Monday 30 April 2018

Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn by Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker was renowned for his Spenser novels, featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye, which earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim. He also launched two other bestselling series featuring, respectively, Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone and Boston private detective Sunny Randall.

In addition, he authored four Westerns. Bob's bestselling Western novel Appaloosa was made into a major motion picture by New Line, starred Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, and was a box office hit in 2008. Long acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction, he was named Grand Master of the Edgar Awards in 2002 by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Ace Atkins is a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist as well as an author and was selected by the estate of Robert B. Parker in 2011 to continue his legacy and to take over writing the Spenser series.

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About Slow Burn
The fire at a boarded-up Catholic church raged hot and fast, lighting up Boston’s South End and killing three firefighters who were trapped in the inferno. A year later, as the city prepares to honor their sacrifice, there are still no answers about how the deadly fire started. Most at the department believe it was just a simple accident: faulty wiring in a century-old building. But Boston firefighter Jack McGee, who lost his best friend in the blaze, suspects arson.

McGee is convinced department investigators aren’t sufficiently connected to the city’s lowlifes to get a handle on who's behind the blaze—so he takes the case to Spenser. Spenser quickly learns not only that McGee might be right, but that the fire might be linked to a rash of new arsons, spreading through the city, burning faster and hotter every night. Spenser follows the trail of fires to Boston’s underworld, bringing him, his trusted ally Hawk, and his apprentice Sixkill toe-to-toe with a dangerous new enemy who wants Spenser dead, and doesn’t play by the city’s old rules. Spenser has to find the firebug before he kills again – and stay alive himself.

Boston firefighter McGee has a lot of unanswered questions about a deadly fire that claimed the lives of fellow firefighters. One year on and there is still no definitive proof of the cause, and the general assumption is a tragic accident turned deadly.

If there is one thing the police and fire department dislike intensely then it's people questioning their authority or the way their colleagues do their job. Poking around in old cases and possibly pointing fingers of blame in specific directions. It's no surprise that Spenser and his trusted companions ruffle quite a few feathers.

When all the rumours and evidence start to point in the direction of an intentional series of fires everyone starts to wonder whether it is a team of firebugs or one perpetrator? Are they targeting firefighters and what is exactly is their end-goal? Or is it just some fire deviant who gets off on the flames and the attention the chaos draws to the scene of the crime.

Ace Atkins does an excellent job of living up to the legacy and style of Robert.B. Parker. It certainly does give off an aura of old style detective a la Raymond Chandler, who is considered to be the founder of the so called hard-boiled school of detective fiction. It is brash, uses minimal world-building and focuses on the characters and their interactions.

It is also more of a Sam Spade kind of approach, where the men are men and the women are supposed to stand around and look good. Luckily it doesn't get too chauvinistic, but the way the men interact with and speak about each other lacks a certain sensitivity or modern finesse. Typical of the Hammett and Chandler kind of read, it brings back a certain sense of nostalgia.

Buy Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Robert B. Parker's Little White Lies

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