The latest read in the series now being penned by Ace Atkins has a distinct ripped-from-the-headlines feel to it. Late August and New England Patriots star linebacker Kinjo Heywood has summoned Spenser to his mansion in Chestnut Hill to discuss a problem. Kinjo believes he is being followed by a group of guys and wants it stopped. He also wants to know why they are doing it as he firmly believes the way they acted is not something regular fans would do. Of course, it could all just be Kinjo being paranoid. It could also be something more.


The incident of the day before was not the first time this following of him has happened. A previous incident happened after Kinjo and his wife Cristal had dinner at the Capital Grille. In that incident they were followed despite Kinjo’s evasive maneuvers until he took matters into his own hands and fired his gun. Fortunately, the incident yesterday ended when he stepped out of the car with his gun and he chose not to fire it. With Kinjo feeling threatened something bad is going to happen if the pursuers return or some random stranger does something that could be perfectly innocent and yet is perceived as a threat by Kinjo.


According Kinjo agent Steven Rosen, Spenser comes highly recommend by a detective named Belson. Kinjo wants Spenser to figure out who is doing it, why they are doing it, and put a stop to it. Despite the recommendation, Rosen, and several others close to Kinjo don’t want Spenser around for a variety of reasons. They also don’t want to listen to Spenser as the situation seriously deteriorates with the kidnapping of Kinjo’s young son, Akira. With a child’s life at stake, Spenser isn’t about to worry about what those in Kinjo’s inner circle think about him or his methods. It helps that Hawk and Zebulon Sixkill are around to back his play.


The latest in the series is another good read that follows the Parker hallmark of short chapters, little description, and plenty of dialogue. In a move some readers will love, Susan Silverman is kept to a minimum number of scenes where she is either a means of release for Spenser or assisting with the investigation by counseling a secondary character. The Spenser at work here is also a bit more aware of how much the underworld of Boston has changed during his long career and that it is a young man’s game on both sides of the fence.


Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins breaks no new ground nor does it crack the mold. It gives the legion of Spenser fans exactly what they want and does that fairly well. It also is a good book to escape reality with and reads at a fast pace.



Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot: A Spenser Novel

Ace Atkins

Thorndike Press

ISBN# 978-1-4104-6665-5

May 2014


417 Pages




Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

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