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|Print List Price:||CDN$ 10.99|
|Kindle Price:||CDN$ 10.99|
Penguin Group USA
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Sixkill (Spenser Book 39) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Think of all the fictional detectives you've ever read about. How many of them feel like friends you would like to have had? I'm sure most people would take Spenser over Sherlock Holmes and Harry Bosch any day.
The jacket copy says that this is the last Spenser novel completed by Robert B. Parker. Does that mean there are uncompleted ones that might be produced someday? Or perhaps that someone else will be selected to continue the character. The results of such efforts have often been disappointing. Time will tell what's to come next with Spenser.
The good news is that Sixkill is an unusually good Spenser novel, enriched by the addition of a new character, Zebulon Sixkill who is a younger version of Spenser . . . with a different life story. We see Spenser in the role of mentor here, an infrequent . . . but powerful . . . element of the series.
There's sexual ugliness in this story, but it serves to create light rather than darkness by pointing out the importance of doing the right thing . . . even if it means mucking around in a sewer of human depravity.
Thank you, Mr. Parker! You've been very good to us, and we love you.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As much as SIXKILL entertained me, it also made me a little sad. We lost Robert B. Parker last year, and this is his last completed Spenser novel. Last week his publishers announced that his detectives, including Spenser, will continue in stories written by other authors. I hope those books are half as good as Parker's. I've been reading this series all my life, and Spenser, Hawk, and Susan are almost like family. It takes a great artist to create fictional people who can seem so real, and I'm grateful for all the wonderful books he gave us. He will be missed.
Sixkill is described on the flap as "the last Spenser novel completed by Robert B. Parker". A reasonable mind could take that to mean there will be more, perhaps, and that it will completed by someone else. Amazon is already taking pre-orders on a Jesse Stone novel written by the guy that does the Selleck TV-movies. So clearly there are plans. But, well, you know. Not the same.(UPDATED 10/4/11--Ace Atkins has been hired to continue the Spenser Series)
Point being, we should take no finality poignance from the events in Sixkill, as it was clearly not meant to provide any. But poignant is exactly what Sixkill becomes. Its' point is redemption/renewal and it's made in classic Parker style, going back to Early Autumn in more than one way in telling the story of one Zebulon Sixkill.
Z, as he comes to be called, is a Cree Indian bodyguard that Spenser puts a beat-down on while commencing the novel's case: the death of a young girl in Z's client's hotel room. Spenser is brought into the case by Capt. Martin Quirk, whom you've met.
Quirk is pretty sure that one Jumbo Nelson, Hollywood Miscreant/Icon, is being railroaded for murder, so he asks Spens to sniff around and see what stinks. Enter Rita Fiore, who happens to be defending Jumbo, and the stage is set for what Parker did better than just about anyone.
After Z gets canned by Jumbo for getting whupped, he consults Spenser, who agrees to help train him as a mechanism to among other things, get his help solving the case. Parker inserts episodes from Z's early years as Z and Spenser start training at Henry Cimoli's gym, among other locations. Of course, it's all about Z finding himself. And in Zebulon Sixkill, Parker creates a fascinating character, walled-off like a supermax prison. The fun in watching Spenser, with help from Susan Silverman, of course, re-introduce Z with his real self carries its own thrills.
There's plenty of regular thrills here as well. Parker stages a couple of great fist-fights and brings in some other new creepy dudes as well. Lots of cameos by the dangerous types who have helped Spens out in the past....except for, well, Hawk. Yeah, he's still in East Somewhere, so folks looking for those two hamming it up will have to look elsewhere. (Try A Catskill Eagle.) The last act moves really fast, with a gut-wrenching final showdown that's among Parker's best.
With Sixkill, Parker provides another solid chapter in the saga. Better than some, worse than others. No earth-shattering changes, and lots of Spenser/Susan navel-gazing. But it still feels great to read.
We miss him already.
And it's simply OK. The primary plot is reminiscent of Fatty Arbuckle. There's Jumbo, a ginormous star -- both in profitability and girth -- with a dead girl in his room. How did she die? Who is responsible? Quirk of the Boston PD isn't 100% sure that Jumbo is guilty and persuades our man Spenser to investigate. He uncovers a lot that's spooky and unsavory. He cracks wise and annoys people. He works out at the gym and plays with Pearl and continues the maddening (for me, that is; highly satisfying for him) relationship with Susan Silverman.
Then there's a subplot that gives the book its name and its rather stale feel. It revolves around Zebulon Sixkill, the Cree college football star Spenser takes under his wing. Though a new character, there's something disturbingly familiar about Z. That's because he's Paul Giaccommin crossed with Hawk. Their "banter" is racially saturated and hopelessly dated (at one point, while discussing race with a Hispanic character, Spenser references a JACK BENNY routine!) and feels as forced as the "sho 'nuff" talk with Hawk.
So it was an OK book. It was fine. But not one of Parker's best. At the very end of the book, when our hero talks about life and illusion and metaphor, and heads off toward the sun and Susan, I was reminded anew by how well Parker could write, how fond I am of Spenser, and how much I will miss these characters.