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Robert B. Parker's Wonderland (Spenser #41)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,155 ratings  ·  319 reviews
Henry Cimoli and Spenser have been friends for years, yet the old boxing trainer has never asked the private eye for a favor. Until now. A heavy-handed developer is trying to buy up Henry's condo on Revere Beach and sends thugs to move the process along. Soon Spenser and his apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, find a trail leading to a mysterious and beautiful woman, a megalomani ...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Putnam Adult
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I recently got to see some mystery writers including Ace Atkins and Megan Abbott at an event and signing in St. Louis and got one of my proudest moments when I met Atkins and mentioned that I liked the homage he’d done to True Grit in his first Spenser novel Lullaby.

“You know, you’re only like the third person I’ve talked to who picked up on that, and Megan Abbott there was one of the other ones,” Atkins told me. This made me so happy that I walked around with a big stupid grin on my face for t
Lee Goldberg
Ace Atkins flawlessly captures Parker's narrative voice and has produced the best Spenser novel in years. It reads like Parker in his prime, even without Hawk appearing in the book. There isn't a single false note in the plotting, character or voice. It's an astonishing feat. It's actually better, and truer to Parker and his characters, than the last few Spenser novels that Parker himself wrote. It's a shame Atkins can't take on Jesse Stone and Virgil Cole, too.
You all know how I love Spenser.

And if you remember I was concerned when author Robert Parker died and Ace Atkins took over the Spenser series. His first book, Sixkill was good, had that Parker feel, almost seamless in the turnover. Edit: This is actually Parker's last book, Atkins took over the next one...d"oh!

This one...well, it was good, still has the Parker feel but something was a little bit off. Not bad...but off.

At first I thought it was because Atkins didn't have enough of that quick,
Brilliant Wonderland

Having read Wonderland by Robert B. Parker I can see why they called him “ of the greats of the American hard-boiled genre” because this book is brilliance defined. If you want to know how to write about private detectives then he has to be a must read. For me, Spence is the best private detective in modern American crime fiction. I know want to read more of what Parker has written as he is succinct does not drag anything out and his prose speaks Bostonian hard working
Jay Connor
This is the second outing for Ace Atkins as the successor to the great Robert B. Parker in continuing the Spenser series. Though not quite as strong as Lullaby, Wonderland is a fine addition.

New authors picking up the baton from a deceased author has been done before. Parker himself wrote two Philip Marlowe novels. John Gardner took a run at James Bond. Eric Van Lustbader picked up Jason Bourne. Joe Gores gave us a new Sam Spade novel. And Sherlock Holmes has been tackled by everyone from Stephe
Steven Belanger
I've gone on before about titles that contain the name of an artist as its main selling point, so I won't do so again here--except to say that book titles that contain the name of a deceased writer is even worse. At least when John Carpenter used to title his movies with his name in it, he was still alive, directing them. But when the publishing house (or perhaps it's Parker's estate) does so, it comes across as a bit gauche to me. Especially when the real author, Ace Atkins, is doing such a cre ...more
This is the second book in the Robert B Parker Spenser legacy series. As I noted in my review of Ace Atkin's freshman effort in this series, having read all 30+ Spenser novels, often more than once, it is difficult to accept someone else writing the series. After reading, Lullaby, Atkins's first Spenser book, I generally liked it a lot. I had some issues of tone and description but overall it was well worth reading. Wonderland is more of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand Atkins has done the mo ...more
Randy Briggs
I was devastated when Robert B. Parker died in 2010, as he was one of my favorite writers for decades. I have read every one of his books, and his death left a huge hole in my literary pleasure. I was hugely skeptical when I learned that his books were to be written by an unknown (to me, at that point)author. Thankfully, his estate hand-picked a fitting writer to carry on the tradition. "Wonderland" is the second Spenser novel written by Ace Atkins, and it's a dandy. The language is the same, as ...more
I've read every one of the Spenser, Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall books. I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep reading the non-Parker novels. Even after reading the first Atkins book I wasn't totally convinced. The story was ok, and seemed Parker-ish but the dialogue seemed forced to me and it seemed like Atkins was trying a bit too hard. After reading his new book, Wonderland, I'm definitely in for the long haul. I really enjoyed it. The story is good, and the dialogue much better. I even like Spen ...more
Writer Ace Atkins continues the Spenser tradition established by the late Robert B. Parker, and once again, he hits the nail on the head nine times out of 10. In this one, private investigator Spenser at first takes on a pro bono job for old friend and boxing trainer Henry Cimoli; he and members of his condo association are being harassed both mentally and physically as they steadfastly refuse to sell their building for a bargain-basement price.

