Parker in his second Spenser novel. Atkins has a bit of a harder than most of Parker's works and his attempts at humor come up a bit short of the master's. Evidently he has decided that Hawk, (the best character in the series) is no longer relevant, expendable, or is just too difficult to write well. Thankfully he has practically dropped the character of Susan Silverman. Atkins' Spenser runs a bit longer than most of the Spenser novels, mostly to no effect. There is a stretch of about 60-90 minutes where the narrative seems to wander aimlessly, and for no apparent reason; still, a slightly less authentic Spenser is still Spenser. Zebulon Sixkill is something of a Wooden Indian, and responds to most of Spenser's Hollywood Indian comments as if he were old enough to remember them, but he provides a further opportunity for Spenser to take on the role of father. Healy and Lundquist serve as decent replacements for Quirk and Belson; Atkins has allowed Spenser to continue on which is good enough for a recommendation.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good but not quite

What did you love best about Robert B. Parker's Wonderland?

This is Spenser. This is Parker - well not quite but close enough.

What does Joe Mantegna bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Joe Mantegna has been the voice of Spenser; he is Spenser.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Bo! I wanted to parse it out so it would last.

Any additional comments?

Where is Hawk?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • CHESTERFIELD, MI, United States
  • 01-28-15

Worth the time!

One of the best Spenser stories!
Strong recommendation!

Lots of twists and turns!

Joe M. Makes it even better. Yes!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lewis
  • Weston, CT, United States
  • 01-26-14

Really enjoyable performance.

Nothing was lost in this continuing character driven story. If anything, funnier than originals. Worth the purchase.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another Spencer adventure, interesting story

I have all of Parker's 'Spencer' audiobooks and especially treasure the ones read by Joe Mantegna. Ace Atkins did a pretty good job of writing Spencer dialog. I missed having Hawk in the book, like I do any time he is "unavailable" for the plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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big fan!

love Robert Parker books and narrator, Joe. Listened to almost all of his books. will read and listen to more.

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So glad Spenser lives.

If you could sum up Robert B. Parker's Wonderland in three words, what would they be?

Oh,thank God

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot was as good as usual. Not the real reason to listen. To hear Mantegna interpret Spenser is divine. So glad Ace Atkins is carrying the torch high.

What does Joe Mantegna bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

All the color and sly innuendo in his voice make the characters. He does Z very well without going over the top, his work is splendid.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh out loud often. Lots of smirks too.

Any additional comments?

Joe M does not even try to do British, which is a good thing. Only part that might have made it incredible.

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As good as Parker

If you could sum up Robert B. Parker's Wonderland in three words, what would they be?

Funny, complicated, reassuring. I love Ace Atkins' creation of Mattie, the interaction between Mattie and Spener, and the complicated plot in this book. I have read all 43 books by Robert Parker, mourned his loss, but Atkins imitated Parker's voice in an uncanny fashion. This is one of my very favorites of the Parker books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Robert B. Parker's Wonderland?

Any of the interactions between Mattie and Spenser are delightful. The trip to the grocery store tickled me...because it skillfully moved Mattie's characterization ahead in a delightful fashion. And the ending scene at the ball game was the capstone of a terrific novel.

What does Joe Mantegna bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Only Joe Mantegna should ever read the Spenser books...Whenever another narrator attempts to take over that job, I just cringe. Mantegna is so superior that he makes anyone else sound like a bumpkin.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud at the way Mattie spoke to Spenser...and I shared Susan and Spenser's anxiety about her needing to grow up so fast.

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Almost

Briefly, 1. Chapters too long
2. Swearing unnecessary and not a part of Susan and rarely of Spencer
3. Sequential chapters too often continue the flow of the same action, same arc
4. Book felt like the author was paid by the word
5. Dialogue very Parker-like
6. The descriptive asides appear to distract from the action, too long, sometimes too oblique
7. Plot twists often oblique enough to fatigue and disconnect the reader

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Again Spenser!

Thanks to Ace Atkins for channeling RBP's essence and Joe M for making it live. RBP gone too soon.

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  • C. Leys
  • 02-01-15

Badly read

It was obvious this was not written completely by Mr Parker but was ok. However what spoiled it for me was the narration very poor.

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  • AReader
  • 04-09-14

A very good clone

Joe Mantagna is a wonderful narrator for Spenser. Atkins channels Parker flawlessly, yet is the story just a little too predictable? Definitely one for fans though.