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Friday, May 12, 2017


4.5 stars out of 5

The author has done a commendable job taking over the late, great Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, IMHO. Most of what I've missed is the snappy banter between Spenser and his faithful sidekick Hawk (and to some extent, between Spenser and his main squeeze, Dr. Susan Silverman). That, and the occasional interjections of humor, seem better here. When Spenser visits a service in a Georgia mega-church and listens to the music from a rock band and a gospel choir, for instance, he quips that it "was a bit like Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Three Dog Night."

The adventure begins when Spenser gets a visit from Connie Kelly, a woman not only scorned, but ripped off. Her handsome and much older lover - whom she met online and trusted because he's a "talking head" TV networks - has flown her coop along with the nearly $300,000 she gave him to invest in a "sure thing." Distraught, she discussed her feelings with her shrink - you guessed it, Susan - who in turn recommended that she bring the matter to Spenser's attention.

 All Connie wants is for Spenser to find the man who done her wrong, M. Brooks Welles, and get her money back. But almost immediately, Spenser learns Welles is far from what he claims to be; his hot-shot military and espionage experience, Harvard degree and even his name are nothing more than hot air. But wait, there's more: it seems he's to in cahoots with some very dangerous characters from the Atlanta area who don't take kindly to a Boston private eye poking around in their territory. What's more, they, too, have set their sights on finding Welles; apparently, Connie isn't the only person he ripped off. 

Even after some twists and turns that mean he could turn his back on the whole mess and walk away, Spenser remains determined to carry out Connie's directive and recoup her money. To help, he calls in the super-capable Hawk and even his old pal Teddy Sapp; but will they be able to get to the bottom of things before at least one of them gets seriously wounded or even killed? 

Ah, you'll just have to find that out for yourself. It's short, sweet and snappy - what I call perfect summer reading. 

Robert B. Parker's Little White Lie by Ace Atkins (G.P. Putnam's Sons, May 2017); 310 pp.

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