Silent Night

14736354_201309051155SILENT NIGHT was the Spenser novella that Robert B. Parker was working on when he died at his desk. His literary agent, Helen Brann, has finished it. Spenser fans would have been better off if she hadn’t. This is a terrible novella and hands-down the worst tale in the Spenser series, which was already taking a nose-dive in quality in the last few years before Parker’s death. What SILENT NIGHT does do effectively is really make you appreciate the remarkable job Ace Atkins has done with his two Spenser books.

The plotting, if you can call it that, of SILENT NIGHT is limp and feels improvised. Spenser is an utterly passive, listless character in this tale who does nothing but sit in his office and wait for people to come by and tell him what he needs to know. He does no detecting. And what little action he does take makes no investigative or rational sense. Come to think of it, nobody in this book….particularly the state and local police…behave in anything remotely resembling a realistic or rational manner. Usually, when Parker’s plotting was weak, he’d distract you from it with punchy dialogue and sharply drawn characters. Not this time. The dialogue is expositional and leaden and the characters, especially Spenser, Hawk, and Susan, are reduced to one-dimensional caricatures. SILENT NIGHT is a disappointment on every level. Save yourself the disappointment and skip this book.

5 thoughts on “Silent Night”

  1. i sent you a reply that was rejected on your email. you do not hesitate to mince words. i will not be buying this book; however i will get the 2 ace atkins. i had not gotten those for fear that they would not be really good spenser novels. however i will if i ever have any money again. i love your blogs though; you are a delight!

  2. Thanks for the warning. It had gotten to the point I was buying the more recent Spencer novels out of sheer inertia; Parker was phoning it in. Kudos to Ace Atkins for revitalizing the series to the point they’re again fun to read. As always appreciate the honest reviews (“Lee Goldberg: He reads the rubbish so you don’t have to”).

  3. Your mention of Parker dying at his desk, followed by the description of the book as “Spenser is an utterly passive, listless character in this tale who does nothing but sit in his office and wait for people to come by and tell him what he needs to know,” leads me to believe that maybe Mr. Parker was projecting his current state of health at the time he wrote the story…

    Maybe even the mental energy necessary to get Spenser out of his chair was too much for Parker. May he forever rest in peace.

  4. Kind of reminds me of the Walk, just about every author that I’ve read has one that they tank on and have read far worse ones than ‘Silent Night’.

    • Yikes.. you think I tanked on THE WALK? It’s by far my bestselling book…if you don’t include THE HEIST, the novel I wrote with Janet Evanovich.

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