cover image Robert B. Parker’s Kickback

Robert B. Parker’s Kickback

Ace Atkins. Putnam, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-17084-3

A topical plot line propels bestseller Atkins’s engrossing fourth Spenser novel (after 2014’s Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot). Sheila Yates, a resident of Blackburn, Mass., turns to the Boston PI for help when her teenage son, Dillon, is arrested and charged with terrorism after setting up a fake Twitter account for his high school vice principal. In Blackburn’s juvenile court system, the accused are routinely denied the right to counsel. Judge Scali, the “Zero Tolerance for Minors guy,” sentences Dillon to Fortune Island, a boot camp supposedly designed to rehabilitate offenders. In Blackburn, Spencer receives a less than warm welcome and quickly learns the extent of the problem. Atkins builds tension by alternating Spenser’s wry first-person narration with third-person sections recounting the horrific conditions on Fortune Island. Lending support are Spenser’s wingman, the deadly Hawk, and his soul mate, psychiatrist Susan Silverman. Once again, Atkins has done a splendid job of capturing the voice of the late Robert B. Parker. Author tour. Agent: Helen Brann, Helen Brann Agency. (May)