If you are a teen and run afoul of the law in Blackburn, Massachusetts, you are going to experience some bad times out on a rock out in the harbor. According to Sheila Gates, who comes to Spenser on the recommendation of Rita Fiore, her son Dillion Yates was put out there by a local judge. Making a fake twitter account for his vice principal and making some smart aleck tweets got him charged with terrorism, stalking, and making threats against an administrator.

What was clearly a joke to anyone with a sense of humor has resulted in a harsh sentence of nine months in the juvenile facility per Judge Scali. Legendary in Blackburn, thirty miles north of Boston, Judge Scali is a law and order type judge with zero tolerance for any misbehavior by those under the age of 18. Shelia Yates can’t see her son out on Fortune Island where he and many other kids are locked up for all sorts of crimes— real and imagined— and she can only talk to him by phone for a few minutes every couple of weeks. While Rita Fiore is handling the appeal case, Sheila would like Spenser’s help to figure out what is going on out there.

He agrees and before long he is on the way to Blackburn, Massachusetts. Spenser does not like his bullies, never has and the smart thing would have been to not try and bully him. Instead, some of the locals tried just that and in typical Spenser fashion got push back.

Ace Atkins once again continues the characters made so famous by the legendary Robert B. Parker. Along with an interesting mystery featuring Spenser with some assistance from Hawk and Susan, observations about the situation regarding for profit prisons and their real cost in terms of financial and society are made. In a case that could easily come from the headlines Spenser works to get to the bottom of some nasty business in Robert B. Parker’s Kickback: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins. While not epic, it is certainly solidly good and well worth your time.

Robert B. Parker’s Kickback: A Spenser Novel
Ace Atkins
Thorndike Press (Gale, Cengage Learning)
May 2015
ISBN# 978-1-4104-7736-1
Large Print Hardback (also currently available in regular print hardback, audio, and e-book)
400 Pages
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

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