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Robert B. Parker's Lullaby (Spenser #40)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,416 Ratings  ·  556 Reviews
When fourteen-year-old Mattie Sullivanasks Spenser to look into her mother’s murder, he’s not completely convinced by her claim that the police investigation four years ago was botched. Mattie is gruff, street-smart, and wise beyond her years, left to care for her younger siblings and an alcoholic grandmother in a dilapidated apartment in South Boston. But her need for clo ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Dec 23, 2015 Kemper rated it really liked it
Robert B. Parker is dead! Long live Robert B. Parker!

Here we have the first Spenser novel done by Ace Atkins who was chosen to take over the series after RBP shuffled off this mortal coil. How did Atkins do? Pretty damn well. In fact, he outshines a lot of the later RBP books.

Spenser gets hired by a 14 year old girl named Mattie whose mother was killed when she was 10. Mattie saw her mother pushed into a car by a couple of local thugs, but since her mom was a barfly and drug addict and the cops
Eddie Hodges
Sep 13, 2012 Eddie Hodges rated it it was amazing
After Robert Parker passed away his estate hired writer Ace Atkins to continue the Spenser series of detective novels. The first one by Mr. Atkins is titled Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby (an awkward name if I ever heard one, but good marketing I guess). At first I wasn’t going to read it; not out of any misplaced loyalty to Mr. Parker, but because when one writer creates and writes a book or a series s/he puts his/her own distinct voice to it which is something almost impossible to duplicate. Since ...more
May 06, 2012 Keith rated it really liked it
When I finished Robert B. Parker's SIxkill last year it was a sad moment as author Parker had died in 2010 and this was billed as the last Spenser novel. I have been a fan of Parker's Boston detective for the life of the series, which began in 1973 and stretched to 40 novels. Like any fan relationship mine had it's ups and downs. Parker wrote to a formula, no denying that, but it was a witty, dialogue driven scenario. The books were sweet confections, not too long and always entertaining. They w ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Robert B Parkers Spenser stories.
By chance I got my hands on a few continuation novels on the work of the late Robert B. Parker.

This one is about Spenser the female friendly macho Private investigator who has his heart in the right place. This one is about a 14 year old girl whose mother has been killed 4 years earlier and is very sure that they locked up the wrong person for the deed. Spenser goes out of his way to humour the kid and finds out very soon that she is right and that the forces of evildoer are about to get really
Nov 07, 2012 Martin rated it really liked it
I just finished Lullaby by Ace Atkins. I was hesitant to begin the book, and it sat dusty on my bookshelf for months. You see, Lullaby is Ace Atkins' first stab at a Spenser novel. My favorite author, Robert B. Parker, wrote almost 40 of them, but since his death in 2010, fans of the Boston gumshoe have gone without. I'm happy to report that, although Parker may be gone, Spenser is alive and well. Atkins has captured the essence of the smooth-talking, hard-hitting, system-bucking private investi ...more
May 20, 2012 Herzog rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, mystery
Thank you Ace Atkins! Since I've been reading this series for some 30 years and it is the series that got me hooked on this genre (along with John McDonald's Travis McGee series), it is an understatement to say that I was apprehensive about another author continuing to write it. Not only does Atkins succeed, I think that, to some extent, he actually surpasses Parker. The Parker books were uneven, although there was always a chuckle or two. I always viewed them kind of like eating a candy bar - i ...more
Mark Birchall
Sep 15, 2013 Mark Birchall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: private-eye
I first read Robert b Parker's work some twenty plus years ago and fell in love with it immediately . I'd grown up watching bogart on tv and thought he was the bees knees until Spenser came along and I felt guilty having a new hero. Well I read everything bob parker published, not always in the right order as I had a lot of Spenser to catch up on but I loved em every one. When bob died a couple of years ago I felt a sadness greater than I felt with the passing of people I knew personally which s ...more
Skip Maloney
Jun 27, 2012 Skip Maloney rated it it was amazing
It was with trepidation that I cracked the spine of Ace Atkins' book, Lullaby, featuring Robert B. Parker's distinctly Bostonian PI, Spenser. I'd been hanging around with Spenser, Hawk, Susan Silverman, Belson, Quirk, Joe Broz and a host of other assorted heroes and villains since the days of The Godwulf Manuscript, which introduced the world to Spenser in 1973. That's 30 years of the stuff, and not once, in all those years, had Mr. Parker ever disappointed me. I'd raised an eyebrow now and the ...more
May 02, 2012 Larraine rated it really liked it
After two heavier books, I was ready for a little fun, and this one fit the bill perfectly. If you were a fan of Robert B. Parker, you know he died about a year and a half ago. However, he was one of the publishing world's big sellers. Parker had a style that involved tight dialogue, a little comedy, some violence and an often twisted plot. Ace Atkins has done a good job. In fact, as I was reading it, I thought that it was more of the Parker I liked when I first started reading his stuff.

