I held off reviewing this last year so I could think about it some — I was afraid I’d be too influenced by the newness of Atkins’ take on Spenser, or maybe just a reflex fanboy reaction.
So I read it again this weekend in preparation for Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, and am so glad I did. Atkin’s has captured the essence of Parker’s word — he’s not quite as good as classic Spenser (Valediction and before), better than most of what followed Small Vices — he’s the next-best thing to having the man himself. The plot is a bit more intricate, the descriptions are fuller — the font is smaller! — which definitely makes it meatier than Parker’s later work.
You can tell Atkins is a fan, and there’s a hint of fanfic about this — Atkins gets to play with characters he’s been reading for years. And who could blame him? Especially as well as he does it.
So glad that Atkins has picked up this mantle, hope he carries it for a good long while.