Robert B. Parkers Angel Eyes (Spenser, #47) By Ace Atkins

The only reason I bothered was the overrated review rating. Ace Atkins is no Robert B Parker and I won't bother with another lousy story. 0 of 10 stars Ace Atkins And what are we? -- Zebulon 'Z' Sixkill, novice private investigator

Reputable thugs with good teeth, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and the cops. -- Spenser, seasoned private investigator

The venerable Boston P.I. known by a single name heads west to Hollywood on a missing persons case involving Gaby, a wannabe model / actress turned ubiquitous social media influencer. Capably assisting him (since long-time sidekick Hawk is again absent from the proceedings) is protege 'Z,' the Native-American former college football star who has now set up his own investigations office in L.A. Of course with this being set in la-la land the duo encounter the requisite shady supporting character types - a sleazy movie producer who ignores the #MeToo movement, a self-help / quasi-religious leader reminiscent of L. Ron Hubbard, a violent Armenian organized crime boss, the usual henchmen / hired goons, and other show biz industry types - between dodging the usual barrage of bullets and saving the ****ing day. Author Atkins now has eight books under his belt for this long-running series, and creator Robert B. Parker can rest in peace as Spenser is certainly in good hands.

One other great moment was a brief uncredited but unmistakable cameo by Joe Pike, the soldier of fortune / mercenary 'wingman' of author Robert Crais' L.A.-based private eye Elvis Cole. (Author Atkins also gives thanks to Crais in the post script acknowledgements section for helping him with the geography, etc. of SoCal.) Should Spenser and Cole - my two favorite of the current fictional literary detectives - ever get thrown together to work on a case my mind would probably explode! Ace Atkins Spenser goes Hollywood, and I’m not talking about that upcoming Netflix movie.

A young woman originally from Boston has gone missing after moving to Los Angeles, and her mother has hired Spenser to find her so he heads west. Tracking down the young lady puts Spenser at odds with a powerful Hollywood producer, a self-help group that seems more like a cult, and a dangerous Aremenian gang.

Fortunately, despite being far from home Spenser has plenty of friends around to help out like his former protege Z. Sixkill who has started his own private detective business. There’s also Spenser’s thug buddies Chollo and Bobby Horse that work for the local crime boss who Spenser is on good terms with thanks to their previous encounters. LAPD Captain Sameulson is still around although he’s less thrilled to see Spenser back in town causing trouble again.

Ace Atkins has become one of the those writers that I file under R for Reliable at this point. For several years now he’s been producing both Spenser and Quinn Colson books like clockwork, and every time I start one of his I know that I’m in for a good time. For both these series he’s also been walking the tricky tightrope that balance familiarity with mixing things up so that neither start to seem formulaic or stale.

This is a prime example of that with Atkins again drawing on the long history of Spenser as written by the late Robert B. Parker so that it still seems like the same character, but then using that as a jumping off point to move in new directions. This isn’t the first time Spenser has gone out to LA so he’s dealing with a bunch of familiar characters and situations, but this never feels like we’re just going over the same old ground. Atkins also has a knack for putting a slightly different spin on some of these old supporting characters so that they seem to have more going on than just being props in Spenser’s world. For example, I loved how Samuelson, who has plenty of reasons to dread seeing the detective come to town, gets thoroughly pissed off when he once again finds himself knee-deep in a Spenser related mess.

There’s also a nice ripped-from-the-headlines vibe to this story although it doesn’t go in the direction that I initially thought it would. I also appreciate how Atkins has managed to update Spenser by using more tech and things like social media while still keeping his old school nature. There’s also a fun tip of the cap to another crime series when Spenser briefly crosses paths with another fictional detective. Long time fans also know that LA is the spot of one of Spenser’s biggest regrets, and there’s a nicely done acknowledgement of that, too. Another sly Easter egg appeared to be a reference to the upcoming movie.