The attacks, Henry believes, are coming at the hand
I like what Ace Atkins is doing. He is staying true to the characters, the style, and the overall feel of the Spenser series, but he is also nudging the series forward. I was curious what Parker would have done with Z when he introduced the character. But, since Z was left under-developed and without a history, Atkins can and is using him to explore the Spenser-verse in a new ways. Most significantly for the series going forward are the developments with Vinnie and Gino Fish.

As I said in my firs
David  Sam
A good effort at channeling Robert Parker's Spenser: Better than some Parker wrote near the end, but not anywhere as good as Mortal Stakes, Judas Goat and others from the period thru Pale Kings---but then not much is that good.
Ace Atkins, author of the excellent Quinn Colson series, captures Spenser's voice, though it's more the voice of the last couple of dozen Spenser novels and not the more tautly paced first dozen. Spenser's old pal, Henry Cimoli, is being pressured out of his condo (along with all of the other older people who live there) by gaming interests who are out to build a giant casino. Spenser and his protege, Zebulon Sixkill (Hawk is in Miami on a job, unfortunately) move against the thugs who are press ...more
Ace Atkins mimicked Parker better in his last outing, but if his name wasn't on the front you'd believe this was Parker. It's the dialogue that gives it away. It's almost there, but ... the guy talk rings true, it's the Spencer-Susan passages that ring a little off.
That said, this is great outing, and current as Massachusetts looks to allow some casinos to build — one is slated for Eastern Mass., mostly in and around Boston. We know its likely to be Suffolk Downs, but before Boston struck a dea
Henry Cimoli has known Hawk and Spenser for years. He has never once asked for a favor and certainly wouldn't now if he wasn't being squeezed. He might have even tolerated being squeezed a little bit, but, when three thugs showed up at his fourth floor condo things got serious. The thugs threatened to throw him out his own window if he didn’t shut up about not wanting to move. Somebody wants to buy the condo building for a project and hired thugs are now visiting the mostly elderly holdouts and ...more
Gregory Drake
May 30, 2013 Gregory Drake rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All of Robert Parker's Spenser fans, and everyone else, too!!
Recommended to Gregory by: The guys on Robert Parker Discussion Group
Wow!! This guy, Atkins, wrote this newest Spenser novel just exactly in Robert Parker's style.... well, his "earlier" style in his Spenser novels. Bob Parker started to change his style slightly in the last handful of Spenser narratives. I don't know why he did that, but it bothered me that those stories didn't have exactly the same "oomph," for lack of a better descriptive word, as all his earlier works. I really enjoyed this one written by Ace Atkins!!! Looking forward to, hopefully, many more ...more
Robert B. Parker died nearly four years ago, but his characters live on. In this case, Spenser, carried on by Ace Atkins. (I wish I could say the same for Jesse Stone, but they're not that well done. Nobody has been interested in picking up Sunny which is too bad.) Wonderland has all of the elements that Parker made so famous: Spenser's combination of cynicism and hope, his undying love for Susan, and his relentless drive to find the truth no matter what the cost. The books are a fun, quick read ...more
Janet Major
Ace Atkins continues his winning ways with the Robert Parker series. Spenser is asked to help Henry Cimoni, owner of the gym where he and Hawk have trained for years. Cimoni currently lives in a high rise condo on Revere beach which is under attack from someone who wants to buy the whole condo building. It has turned dangerous for those who haven't signed the agreement. Spenser and his sidekick-in-training, Zebulon Sixkill, endeavor to solve the situation. It seems that groups want the land to ...more
Angela Juline
I just enjoy these Spenser books - certainly not works of fiction, but I've always appreciated how well the stories are told. Atkins does a respectable job of keeping the books as Robert B. Parker would have written them - I love books with lots of dialog, especially well written dialog.
Frank Richardson
Robert Parker died in 2010. Ace Atkins took over without skipping a beat. This former newspaper reporter for the Tampa Tribune and the St Pete Times is described by Michael Connelly as "one of the best crime writers working today". The dialog is hard bitten and full of sardonic humor and Hawk isn't even there. He is in Miami. This is a case where criminal types are trying to force their way into buying property in beantown which happens to include the condo of one of Spenser's friends named Henr ...more
I really liked Atkins first Spenser outing, LULLABY. While this was a good read, it wasn't as good as that one. Seemed to take the plot awhile to get going, and I REALLY missed Hawk. A Spenser book without Hawk, even a cameo appearance, is like a day without sunshine. The plot was a bit involved and you had to pay attention. Spenser's relationship with Z is kind of odd to me, and I wonder what's going to happen with him after the ending of this one. Mostly nit-picky things for me, but one very g ...more
There were a couple of linguistic errors that RBP would not have made -- otherwise, a wonderful revisit with some of my favorite people. (They can't help it if they are fictional.) I did think that Ace Atkins overloaded us with Boston references -- we don't really need to know each individual street name. He also referred to the cooking process in the manner of one who never partakes in same, where RBP's descriptions of putting a meal together always sounded exactly like what somebody would writ ...more
In the second of his Spenser novels WONDERLAND, author Ace Atkins once again picks up where Robert B. Parker left off. This time it's Henry Cimoli, an old friend who runs the gym where Spenser and his guys (Hawk and Native American Zebulon Sixkill - Z for short) work out, who needs help and he need it fast. Cimoli has been physically threatened, and some of the elderly residents of the condominium complex in which he lives are in are being pushed to sell their units by an out of state developer ...more
Mike Jensen
This is the best Spenser novel I have read in decades.* Too bad it took creator Robert B. Parker's death to improve the series.

