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Robert B. Parker's Kickback by Ace Atkins
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Robert B. Parker's Kickback

by Ace Atkins

Series: Spenser (44)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A fun read with a side order of criticism of for-profit prisons. Ace Atkins does a great job channeling Parker. ( )
  dasam | Jul 25, 2017 |
Atkins continues to do a good job with this series, and I admire the fact that he owns up to how long our man Spenser has been at his rough profession by letting age impair him just a little bit. This story line is based on real events that are very familiar to me---the "kids for cash" scandal that played out in a neighboring county to mine in 2008. Two county judges were convicted of accepting money from the builder of private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh sentences on juveniles brought before the judges for minor, sometimes non-criminal offenses. (While the lawfirm I worked for never dealt with juvenile matters, or much criminal law at all, the set-up of our local courts often had judges hearing both civil and criminal cases, and several of our attorneys appeared before both of the judges involved in this scandal at one time or another.) In the book, as in real life, one boy was sentenced to 18 months detention without the benefit of counsel (parents were persuaded to sign away their children's rights in the hope of getting lesser sentences) for setting up a fake social media account in his school principal's name and posting embarrassing messages. Atkins has moved this whole ugly mess from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the suburbs of Boston, and made the detention center a sort of Alcatraz on a landfill island in the harbor. I think he has taken great license with the conditions there, as I don't recall hearing that the juveniles were treated brutally or that their lives were endangered as happens in the novel, but the other details stick pretty close to the facts, proving once again that you don't NEED to make this stuff up. Naturally, when the mother of one of the boys sent off to "Fortune Island" seeks Spenser's assistance, the jig is up, and justice eventually prevails.

I listened to some of this on audio, and Joe Montegna (who played Spenser in some TV movies) does a decent job of the narration. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Nov 28, 2016 |
Kickback – Another Brilliant Spenser Novel

Once again Ace Atkins has captured the essence of Robert B. Parker’s Private Eye Spenser who works the mean streets of Boston and the wider Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Once again Ace Atkins does not waste words, but delivers maximum suspense like Rocky Marciano used to deliver punches.

What started out as a social media joke, making fun of his high school’s vice principal, Dillon Yates has been arrested and sentenced to a juvenile prison out in Boston bay. When Dillon’s mother makes contact with Spencer, she wants to look at ways he can help her get her son back. Nobody should be going to jail for a joke, Judge Joe Scali disagrees and is leading a movement of being tough on crime and juveniles.

When Dillion Yate’s mother appears in Spenser’s office with a sandwich and a request to help her get her boy back there is only going to be one inevitable out course. Spenser will travel to Blackburn Massachusetts to find out what is really happening up there. When kicking over the stones in Blackburn to see what crawls out soon has the Blackburn PD and other shady people turning up at his office.

Little did Spenser know that the case about juvenile detention would take him from the cold of Blackburn to the warmth and sun of Tampa. The city of sun has some interesting stories to tell about corruption of the judicial system up in Blackburn, and as for the judge’s yacht! Spenser and his trusted ally Hawk are kicking ass and taking names between Florida and Massachusetts all in the name of finding the truth.

Ace Atkins has once again delivered a gritty and tough Spenser novel following in the tradition of Robert B Parker. The way in which he is able to mimic the originals is stunning and so delivers a punch novel that will deliver for all readers. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Aug 26, 2016 |
Robert B. Parker’s Kickback. Ace Atkins. 2015. Jim and I love Parker’s Spencer novels so I was hesitant to read Atkins’ Spencer novels even though I have enjoyed the books by Atkins I’ve read. That was a mistake. Kickback is very good. Atkins almost has it, not quite but close enough. Parker’s client’s son has been arrested and sent to a juvenile detention center because of a prank he played on his assistant principal. As Parker investigates he runs into crooked judges, thugs, mob members, and the usual bullies he always manages to find. Hawk appears in the nick of time to help him and together they untangle the mess and save the day. Susan and Pearl play their roles, and the descriptions of meals and beer make you want to catch the next plane to Boston. ( )
  judithrs | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is my fourth book by Ace Atkins, all continuations of the Spenser series, and something like 43rd Spenser book I’ve read.

