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In Lupica's third Sunny Randall continuation, to be published May 4, Sunny's best friend Spike turns to her when hedge fund manager Alex Drysdale takes ownership of Spike's restaurant through a predatory loan agreement. At the same time, Sunny's cop friend Lee Farrell turns to her when his college student niece Emily is beaten. Some novelists may understandably avoid the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lupica includes it to good effect as the reason Spike needed a loan from Drysdale despite warning signs. The author does also take some license, setting the novel in the near future we hope for, when masks are no longer needed. Book design by Katy Riegel Robert B. Parker's Payback is a twisty tale of Sunny following Drysdale's money, as usual calling on competing flames Irish mobster ex-husband Richie Burke and Paradise police chief Jesse Stone and other connections across Parker's—and now Lupica's—body of work. Thanks again to Putnam Books' K


Ace Atkins' ninth Spenser continuation novel was originally scheduled to be published November 17, but printing and distribution issues have delayed it to January 12, 2021. Fortunately, Putnam Books ' publicist Nicole Biton sent me an advance ebook to review. Book design by Katy Riegel Mattie Sullivan, introduced as the young client in Atkins' 2012 first Spenser ( Robert B. Parker's Lullaby ), returns as a 22-year-old apprentice, taking the case of 15-year-old Chloe Turner, molested by a much older man at Boston's posh Blackstone gentlemen's club. Mattie's investigation leads to hedge fund billionaire Peter Steiner, his British socialite companion Patricia "Poppy" Palmer, and their perverse, private pleasure island in the Bahamas. Steiner and Palmer are inspired by notorious sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and his companion Ghislane Maxwell. Atkins has Mattie drive the investigation knowing she would better empathize with the couple's victims

Ace Atkins' 9th Spenser continuation rescheduled to January 12, 2021

Printing and distribution issues have delayed publication of Robert B. Parker's Someone to Watch Over Me , originally set for November 17, 2020. Introduced as a young client in Atkins' 2012 first Spenser novel ( Robert B. Parker's Lullaby ), Mattie Sullivan has since started college and an apprenticeship with Spenser. Backed by Spenser and Hawk, Mattie investigates the assault of fifteen-year-old Chloe Turner by a much older man at a private club, leading to a sex trafficking ring linked to an eccentric billionaire. More details from Penguin Random House's website.


In Lupica's first Jesse Stone continuation, on sale September 8. the police chief of Paradise, MA recognizes the drowned body of a shooting victim as a fellow member of Alcoholics Anonymous he'd met shortly before. Tracing the man's last movements leads to the home of Paradise's powerful Cain family. As the small police force continues to investigate, Jesse is shot at, Molly Crane's home is invaded, and Suitcase Simpson receives a mail bomb. Book design: Nancy Resnick As daunting as it is to try and follow the late Parker, Robert B. Parker's Fool's Paradise also follows Reed Farrel Coleman's well-received continuation run, Coleman changing publishers. With Parker cred from two Sunny Randall followups, Lupica similarly evokes the creator's style here, continues Coleman's recent storylines, reunites Jesse with Sunny, and knowledgeably updates characters from the subplot of Parker's fourth Stone novel, Stone Cold , the basis of the movie that


Published July 14, Atkins' tenth Quinn Colson novel concludes a multi-book arc that has seen seductive criminal queenpin Fannie Hatchcock flourish with crooked Tibbehah County Supervisor Johnny Stagg in prison. Book design by Nancy Resnick In Quinn's previous adventure, The Shameless , Fannie set him up to be shot and left for dead. Ten months later, with Quinn on the mend, his friends and family drive much of The Revelators ' action, aiming to bring Fannie down. The Revelators ' message—Justice can't, but doesn't have to, depend on one person—comes in clearly because Atkins has characterized Quinn's supporting cast and enemies adeptly throughout the series.

Guest Essay by Paul D. Marks

On May 31, Down & Out Books published Shamus Award-winning author Paul D. Marks' latest novel, The Blues Don't Care . I've invited Paul to contribute the following essay: Time Tripping Back to the 1940s by Paul D. Marks I have a fascination for the 1940s. And, even though it’s before my time sometimes I think I must have been reincarnated from that era. There are several reasons. I like swing music. I like old black-and-white movies, especially film noir from the mid and later ’40s. The clothes are so cool, even men’s clothes, at least in the movies, trenchcoats and fedoras. Though here in Los Angeles I’m not sure how many men wore trenchcoats. But they did wear hats. In The Blues Don’t Care , my mystery-thriller set in the 1940s on the Los Angeles home front during World War II, Bobby Saxon is a young man with two major goals in life. One of them is to get a gig playing piano with the house band at the famous Club Alabam on Central Avenue. If he gets the gig, he