Luanne Ollivier
May 07, 2012 Luanne Ollivier rated it really liked it
Robert B. Parker passed away just over two years ago. With the blessings of his estate, Parker's iconic characters - Jesse Stone and Spenser will continue to live on the written page. Author Ace Atkins was chosen to continue the tale of Boston P.I. Spenser.

It's always a gamble for a publisher to have someone new take on the voice of a character so many have read and loved. I really enjoyed Ace Atkins' first book The Ranger last year and am eagerly awaiting the second. Atkins himself credits Par
Steven Belanger
Jun 19, 2016 Steven Belanger rated it really liked it
The title says it's "Robert B. Parker's Lullaby," and the copyright belongs to the estate of Robert B. Parker, but this novel, the first without Parker, is all Atkins. The names are the same, but the writing is completely different. Not that this is bad; the writing is adequate, sometimes good. Better than most in the genre, probably. But the benchmarks of Parker's writing--and though the comparison is unfair, it's inescapable when you take over someone else's iconic series--were the sparseness ...more
Doreen Fritz
Nov 06, 2012 Doreen Fritz rated it liked it
Just a fun, quick read -- an escape into the world created by Robert B. Parker, though this novel was written by Ace Atkins. Throughout the first part of the book I kept looking for (and sometimes finding) little things that seemed different from the way Parker would have written. But soon enough I was sucked into the quick repartee between Spenser and Hawk; the flirting and food shared with Spenser's love, Susan; the danger that Spenser seems to accept and handle with little fear; and the descr ...more
Aug 02, 2012 DR rated it did not like it
My reaction to this novel is my own fault. I swore early on that I wouldn’t read any of the commissioned-by-Joan-Parker continuations of Robert B. Parker’s two main fiction series. True aficionados couldn’t possibly be satisfied by the puny vegan imitation of Mr. Steak A. Potatoes, right? Right. I have a new appreciation for the subtle stylistic elements of the originals that, toward the tail end of the “Spenser” series, had seemed easy to replicate. Not so easy, as it turns out.

LULLABY reads l
Sep 07, 2012 Lilyane rated it did not like it
Robert Parker died again last night. I had made myself a promise to read each of the first post-Parker Spenser, Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall books. "Lullaby" was the first.

I have every book Mr. Parker wrote. I adored him. Much like Hemingway, his style was spare but never simple. He had wit and charm and panache. His characters were three dimensional and exploded off the page. His writing sparkled and sizzled.

This book is flat. I couldn't recognize the characters - they were strangers. If Spens
Aug 08, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
When robert B. Parker passed away in 2010 I was crushed. After all his main character, Spenser, and I have been in a relationship since I read my first Parker book in 19??.
He is my secret boyfriend.

So when Parker passed away I thought that was the end of our relationship. Then the Parker estate announced that another author, Ace Atkins, would be taking over the Spenser series.

Woohoo! I thought and promptly checked out an Atkins book to see if I would like his writing style.