Through it all we’ve got all the staples of a good Spenser story. Funny banter, good action, descriptions of food guaranteed to make you hungry, and a twisty mystery that Spenser unravels by being a pain in the ass to anyone he comes across who is standing in the way. Ace Atkins I have been reading Robert B. Parker’s “Spenser” mystery series since the mid-1980’s when my English professor introduced the first book in the series “The Godwulf Manuscript” to me and invited me to write a paper comparing and contrasting Spenser with some classic character that I can no longer remember.

However, Spenser was a character that I never forgot. I grew to love him and his outstanding cohorts over the years and looked forward every spring to a new outing with my private investigator hero. There were mostly good or excellent books and some less than good books, but I pretty much enjoyed every adventure with good ole Spenser, his notorious partner Hawk, and his numero uno woman, the one and only, Susan. Parker’s ability to deliver justice through Spenser’s indelible personal moral code throughout the greater Boston area was never going to be matched. It was classic all-time mystery writing.

However, when Robert B. Parker passed away in January, 2010, of a sudden heart attack, I felt true loss on a deep personal level. I had truly lost one of my important heroes. Spenser was part of my family. He had become part of my own personal code and stubborn ethical values. When I found out Parker’s estate had selected Ace Atkins to continue writing the Spenser novels, I wondered if someone else could truly capture the magical lyrical quality of my hero. Well, eight books into this transition, I have been happily surprised and more than pleased with the outcome. To be honest, I am pretty dang thrilled to say the least!

I am not sure where I stand in the pendulum of public opinion, but in my eyes, Ace Atkins has done a splendid job of capturing the spirit of Spenser and the rest of the supporting cast. The challenge of taking on such an established series had to be more than daunting. Spenser’s world was unique, tightly defined, and had an already rich and fulfilled history when Ace was handed the reins. My feeling is that Ace has consistently captured the rhythm and magic that made Spenser the highest level of standard in the mystery genre and continues to do so in this outing.

When the book begins, Spenser has been hired by a Boston family to find their daughter, Gabby Leggett, who has suddenly disappeared from her apartment in Los Angeles. Gabby arrived there two years ago with dreams of becoming a successful model and actress in Hollywood. She has some success, but now has gone missing.

Spenser flies to LA and is joined by his previous trainee, Zebulon Sixkill, who is now working there as a private investigator. As the investigation begins, Spenser runs into several roadblocks. No one, including her former boyfriend and agent, agents, and the police gave no clues or ideas where she may be or what could have happened to her. Finally, an old connection of Spenser’s in the LAPD from prior West Coast cases, gives him a clue, connecting Gabby to one of the most powerful studio bosses.

It doesn’t take long before Spenser finds himself upsetting the wrong people and before he knows it both a private empowerment group known to be cultish and a dangerous Armenian mob is trying to scare him off or kill him, whichever is easier. Before he knows it, Spenser is forced to ask for help from his previous comrades, shooters Chollo and Bobby Horse to help provide safety and backup as he faces an ultimate shootout showdown in a small lawless town in Southern California.

In my humble opinion, Atkin’s has strengthened his ability to capture Parker’s unique voice to the point where his storytelling flow is natural and smooth. Atkin’s artistic canvas has become his own, exploring new plotline developments while also re-exploring previous characters with confidence and authenticity.

One of those particular strengths is finding ways to include different characters from Spenser’s rich history and pulling them back into the new stories. In this book, he uses Zebulon Sixkill (who first appeared in “Sixkill”), Spenser’s previous mentee, and now a working private investigator in Los Angeles to serve as Spenser’s investigative partner in this outing. In addition, since Spenser is working outside of his Boston hometown, Atkins brings back our beloved shooter, Chollo, and muscle, Bobby Horse (both first appeared in “Stardust)” and serve as Spenser’s additional protection in place of the beloved Hawk, as well as crime boss, Victor del Rio (also first appeared in “Stardust”), and Captain Samuelson (who first appeared way back in “A Savage Place”). Over the last several books, Atkins has really expanded the use of the secondary characters in Spenser’s world to strengthen and add depth to the plotlines, and it has done a great job of it.

