Review: Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot - Ace Atkins

Publication Date: 26th March 2015 


Publisher: No Exit Press 


ISBN: 978-1-84344-449-7


Source: Real Readers by nudge 


Rating: 4*



Kinjo Heywood is one of the New England Patriots' marquee players - a hard-nosed linebacker who has earned his reputation as one of the toughest guys in the league.  When off-field violence repeatedly lands Heywood in the news, his slick agent hires Spenser to find the men who have been harassing his client. 


Heywood's troubles appear to be tied to a nightclub shooting from two years earlier, so when his nine-year-old son Akira, is kidnapped, it seems his past has come back to haunt him. When he makes a controversial call to get Akira back, all hell breaks loose in Boston's underworld.  With the feds distracted by other cases, Spenser, Hawk and their protégé, Zebulon Sixkill, will have to call upon their outlaw contacts to track the child down,  before it's too late. 



I must admit, I wasn't really looking forward to reading and reviewing Cheap Shot, as I was less than enamored with Wonderland, the only Spenser novel I've read previously, also by Ace Atkins. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed this novel a great deal more than that. 


I find Spenser to be an entertaining and humerous character; his slightly sarcastic overtones a great personality trait and his rather unconventional approach to Private Investigation rather refreshing. There is nothing not to like about the character. Major Supporting characters Hawk, Z, Kunjo and the current and ex-Mrs Heywoods bring appropriate amounts of detail to the story and each adds something slightly different to the overall picture. 


Atkins' writing style is easy to read with lots of descriptive text which really sets the scene and adds to the layers of this complex crime. My only criticism is of a couple of conflicting passages - on page 114, Spenser mentions that he and Susan had already eaten, "We had already had supper; four mini-apple pies baked in the oven", yet on page 116, "...grabbed my watch, and checked how long the pies had been in the oven".Surely it should be mini apple-pies, or no hyphen too. This may seem overly critical, but I find such errors irritating! 


The pace builds nicely, it's a real page-turner with plenty of suspense, twists and turns. Everything is tied up nicely at the conclusion, following a few turns of events that I'd not forseen, a real bonus! I'm glad I got the opportunity to read another Spenser novel and that my opinion has been changed.