Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When the New England Patriot's Kinjo Heywood's son goes missing, Spenser is on the case. But who took him? Is it someone looking to squeeze a star football player out of some of his millions or is it someone with ties to Kinjo's past? Can Spenser, Hawk, and Z get Kinjo's son back in one piece?
I got this book via Goodread's Firstreads program. I've never been one of those guys that thinks Spenser is the best thing since fresh-sliced Phillip Marlowe so it wasn't a big deal for me when the Parker estate tapped Ace Atkins to take over. Lucky for me and the Parker estate, Atkins has the skills that pay the bills.
Cheap Shot reads like a long lost early Spenser. There's little talk of Spenser's man code and Spenser and Susan Silverman aren't nauseating everyone with all their relationship garbage. This is Spenser, Hawk, and their protege Zebulon Sixkill stirring up shit until the pot boils over.
Spenser's cases work best for me when his employer isn't squeaky clean and Kinjo Heywood fits the bill. He's a football player with some possible anger management issues and some skeletons in his closet. Complicating matters is his first wife, a strong woman who wants nothing but to get their son back.
Atkin's writing isn't a carbon copy of Parkers but it doesn't seem out of place either. He hits all the Parker hallmarks: slick dialog, descriptions of what people are wearing and eating, and Spenser and Hawk eventually getting into a confrontation with the bad guys. Spenser and Hawk rang true to form for me and felt pretty fresh.
The case had a lot of wrinkles. I was in the dark for quite a lot of the book. I figured out a couple pieces of how the ending was going to go but some of it still caught me napping. There was a plot twist at the 75% mark that surprised the crap out of me. The addition of Zebulon Sixkill to the supporting cast makes me want to backtrack and read more of the Spensers I've yet to read.
Cheap Shot was a really good read and I, for one, have no problem with Ace Atkins continuing the series as long as he wants. Four out of five stars.
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