Um. He does not write
Marc Leroux
Ace Atkins isn't Robert B Parker
While the formula is similar, the characters aren't the same. It's hard to pin down, because sometimes he has mannerisms spot on, then they slip away in the next paragraph. Susan isn't Susan. She tries too hard, and in the wrong way, to bring out "feelings" from Matti. She doesn't help the plot along at all. If Parker had her play a part in a story, it's because there was a clear role for her to play. Hawk slips in and out of character. We have always known Hawk w
Andrew Macrae
Dec 14, 2012 Andrew Macrae rated it really liked it
“Lullaby” by Ace Atkins

Robert Parker’s Spenser is as close to a modern version of a knight errant in an Italianate romance of centuries back as can be imagined. He aids damsels in distress, slays dragons and believes in fighting for truth, justice, and the Arthurian Way. Only Spenser lives in modern Boston and in this story the damsel in distress is a streetwise fourteen-year-old girl named Mattie, the dragons are drug dealers and mobsters, and truth and justice have not been on speaking terms f
May 27, 2013 Randy rated it it was amazing
When I first discovered Spenser and Robert B. Parker, about half the novels had appeared. I started from the beginning and worked my way through, then kept up with each new Spenser when it was published. I recognized that the early books were the best. But he was like an old friend that drops in every so often and we catch up. I hesitated before trying Ace Atkins' continuation until I read reviews of friends I trusted. So i gave it a try and am glad I did.

Atkins got the voice right, not an easy
Todd Morr
Jul 22, 2013 Todd Morr rated it really liked it
My problem with Spenser novels is my ability to do basic math. Spenser has got to be closing in on 80 years old, he fought Sonny Liston and in the Korean war after all. Instead of beating down on the low lives of Boston he should be taking naps and hitting the early bird special at Denny's. Hawk should be somewhere yelling at kids to get off his lawn. The sexy Dr. Silverman doesn't sound so hot when you realize she is old enough to be a great grandmother.

Still, the genius of Robert Parker was w
Jul 02, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
'Lullaby' is the first Spenser novel to be written by Robert B. Parker's appointed successor, Ace Atkins. Mr. Atkins faithfully renders the ironic patter between Spenser and his side-kick Hawk well, and the general wise-acre tone that Spenser uses with almost everybody is also reproduced successfully. I kept wondering, would I have noticed anything different had I not known that this is not Robert B. Parker writing. The answer is a resounding "I don't know, but... it just wasn't quite right." An ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Metagion rated it it was amazing
Even though the character's creator is gone (Mr. Parker died January, 2010) Spenser lives on under a new writer, Ace Atkins. He does a wonderful job with Spenser, so let's hope there's more to come! Set in Boston, Spenser's latest case is brought to him by an old-beyond-her-years teen named Mattie Sullivan, who asks him to look into the death of her Mom, and the frameup that put an innocent man behind bars for the crime. Filled with twists, this book has it all: good old fashioned police work, a ...more
May 06, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing
I am a hardcore Robert Parker fan. I was so sad when I learned of his death and thought it was the end of Spenser. I was wary of Ace Atkins writing the new series after reading a lot of crap books by Robert Patterson and et al..etc.... I loved this book!! It was not Parker but very Parker-like. He did stay true to the characters but I think he tried to jam too many references to their past and characteristics, but hopefully that will mellow when Ace Atkins hits his stride. It was like he was tri ...more
First Sentence: I spotted the girl even before she knocked on my door.

Tough, street-wise Mattie Sullivan hires Spenser to find her mother’s killer. Even though a man was convicted, Mattie doesn’t believe he’s the killer. Agreeing on a fee of doughnuts, literally, Spenser is intrigued enough to look into it. When the trail leads to old advisories, drugs, and the FBI, Spenser, with the help of Hawk, know they need to keep Mattie safe and to find the answers.