Replacement Ace Atkins may not have Parker's exquisitely readable dialogue down pat. There always seem to be a few lines that can be tightened up, but each scene reads 99% like Parker. He has the sense to all but eliminate Susan from the story, and when she does appear she does not stop the action for too cute dialogue, but her scenes actually serve the story. Just as im
I enjoyed this. It's always difficult when another author takes on an established character and looks to continue the work of a well established author - you only have to look at some of the dreadful James Bond books written after Ian Fleming's death, often by good writers, to see what a minefield it can be.
As a long standing fan of Robert B. Parker in general and the Spenser series in particular I approached this book with some trepidation but also with a feeling that if anyone could pull this
Phil Harrison
I had a hard time with this mainly because of badly written parts that threw me out of the book.

I had to read the comparison paragraphs [higher class of visitors or not] several times before I realized what he was doing simply because of the placement of one of his sentences.

He also did it again when he did an 'or' sentence. Instead of making it the informal which is the way Spenser and most humans who use English as a native language would talk by changing do not to don't, he kept it formal a
Bryan Higgs
It was sad to hear of the death of Robert B. Parker back in 2010. We had enjoyed his Spenser novels over the years, and thought that would be the end of it. Of course, these days, such successful authors are "resurrected" to keep selling books, and a suitable substitute author is chosen (sometimes more than one) to carry on the torch.

And so we come to this posthumous Spenser novel, written by Ace Atkins, a successful novelist in his own right. Atkins certainly tries to portray Spenser and some o
Kristy West
Wonderland is a small-ish book with a strong storyline centred around Henry and Spenser; old friends that spend most of their time at a boxing gym. The high-octaine story includes a condo sale, some ruthless developers and lots of murders which are in need of being solved.
The first thing I noticed on reading this book was the witty language used throughout, which reminded me in a way of the Harlan Coben books I love so much. The writing style carried me swiftly through the book from beginning t
Alan Mills
While Parker is dead, Spenser lives on! Wonderland brings Henry, owner of the gym where Hawk and Spenser work out in pretty much every Spenser book, to the forefront. When goons try to force Henry to sell his condo, Spenser volunteers to see who is behind the pressure, and make it stop. Along the way, Spenser dives head first into a complex plot involving casinos, competing mobs, and of course multiple murders. Using his usual combination of carefully controlled violence, wisecracking humor, per ...more
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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 43 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)
Robert B. Parker's Lullaby (Spenser, #40) The Ranger (Quinn Colson, #1) Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot The Lost Ones (Quinn Colson, #2) The Broken Places (Quinn Colson, #3)

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