Sixkill: A Spenser Novel Hardcover – 28 Apr 2011
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From the Inside Flap
When a young girl is found dead, all fingers point to the movie star and rapacious womanizer Jumbo Nelson. Jumbo's lawyers want Spenser to find out whether Jumbo did it. Never one to turn down a challenge, Spenser starts to investigate.
Unfortunately, he can't stand the arrogant Jumbo. And then there's his bodyguard, Zebulon Sixkill, an alcoholic Cree warrior with a bad past and a worse temper. Spenser helps him to turn his life around, and subsequently Sixkill becomes an ally when he needs one most. But the LA mob are involved, and will stop at nothing to protect their 'asset'. Has Spenser finally met his match?
This sharp and witty page-turner leads the legendary private eye into a case where his morality is questioned and his life laid on the line.
About the Author
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Robert B. Parker completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956. He began writing his Spencer novels while teaching at Boston's North-eastern University in 1971. In 1997 he wrote his first Jesse Stone novel, Night Passage. Parker was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2002.
Top customer reviews
This last Spenser is great indeed, and I believe Parker's introduction of a new character (a former football-playing Native American named Zebulon Sixkill, from which the homonymous title) was a novelty he was going to develop further in future episodes. Too bad: we just have to enjoy this one and make the best of it.
Briefly, the story goes that a nasty actor is accused of rape and murder, and Spenser is called in by the Boston PD to investigate the case. Enter the actor's bodyguard Sixkill, and to be sure things get complicated, with dark secrets and strange alliances gradually unravelling. Will our hero overcome all odds to successfully resolve this last assignment?
It is these moments of pathos that the book is at its best. Spenser and Sixkill form a bond that is highly enjoyable to read - they can quip with the best of them. Unfortunately, there is more to the book than just this buddy comedy. A murder needs to be investigated and it follows almost the exact same pattern as so many of Parker's other books. There is also far too much Spenser and his girlfriend moments that were cute 10 years ago, but have now become incredibly tiresome for me. Get married already.
Fans of Parker's work and the Spenser novels will no doubt enjoy this quick read, I know I did. It's just that it lacks any depth or uniqueness when compared to so many in the series already written.
The stories probably haven't been brilliant for a few years - but they are still very enjoyable and I'll miss them, very sad though that this book really builds a new charatcter into the series - Mr Sixkill - who maybe now won't be seen again.
When I was a child, my father recounted the same bedtime story to me every night. Despite its predictability, I looked forward to its every word. There was something magically pleasurable and deeply comforting in its familiarity. So too it has become with Parker's books. The plots, the characters and the dialogue are all utterly predictable but yet they are a pleasure to read, comforting too.
"Sixkill" conforms to this pattern. As usual, Spenser gets fired by his intolerable client (in this book, a horribly obese but popular movie star) early in the case but decides to investigate anyway. The case involves the death of a college age girl with a dysfunctional family background. Spenser's probing comes close to exposing the secrets of evil men. They decide to eliminate him. They fail. Many of the usual characters make their bow: Lieutenant Quirk, Rita Fiore, Henry Cimino, Tony Marcus and various hit-men from earlier books. Spenser has the usual self-definitional dialogue with Susan, who, despite her doctorate in psychology from Harvard (how do you know someone went to Harvard? They tell you) pretends not to have figured out the Big Man - but we know by now that this is merely part of their courtship dance. Hawk is not present; he is still off on some hazardous mission in the Former Soviet Union - or East Bumf*** as Quirk prefers to put it.
Spenser is a marvellous creation, a modern knight. This is hardly a coincidence. Early in his career, Parker was a professor of literature specializing in classic detective fiction. As he signals in this book with his references to "Le Morte d'Arthur," he very much sees the Chandlerian detective as the modern equivalent of the mediaeval knight. The Detective is defined by what he does and acts according to a code of chivalry that is his very essence. It is impossible to conceive of him doing anything else or behaving outside the code.
Throughout his work, Parker explores his idea of the Detective by introducing types of Spenser, other warriors who are similarly self defined but who follow a variant of the code. Hawk is an example. In this book we have Z. Sixkill. Z is a failed college football player and - following an encounter with Spenser - a failed bodyguard. As with many of Parker's characters he comes from a minority: he is a Cree Indian. Spenser sees, according to Susan, something of his younger self in the depressed brave and adopts him, teaching him to get fit, to box and to shoot, and to think, to interpret the code and to talk like, well, Spenser. Perhaps had Parker lived he would have created a series for Z.
Spenser's closing line in "Sixkill" is "I got into my car and drove west." Into the sunset. We shall miss him.
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