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Friday, June 17, 2011

Sixkill (Spenser #39) by Robert B. Parker

A fitting end to a series

With the publication of Sixkill, Robert B. Parker's last completed Spenser novel is on the shelves and Spenser's tale is done. It is tempting to make this review a review of the entire series, and I may fall into that temptation a little bit because Spenser and Parker have been part of my life for the better part of twenty years. But, most importantly, Sixkill is Robert B. Parker ending the series on a high note.

As any fan of the series knows, half of any Spenser book is already written - witty back and forth of a non-PC nature, annoying psycho-babble with Susan talking about why Spenser does what he does ("And, I suspect, if you didn't do what you do, you'd become someone else..."- p. 191), a rundown of all of the people that Spenser could contact to help, if needed (because Hawk is not in this one - he is still off in Central Asia), and eventually Spenser annoys enough people with his nosing around that they send someone to get rid of him and he tracks down the bad guy by figuring out who sent someone to kill him. But, we love this stuff or we wouldn't be reading the 39th Spenser novel.

Robert B. Parker 
In Sixkill a comic actor with a very creepy off-stage personality named Jumbo Nelson is accused of raping and murdering a local girl while filming a movie on location in Boston. Spenser's police friend Quirk thinks that Jumbo may actually not be guilty of anything more than being in the room while a combination of sex games, drugs and alcohol resulted in an accidental death and asks Spenser to look into it. Spenser gets into a one-sided fistfight with Jumbo Nelson's bodyguard, a twenty-something Cree Indian named Zebulon Sixkill, causes Sixkill to lose his job and eventually agrees to train Sixkill. It turns out Sixkill is a lost soul looking for a mentor and Spenser fits the bill (and also fill the role of Hawk when it comes to adolescent, but amusing, good-natured racial commentary).

The inside cover notes that Sixkill is "The last Spenser novel completed by Robert B. Parker" which means the reality of Parker's death comes home at last for this reviewer. I can only assume by the wording that Parker had partially completed manuscripts and storylines and those will be completed by someone else, much like Parker did with Raymond Chandler's Poodle Springs and Perchance to Dream. I would suggest going with another established author (like they did for Raymond Chandler) who likes wisecracking private detectives and asking Robert Crais to finish them up and then letting the series rest.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 17, 2011.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Sixkill by Robert B. Parker.

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