After reading eight of the Atkins Spenser novels, I want to be absolutely clear. For me, Robert B. Parker is the king. He created Spenser and all that goes with him from Hawk to Susan to the secondary characters, nuances of each of the four seasons, particular types of foods, and locations in the greater Boston area. I will always bow down to him. But thanks to Atkin’s ability to capture the spirit of Spenser, I get to continue being a fanboy. I don’t have to say goodbye to a character that I love like family. Every year or so I can still look forward to a new outing with my private investigator hero, Spenser and his comrades, which I lovingly refer to as Spenser 2.0.

Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Ace. And thank you, Joan, for letting Spenser live on in this fan’s heart. It means the world to me to get to revisit my heartfelt friend and personal hero each year.
Ace Atkins When it comes to carrying on the legend of the late Robert B. Parker's Spenser, Ace Atkins hit the ground running from the git-go; almost always, I'm impressed with the similarities to the originals and always look forward to the latest installment. In this one, I'd say he's hit it out of the park in that regard.

Here, Spenser goes Hollywood, hired by a friend of his main squeeze, psychologist Susan Silverman, to find her missing daughter. Far from his familiar Boston haunts, Spenser hooks up with former apprentice Zebulon Sixkill, who headed about as far west from Massachusetts as he could to ply the trade he learned from the master.

The girl, Gabrielle Leggett, hasn't spoken with her mother in 10 days, and a search of her trashed apartment raises suspicions of foul play. Spenser and Z learn that Gabby had been dating a high-powered movie mogul, who in turn may have ties to a local Armenian mob and/or a shady self-help group with which Gabby has become enamored (willingly or not, that is the question).

None of this bodes well, of course, but despite threats of fates worse than death if they continue to investigate, the coastal private-eye pair keep on digging (with a little help from Chollo, another old friend. There are ups and downs, ins and outs, but in the end, they manage to get to the bottom of things as usual. I was especially happy to see more of Susan, who surprisingly gets personally involved in the investigation. Conspicuous by his absence once again is Spenser's loyal sidekick Hawk - perhaps my only disappointment because I love the guy. That said, he's the only character from Parker's books whose personality and dialogue Atkins never quite nailed down, IMHO, so maybe that's a good thing.

Bottom line? Well-written, intriguing story that serves the series well - so Spenser fans, don't skip this one. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for allowing me to read and review an advance copy.
Ace Atkins

4 Stars
Reading a Spenser (that's Spenser with an 's') novel is like sitting around with old friends. You know you'll get a good dose of wise-cracking humor mixed in with some good old-fashioned crime sleuthing. While there is no Hawk, we are treated to a reappearance of Zebulon Sixkill as well as a Susan Silverman cameo and a few references to Pearl. The mystery involves Spenser flying out to L.A. to find the daughter of a friend of Susan Silverman (hence the addition of Sixkill). We get a big dose of a sleazy ex-boyfriend, a slimy movie producer, a charasmatic spiritual leader with a healthy dose of Ukranian thugs and blackmail thrown in for good measure. All-in-all, a good comfort read. Ace Atkins has done an excellent job keeping this series current while remaining true to the original. Ace Atkins It's Spenser. Those who know, know that's enough. Ace Atkins I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review.

ROBERT B. PARKER’S ANGEL EYES by Ace Atkins is the 47th book in the Spenser Series that author Atkins has carried on since the passing of Robert B. Parker, original author and creator of the series.

Spenser once again is requested to take on a case by Susan, his longtime companion and the love of his life, in a case involving a missing young actress whose disappearance seems to be under suspicious circumstances, along with the possibility that her disappearance could possibly mean that she has met with foul play.

Gabby Leggett is the young actress who left the Boston area to seek fame & fortune in Los Angeles, and when her disappearance is prolonged, her mother hires Spenser to locate her and see her return to Boston if possible.

