clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Book review: 'Silent Night, A Spenser Holiday Novel' is a welcome finish

The cover of "Silent Night, A Spenser Holiday Novel," which was started by the late Robert B. Parker and finished by his agent, Helen Brann.
The cover of "Silent Night, A Spenser Holiday Novel," which was started by the late Robert B. Parker and finished by his agent, Helen Brann.
Penguin Group

Editor's note: These recently released Christmas books include nonfiction and fiction, historical and contemporary, romance and history and each carries with the spirit of the season.

"SILENT NIGHT, A Spenser Holiday Novel," by Robert B. Parker with Helen Brann, GP Putnam and Sons, $24.95, 240 pages (f)

You might want to read "Silent Night, A Spenser Holiday Novel" just to learn how to cook a duck within a chicken within a turkey for Christmas dinner.

But then it's also a good book that almost feels like Robert B. Parker came back from the dead to write it.

Author Helen Brann has finished this manuscript nicely.

The familiar characters are all in there: Spenser's sidekick Hawk, his longtime girlfriend Susan, Spenser, police captains Healy, Belson and gunslinger Vinnie plus a couple of new faces in Boston.

The classic, back-and-forth banter between Hawk and Spenser is there as are cryptic exchanges between the bold, unflappable detective and the people he deals with as he tries to help an 11-year-old boy named Slide who lives on the streets.

Slide is sent to get Spenser to help find out who is trying to shut down the shelter for homeless boys, "Street Business."

When Spenser gets involved, it quickly becomes clear that the seemingly nice guys involved aren't very nice at all.

And as is often the pattern in a Spenser novel, the more Spenser pokes around, the higher the stakes become and the more stubborn he becomes about pursuing the truth.

Someone is buying up all of the property around Street Business.

A female tennis champ finds herself in danger and Slide could get hurt.

Add in some Christmas weather, a lot of money and ego and the story gets good.

It's an easy read with short chapters, snappy dialogue and, despite the gunplay and criminal activity involving drugs and gang protection, actually makes a good case for compassion, tolerance and family values.

There is some sexual interplay and a couple of swear words.

Parker fans will like this.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com