cover image Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch over Me

Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch over Me

Ace Atkins. Putnam, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-53685-7

In bestseller Atkins’s tepid ninth contribution to Parker’s Spenser franchise (after 2019’s Angel Eyes), 22-year-old Mattie Sullivan, Spenser’s “occasional secretary, part-time assistant, and sleuthing apprentice,” needs his help. The younger sister of a friend of Mattie’s, 15-year-old Chloe Turner, agreed to give a massage to a man at a swanky Boston club, but when the man began to masturbate in front of her, Chloe fled, leaving her backpack and laptop behind. When Mattie tried to retrieve the backpack and laptop, she was turned away at the club door. After Spenser gets involved, he learns that the pervert’s name is Peter Steiner, a Jeffrey Epstein clone, complete with a female accomplice who procures underage girls for him and a private island in the Bahamas beyond the reach of law enforcement. Spenser devotes himself to taking Steiner down, confronting an old enemy en route to the pat ending. The ripped-from-the-headlines plot doesn’t generate much suspense, and pulled punches dilute what could have been a memorable climax. Atkins seems to be going through the motions in this one. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Jan.)