Every year I promise myself to read some books that have a Christmas theme well before the holiday season so I can write about them in this blog. And every year I manage to read one …maybe two. This year I actually remembered to start reading early enough to write this series of blog posts. I chose to stick to my favorite genre which is mystery and read books by authors I had always wanted to try but never did. I’ve read four books so far, so there will be at least four posts, maybe more if there’s time.
The nice thing about holiday books is that they are usually short and always have happy, feel good endings. Some bad/sad things might happen along the way to the characters we grow to care about while reading (especially in the case of mysteries), but there are plenty of “warm fuzzies” to go around at the end.
Silent Night by Robert B. Parker with Nancy Brann
First lines: Susan and I walked from my place up to Newbury Street on a sunny Saturday morning. The snow from the night before had stopped falling.
Summary: “It’s December in Boston, and Spenser is busy planning the menu for Christmas dinner when he’s confronted in his office by a young boy named Slide. Homeless and alone, Slide has found refuge with an organization named Street Business, which gives shelter and seeks job opportunities for the homeless and lost. Slide’s mentor, Jackie Alvarez, is being threatened, and Street Business is in danger of losing its tenuous foothold in the community, turning Slide and many others like him back on the street. But it’s not a simple case of intimidation – Spenser, aided by Hawk, finds a trail that leads to a dangerous drug kingpin, whose hold on the at-risk community Street Business serves threatens not just the boys’ safety and security, but their lives as well.” (from the publisher)
My take: It’s not a good idea to choose as your first read of a series one of the last books the author wrote, but I snagged a copy on the first day that it came out and picked it for my second holiday book. Silent Night was an unfinished manuscript left behind by the late Robert B. Parker and completed by his longtime agent Nancy Brann. I had put off reading any of the Spenser novels for fear that they would not live up to their reputation and my fear was realized in this case. The book was just OK. The plot made sense and it was interesting and entertaining enough to finish but I was left wondering, “What’s the big deal?” I’ve since gone back to the first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript and now understand a bit better and will be reading more in the series eventually. Silent Night will surely satisfy Spenser fans eager for more. Those readers looking for more books like Parker’s would do well to seek out Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series or the books of Elmore Leonard.
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars.
– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services