Monday, December 1, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins and Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman

       If you’re trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,
maybe it’s time to grab a couple of mysteries showcasing characters
created by the late Robert B. Parker.

        Although Parker died in 2010, many of his best known characters have
appeared in new adventures officially licensed by the family’s estate.

        Two books came out earlier this year in hardback, one featuring Spenser,
the iconic Boston private detective and the other starring Paradise MA
Police Chief Jesse Stone.

        “Cheap Shot” by Ace Atkins (Putnam, $26.95) is the third in the Spenser
series written by Atkins, there’s over 40 books altogether.

        Spenser is hired by the agent of New England Patriots linebacker Kinjo
Heywood to find out who’s been stalking and harassing the superstar.

        Heywood has been a controversial figure since he was involved in a fatal
nightclub shooting a few years earlier in New York.

        Spenser’s joined by Z, his new sidekick; soon the situation worsens as
Akira, Heywood’s nine-year old son is kidnapped.

        Violence escalates as Spenser searches for clues, even going to New York
to check out facts and witnesses.

        Hawk, Spenser’s old sidekick, plays a pivotal role, adding his laconic
insights and adept fighting skills as the search intensifies.

        There are many angles to the case; suspects include associates of
Heywood’s new trophy wife, who has a checkered past. As Spenser and his
crew get more involved, other authorities, including the FBI, are called

     The hard-working private eye gets help from old cop contacts as well
as Mob and gang members; tension mounts as others are killed.

        Atkins is in fine form as he continues the Parker tradition of Spenser
novels; long-time fans will recognize many familiar characters and Boston

        “Blind Spot” by award-winning author Reed Farrel Coleman is the fourth in
the continuation of the Jesse Stone series, after Parker’s nine books.
         It also involves sports, exploring Stone’s past as a L.A. Dodger
minor league baseball player whose rising career was cut short by
an injury. There’s a nasty killer, a former sweetheart, a devious
schemer and problems galore.

        Coleman’s new book has a fast-paced plot, brisk dialogue, strong, vivid
characterization and short chapters, just like Parker.  Coleman does a
great job, dedicated readers are likely to eagerly await his next
intriguing effort.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on November 30, 2014.

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