** spoiler alert **
After reading the Jesse Stone novel written after Parker's death, and being disappointed, I was hesitant about reading the new Spenser novel. I'm glad I gave it a chance, because it's quite good, nearly as good as Parker's earlier Spenser novels. Ace Atkins did a good job at capturing the voices of both Spenser and Hawk.
Fourteen-year-old Mattie comes to Spenser about the death of her mother four years earlier. She's convinced that the scumbag convicted of her murder isn't guilty. She saw two other men force her mother into a car the night she was killed, yet the police won't listen to her. Spenser takes the case for a the fee of a dozen doughnuts. He soon learns that conviction isn't as cut and dry as the police thought, that the so-called airtight case as a few holes. He starts a whole chain reaction of violence and needs Hawk and other friends to help him live through it.
Mattie is tough and vulnerable at the same time. Spenser sees himself a bit in the girl and I think that's one of the reasons the story works so well. She has a similar moral code, that the bad guys shouldn't get away with murder just because it'd be easier.
He won't give up and he does everything he can to keep Mattie safe in a frightful world. It kept my interest from page one. Well done.