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4.2 out of 5 stars41
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 18 January 2014
It's the last 'proper' Spenser novel by Robert Parker, and even then it had to be completed by his agent. I like the Ace Atkins continuations that I've read so far, but they bring a different perspective to bear on the character (to me, it seems Atkins is writing Spenser from an earlier point in his career).

So I can't judge this as a novel on its own merits, not least because it's hard to tell where Parker leaves off and his agent steps in (that's probably good). It's a sentimental attachment to the writer and his creations, and my overall feeling is one of rather melancholic enjoyment, in that we'll never again have Parker's Spenser.

As a Spenser novel, it fits in nicely to the overall development of the character from the perhaps trying a bit too hard to impress us with his sophistication Spenser that started out all those years ago, to the older, settled, mature and assured in his place and himself Spenser of the last books.

It's not a startling change to any of the characters; no hidden secrets come to light or shocking revelations that persons in the universe of the novel are different to what we thought they were: everyone is themselves and events play out as you'd expect.

As a 'goodbye', it's a nice note to go out on. As a Spenser novel - if you like the character, you'll like this. If you prefer his other creations (and let me state upfront: I don't like either Sunny Randall or Jesse Stone), then you can give this one a miss and not be at much of a loss, but it's Spenser, at least give him a try.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2013
For those of us still missing the late Robert B. Parker and his iconic Spenser detective series here's a Christmas present. Helen Brann, Parker's longtime friend and agent has finished what was evidently his last manuscript. We understand it was to be billed as a Spenser holiday novel. Due to their long and close association Brann seems to have an unerring eye for how Parker would have wanted to complete the story. So, enjoy!

It's Christmas time in Boston and Spenser has visions of a holiday dinner in his head when he receives a surprise visitor - Slide, an 11-year-old ("going on thirty") street kid. The boy asks Spenser's help for Jackie Alvarez, Slide's mentor. Once homeless Slide found refuge at Street Business where Jackie is the director. This is an unlicensed shelter that takes in many like Slide and hopes to find jobs for them. Obviously, although the shelter receives support from Jackie's wealthy brother, it can be a hand-to-mouth operation. Now, Jackie is receiving threats and believes someone is trying to close down Street Business. Who can say no to a kid at Christmas? Certainly not Spenser.

He calls on his pal, Hawk, to get to the bottom of the threats and soon finds it's a deadlier situation than he had realized. A pitiless drug lord is at the bottom of it all and not only is the shelter at stake but lives as well.

Of course, Silent Night is read by the eminent Joe Mantegna who (to my knowledge) has read all of the Spenser series. He has become the voice of Spenser and a terrific one it is. He's an accomplished Tony-Award winning actor who now stars in the popular Tv series Criminal Minds. Once again he delivers a flawless narration.

- Gail Cooke
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2014
This is a valiant effort by Parker's agent to complete the novel on which the author was working when he died. It seems ungrateful to say that he isn't quite up to it.

Some of the dialogue catches the authentic voice, and for that much thanks. But the unconvincing climax feels hastily contrived and the coda which follows is much too long. Crucially for this reader, the attempt to develop Hawk's character is simply misguided. This is not the Hawk we have cherished through many earlier adventures.
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on 1 December 2014
An interesting contrast to the continuing Spenser series now written by Ace Atkins. Legendary author Robert B. Parker died in 2010 before finishing this Spenser novel and it was eventually completed by his long-time literary agent Helen Brann. I suspect little of the manuscript was actually finished when Parker died and the book is thin in all senses of the word (it's only 188 pages long). The plot starts well but seems to lack a strong middle where Spenser would normally flesh out the narrative with his investigations. Here, the bad guy is identified early and things quickly come to a head. Brann of course uses Spenser's wrong-side-of-the-law associate Hawk and the usual assortment of supporting players, such as state police officer Healy and hit man Vinnie Morris. That's part of my problem with the book - it's as if Brann simply piled in familiar elements from previous Spenser books and hoped for the best. Having said that some of the later Spenser books actually written by Parker himself did much the same thing. It's not a bad effort but it does suffer in comparison with the new Spenser books written from scratch by established author Ace Atkins, who was chosen by the Parker estate to continue the series. I feared the worst when that happened but Atkins is pretty much note perfect in his stories so far and deserves the acclaim that has come his way. Silent Night is certainly not terrible but I would suggest is for completists only.
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on 28 September 2014
-This was not written by Robert B, I believe he started it but it was definitely finished by someone else who should have left it alone. Unlike Ace Atkins (who can write like Robert B) the lady who completed this unfinished novel did not do it justice. Robert B Parker was one of the very best writers of crime fiction so anybody who picks up Silent Night will get the totally wrong impression of the man's work, I urge you to not only read as much of his work as you can, but please don't start with this one.
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on 29 January 2014
In completing Robert B Parker's unfinished noel, the author seamlessly continues the story and faithfully reproduces the style and ambiance of the original. A terrific book
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on 3 April 2015
Having read all the previous books - some more than once. I know that it's not the story line but the people and interaction that matter .
The shared values which bind the band of brothers that make up the cast, the differences in the characters that make it so clear. Quirk, Healy, Belsen and Hawk , Vinnie, Susan surround Spenser and give us wit, reparte and familiarity which has been with us for 40 years. They are extended family members we all know and their evolution.
Then there is the plot ....if you can detect one.
A good read.
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on 11 March 2014
This book seemed to have a big build up then just seemed to end abruptly, with many things not explained I feel
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on 10 February 2015
Helen Brann picks up RBP's pen and does it as much justice as Ace Atkins.
The plot is a little simplistic but it's bare bones Parker and Brann gets the tone and rhythm pitch perfect. All the usual cast (old friends by now) are assembled to carry the story forward with familiar pace.
Overall a great treat for those who miss the great RBP. And I for one hope Brann decides to treat us again.
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on 1 May 2014
Enjoyed the book. It reminded me of the TV series a few years ago, which was my first introduction to Spenser pleased to note the TV people stuck closely to the ethos of Spenser and Hawk. When I've caught up with the reading I have, I may come back to Spenser.
I was interested to note the presence of Captain Healey whom I have encountered on TV in the Jesse Stone series.
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