Atkins does a very good job of capturing
May 25, 2012 BJ rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to like this book; after all, there can be only one Robert B Parker. At the beginning of the book, I was looking for proof that no one else could write Spenser. Then Mr. Atkins began to change my mind. When Spenser and Hawk met again, it became clear that these characters were not ready to hang it up, and that was comforting to me. By the time I reached the middle of the book, I no longer cared who was writing--Spenser and Hawk were back. And I was a happy reader.
Eric Wright
Dec 15, 2014 Eric Wright rated it liked it
Not recommended. Full of foul language.

I chose this book to vary my reading from a more dense historical novel to one easier to read. I don't really enjoy Parker's plots and Spenser character but he reminds me that dialogue can be fast, tight and that new, peripheral characters can be introduced by a few terse sentences. For example; "Contini looked at me like I was the ghost of Christmas Past...Contini was a small, skeletal man with very white, very bad skin. His suit had probably been purchas
Jim A
Oct 02, 2012 Jim A rated it liked it
This would have been a pretty good book if I weren't so used to Parker's style of writing about Spenser. No matter how hard a replacement author tries, they usually just don't have the feel for the character that the original author had.

Nothing negative about Atkins' work, it's just he isn't Parker.
Aug 31, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I have been a fan of Robert Parker's Spenser novels since I was in high school. Every book has been fun and exciting to read about Spenser, Hawk, and Susan's adventures solving mysteries. So when Mr. Parker died four years ago I was very, very saddened about not only losing one of my favorite authors but some of my favorite characters also. I am never excited about other author's picking up the threads of stories or creating new stories with iconic characters that they did not create.
But Mr. A
May 12, 2013 Ric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Found this book while looking for a break from SF space operas. Have read a few Spenser books in the past and recall enjoying a number of them. (Quick research: there are 40 of these books written by Robert B. Parker, who passed away in 2010.) I was intrigued by Lullaby because its by a new writer, Ace Atkins, who had an entry in the Edgar for best novels for 2013. Plus, it was short enough.

Overall, I liked the book. Though the plot is straightforward and the prose nearly like a Dr. Seuss book,

Christopher Everest
Oct 24, 2014 Christopher Everest rated it it was amazing
Nice one Ace. RBP would have nothing to complain about. There is, and there should be, some concern with how the characters will develop in future books but I am quite happy to trust Mr Atkins with the franchise now. The formulaic elements, carefully chosen hold the structure of this book together. Hawk, Vinnie, Quirk, Belson, Suze, Pearl, Henry Cimoli, Rita : All are comfortably esconsed in this new reincarnation. This book actually blends many of the previous books into one. The narrative adds ...more
Ishmael Seaward
May 27, 2012 Ishmael Seaward rated it liked it
This is the first Parker book in a while that I enjoyed and actually finished. It is reminiscent of Parker's earlier books, focused on the problem at hand and less discussion of his relationship with Susan and why he does what he does. It contains familiar names: Broz, Vinnie, Fish, and of course Hawk.

The plot is simple: A 14 year-old girl hires Spenser to bring her mother's killer(s) to justice. The fee: a dozen donuts of Spenser's choice. Spenser proceeds as per usual, asking questions of low-
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Robert B. Parker's Lullaby 1 3 Sep 22, 2012 04:31PM  
  • Sixkill (Spenser, #39)
  • Silent Night (Spencer, #41.5)
  • Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues (Jesse Stone, #10)
Ace Atkins is the author of eight novels, including his latest, Infamous, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30.

While at the Tribune, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a
More about Ace Atkins...

Other Books in the Series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 44 books)
  • The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1)
  • God Save The Child (Spenser, #2)
  • Mortal Stakes (Spenser, #3)
  • Promised Land (Spenser, #4)
  • The Judas Goat (Spenser, #5)
  • Looking For Rachel Wallace (Spenser, #6)
  • Early Autumn (Spenser, #7)
  • A Savage Place (Spenser, #8)
  • Ceremony (Spenser, #9)
  • The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)

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