I liked the other three books Atkins wrote involving Spenser. I’m not sure what happened here. I theorized that one of three things had happened – (1) Atkins, after writing three Spenser books in the style of Robert B. Parker, decided to write a Spenser book in the style of Atkins (as I’ve never read a non-Spenser book by Atkins, I’ve no ability to check this one); (2) Atkins, after writing three Spenser books, lost the ability to write in the Parker style; or most likely (3) Parker liked weaving ‘important issues’ in and out of his books, and occasionally had ‘Issue Novels’ – it’s quite possible Atkins had decided to write a Spenser Issue Novel. I didn’t tend to like those as much as the other Spenser books, even when Parker was the author behind them.

So, yeah. Excitedly bought this sometime around May 19th of 2015. Started reading on the 28th and . . . almost immediately stopped. The note I left at that time:
9% read - "Should have looked at the description. Spenser book? *click buy* Then I started reading. Kid made jokes pretending to be someone else on Twitter. Bullying. Got charged with a crime. The specific charges are a joke, but here's Ace to say "for something written online" - maybe Ace is just saying Spenser is too old now. Doesn't understand tech. People have died because of things posted online. From [online] bullying." Yeah, the people who kill themselves tend to be kids, but adults can be bullied also. It was seven months ago. I don’t actually recall what specifically made me flee the book until restarting on the 7th of December (I vaguely recall a few other attempts to restart in between May and December).

I recall reading, and loving, Parker books involving Spenser which seemed to consist mostly of conversation – people talking back and forth. Conveyed, action, story, mystery, etc. This book is not like those types of Parker books. This Atkins book is a lot wordier than I’d expected from a Spenser book – wordy in the non-conversation parts, I mean.

Right, so – There’s this poor area of Boston (or a place near Boston). I don’t know Boston, I don’t know of Blackburn is supposed to be a part of/suburb of or what exactly. But, whatever. Blackburn is poor. Crime ridden. Judge starts a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. No second chances. Kid comes in, he’ll send that kid away to a juvenile facility for a few months or year.

Dillon Yates creates a fake twitter account for his high school vice principal. Makes some really dumb jokes. Is caught. Sentenced to a year in prison/juvenile detention. Various problems with that (1) Dillon isn’t the kid Judge Scali decided to start with, he’s been doing this zero tolerance thing for a while; (2) a lot of kids are scared of doing anything because of this horrible situation; (3) Dillon does this bullying ‘prank’ anyway. A year in prison is a joke. But then, so is Spenser’s initial reaction (which seemed to consist of laughing, then making some comment . . . that I can’t remember seven months later, but which made me stop reading way back when).

So – I said this was an issue book – the issue being private corporate prisons replacing public state owned/controlled prisons. And how easily they can be abused, and how easily corruption can get into everything. There’s a interesting enough story here, I just don’t think Atkins pulled it off as well as he could have. But meh, what do I know? ( )
  Lexxi | Dec 11, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399170847, Hardcover)

P.I. Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in this stellar addition to the iconic New York Times–bestselling series from author Ace Atkins.

What started out as a joke landed seventeen-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened.
 
This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life.
 
Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing.
 
From the Harbor Islands to a gated Florida community, Spenser and trusted ally Hawk follow a trail through the Boston underworld with links to a shadowy corporation that runs New England’s private prisons. They eventually uncover a culture of corruption and cover-ups in the old mill town, where hundreds of kids are sent off to for-profit juvie jails.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:16 -0400)

"What started out as a joke landed seventeen-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that's exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life. Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today's wild youth. But Dillon's mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn't buying Scali's line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. From the Harbor Islands to a gated Florida community, Spenser and trusted ally Hawk follow a trail through the Boston underworld with links to a shadowy corporation that runs New England's private prisons. They eventually uncover a culture of corruption and cover-ups in the old mill town, where hundreds of kids are sent off to for-profit juvie jails. "--… (more)

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