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(Spenser #40)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  9,749 ratings  ·  705 reviews
When fourteen-year-old Mattie Sullivan asks 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 c ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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hipposelect You can certainly enjoy any of the Ace Atkins books without reading any of the previous Spenser novels. Ace does a TERRIFIC job of mimicking Robert Pa…moreYou can certainly enjoy any of the Ace Atkins books without reading any of the previous Spenser novels. Ace does a TERRIFIC job of mimicking Robert Parker's unparalleled prose and his characters are all true to his writing. That being said, if you like Ace Atkins' Spencer novels, you will UNDOUBTEDLY enjoy every single one of Parker's novels, as I have, repeatedly. (less)

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Jan 02, 2012 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 drug addicted barfly and the cops ca
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Parker fans
Shelves: male-lead, mystery
Robert Parker wrote a Spenser P.I. book almost every year since 1973 until his death in 2010. He was extremely influential on the P.I. genre, but in his later years his quality was sacrificed for cash cow possibilities (he suddenly started publishing two to three books a year after he turned 65). Ace Atkins was tapped by the family/estate to continue the Spenser series, and he succeeds fairly well. I felt like Atkins achieved the Spenser feel, although he’s more of a golden retriever type writer ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Spenser holds an odd but prominent position in my landscape of beloved characters. Usually, my favorites are a motley collection of the damaged, disreputable, and deadly; Spenser's my exception, the genuinely heroic character I genuinely like, who comes across successfully as both a real character in his own right and a somewhat aspirational figure for the rest of us. (No surprise, then, that my favorite book in the series is the odd Early Autumn, where the plot is feather-light and the focus is ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser has to channel the father instincts that he has less practice with than most men of a certain age. The object is Mattie Sullivan who walks into his office one winter day and sizes him up for the job of finding the real killer of her mother---a crime that took place four years previously. Mattie is a hard-scrabble Southy. (Those unfamiliar with Boston might want to do a little online research.) At age fourteen she is in charge of what remains of her family --- two younger sisters and an a ...more
Eddie Hodges
Sep 13, 2012 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 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
Daniel Sevitt
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: part-of-a-series
Pushed off reading this for a long time as I wasn't sure whether I needed any non-Parker Spenser in my life. Truth is that the last 15-20 Spenser books were essentially self-parodies written to a fairly strict template and I pretty much loved them all, so what did I have to lose? Turns out, very little. This reads almost exactly like a late-period Spenser book. All the tropes and in-jokes show up as expected and the jokes are just as cheap and the action is just as sharp. There is absolutely no ...more
Dec 11, 2015 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
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
Nov 07, 2012 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
Sep 03, 2012 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
I enjoyed the great characters in this book and think Ace Atkins really captured RBK's style of writing. When a street tough, young girl asks Spencer to investigate the murder of her mother, he must dig into a five year old murder, which is anything but an open and shut case. I loved how all the characters were so realistic and brought to life by an all around good story. I will definitely be looking for more books in this series. Joe Mantegna is "Spencer" and does a seem less, well paced narrat ...more
Steven Belanger
Aug 08, 2012 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
May 02, 2012 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.

MisterLiberry Head
Jul 29, 2012 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
Aug 08, 2012 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
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, series
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
Dec 20, 2012 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 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
Todd Morr
Jul 21, 2013 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
Doreen Fritz
Nov 06, 2012 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
Jim A
Jul 04, 2012 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.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are really only two downsides to reading a Spenser novel, whether written by the original author, Robert B. Parker, or Ace Atkins, who later took up the mantle. One: you develop a hankering for booze, coffee, or one of the many well described mouth-watering meals Spenser is either cooking or ordering; and Two: having to tolerate scenes involving Spenser's annoying girlfriend, Susan.

Ace Atkins has done a masterful job with this, his first Spenser novel, including limiting the Susan-annoyan
Luanne Ollivier
May 07, 2012 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
Andrew Macrae
Dec 14, 2012 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 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's good to have Spenser and Hawk back (together with Quirk, Belson, and Henry Cimoli). Even Susan and Pearl are welcome, and in a satisfyingly subdued pair of roles. Ace Atkins returns the Spenser books to what they were like a long time ago. He captures the right voices in the right way. Spenser is still a wiseass and a lover of life's small pleasures (Amstell beer, corn muffins, grey goose martinis, and the Red Sox). Hawk is still dangerous, as is Spenser. There's less of Susan's late-series ...more
Jul 02, 2012 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
May 14, 2013 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
Paula Dembeck
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is Ace Atkins first try at writing a Spenser book which is an intimidating experience knowing many loyal Parker fans are poised to see how well he will do. Atkins was chosen by those responsible for R.B. Parker’s estate to continue the franchise, which is like handing someone a money making machine if it works out well. But it is never easy to pick up and continue a series after an author’s death. Loyal Parker/Spenser fans will be hypercritical of whatever lands on paper. Parker had created ...more
May 06, 2012 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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Robert B. Parker's Lullaby 1 6 Sep 22, 2012 04:31PM  

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See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Spenser (1 - 10 of 48 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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