Spenser goes off to L.A. and begins this investigation in the same manner he usually does, which is to poke his nose in where it doesn’t belong and stir things up to produce results, meanwhile causing irritation and frustration for those he confronts with his lack of fear and resistance to intimidation.

Investigation reveals a cult-like group could be involved in the disappearance of the missing Gabby, and Spenser makes it clear that he won’t stop harassing the charismatic leader or others in the group until he gets the answers about the whereabouts of the young missing actress and who is responsible for her disappearance.

Classic Spenser novel where author Ace Atkins once again successfully captures the best qualities of Spenser that were present in the better books written in the series by Robert B. Parker.

Several characters from previous books are involved in this one, most prominent is Zebulon Sixkill, Spenser’s protégé currently working as a private detective in the L.A. area.

Solid action takes place once the investigation gives Spenser focus on where to target his efforts, and once again he places himself and Zeke in harm’s way to solve the case, resulting in another chapter in the maturing of Spenser, and the fact that in spite of aging, his tough smart-guy approach still produces results, and proves that getting older hasn’t taken away his ability to get results in the cases he takes on.

4 stars.
Ace Atkins Ace Atkins has done a great job of carrying the late Robert B Parker's Spenser series forward, and Angel Eyes was another satisfying entry in that series. Random thoughts: this novel features Zebulon Sixkill-of all the ensemble of characters featured in the Spenser novels Sixkill is probably my least favorite. I have tried to like him but it just doesn't seem to take. Can we please bring Hawk back? This book takes Spenser to Hollywood which is a far cry from Boston and I love fish out of water stories. I could probably do without the standard riff of California being a shallow place that changes people because this has been done to death. Even though we have to do without Hawk (again) we do get a nice but ultra brief cameo from another author's character who also hangs his hat in LA. I won't spill the beans and it will be easy to miss if you don't pay close attention. Susan Silverman really makes herself useful here and I loved that. Overall this is a good book despite my minor quibbles. Four stars. Ace Atkins I can't believe this series is in its 47th book. All in all, it has been a very good series. Some of the books have been great, some so-so. But the characters and their story lines have remained true and have continued to grow.

Ace Atkins has done a superior job with the franchise. He has continued the Spenser legacy abd written story arks worthy of Parker.

But this is not his best work.

Part of it is Spenser is best in Boston. Spenser is Boston.

But the Spenser who is looking for a missing young woman in LA is not at his best. He's more wise-cracking than wise and a lot of it just falls flat.

There's an attempt to have protégé Zebulon Sixkill move into the Hawk role this time around. But we all know no one can move into the Hawk role. The lack of his counter dialog may be what makes this one fall a bit short.

If you love Spenser, you have to read the book. But be prepared for it to be a bit lackluster. Ace Atkins

The legendary Boston PI, Spenser, heads to the City of Angels to meet old friends and make new enemies in a baffling missing person case that might shake Tinseltown to its core.

Gabby Leggett left her Boston family with big dreams of making it as a model / actress in Hollywood. Two years later, she disappears from her apartment. Her family, former boyfriend, friends--and the police--have no idea where she is and no leads. Leggett's mother hires Spenser to find her, and he reaches out to his former apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill now an L.A. private eye, for assistance.

It gets complicated fast. Spenser barely has time to unpack before different trails lead to a powerful movie studio boss, the Armenian mob, and a shadowy empowerment group some say might be a dangerous cult.

It's soon clear that Spenser and Sixkill may be outgunned this time, and series favorite Chollo and his friends ride to the rescue to provide backup. From the mansions of Beverly Hills to the lawless streets of a small California town, Spenser will need to watch his step. In Hollywood, all that glitters isn't gold. And not all those who wander are lost.

Librarian's note: this is one of the Ace Atkin's Spenser series. As of 2021, there are 9 volumes by Atkins. The first was Lullaby in 2012, the 40th in the overall series created by Robert B. Parker; the most recent, Someone to Watch Over Me, is the 48th. Robert B. Parkers Angel Eyes (Spenser, #47)


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